West Des Moines Retail Continues to Grow, REI Set to Open Friday

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- West Des Moines is in the middle of one of its biggest growth spurts in the history of the city.

Over the last three years, the city has issued over $1 billion worth of building permits.

“What is the quality of the development,” said Clyde Evans, director of community and economic development for West Des Moines, about what is asked by new retailers before they decide to build. “I think that we have done a very good job of having nice quality development there.”

Evans has been with the city for 25 year and says that this is one of biggest booms he has been a part of and it’s an exciting time for the city.

“We've been very successful in getting 'one-in-the-only' type of stores in the state of Iowa. I think that all kind of builds on itself,” said Evans. “That is one of the things that a company like REI looks for is what is the surrounding area like."

Evans goes on to say that the growth of West Des Moines is comparable to a city “five to six” times the size of his city.

The city also hinted that a “very well known” nationall retailer will hopefully begin construction within the next six months.

“I am not at liberty to say, but I can tell you it’s big,” said Evans. “All I can say it is retail store. You will hear something within the 3-6 months though.”

Evans said they have had talks with IKEA but they require the area must have at least 1 million residents in the metropolitan area. He said that IKEA is reevaluating its rigid terms for setting up store and it could come to West Des Moines but not soon.

Residents of the city shouldn’t expect construction to stop anytime soon.

"We are probably going to see full build out of the area. When you start looking at the area now, there are not a lot of vacant parcels left,” said Evans. “I think that you'll see some additional developments to the west and south. I would hope that the area would continue to mature and still stay a very vibrant commercial center for central Iowa."