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'It's a huge project': Indoor water park, entertainment district coming to West Des Moines

The $600 million, 226-acre project will be on Grand Avenue and boast an indoor waterpark, family entertainment center, hotel and more.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — West Des Moines could soon be the home of a $600 million entertainment district called the Grand Experience. 

The 226-acre entertainment district will be on Grand Avenue by the MidAmerican Energy RecPlex in West Des Moines.

Jim Bergman, a managing member of WDM Entertainment, LLC, the company developing the district, said it will include a 100,000-square-foot indoor waterpark.

It will also have a 40,000-square-foot entertainment center, a 400-room hotel, a conference center and other retail areas for families.

Clyde Evans, the director of Community and Economic Development for West Des Moines, said a project like this is something that could be major for the area and bring an economic boost.

"Something like this doesn't come along very often," Evans said. "It's going to bring a lot of things to the table that we haven't seen before. Truthfully, it's a huge project, so it's going to have an impact on the city for many years to come." 

Evans said the project is estimated to bring in around 1,000 jobs, and developers plan to build more affordable workforce homes to accommodate those workers.

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President and CEO of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Katherine Harrington said she's looking forward to the development.

"There will be 1,200 affordable housing units as part of this plan," Harrington said. "Which just warms my heart because these folks need a place to live that's close by and easily accessible, so I am very excited about that."

Harrington said she hopes once the entertainment district is completed it becomes an area that attracts people and keeps them here.

"It's all about talent attraction and that is really critical…so we want to have the amenities that attract the greatest talent," Harrington said.

Evans said developers are hoping to break ground on the project before the end of next year. 

He also said the project is estimated to take between 24 and 30 months to complete once construction begins.

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