Kingland, Ames representatives discuss plans for Campustown with Iowa State


Tiffany Herring/Iowa State Daily

Students and community members gather in the South Ballroom at the Kingland Systems meeting regarding the Campustown renovation project on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

Lauren Klein

Representatives from Kingland, the City of Ames and Iowa State University attended an open forum hosted by the Government of the Student Body to answer questions regarding the Campustown renovation.

Kingland has purchased property and intends to redevelop the block on Lincoln Way spanning from Welch Avenue to Stanton Avenue.

Steve Schainker, Ames city manager; Todd Rognes, president of Kingland Systems Corporation; Gabrielle Williams, speaker of the GSB Senate; and Warren Madden, ISU senior vice president for business and finance, offered a description of the project and their views on it before answering questions from students and community members.

In an introduction, ISU President Steven Leath offered his support for Kingland’s project.

“I’m excited about this. I want to see a vibrant Campustown that serves the needs of Ames and serves the needs of our community from a university perspective,” Leath said.

Schainker offered some history on the Campustown project, stating that the past three presidents of Iowa State have had discussions about developing Campustown.

Since 2008, the City of Ames and Iowa State have been working together to find a developer. After one failed project in 2008, Kingland was the next developer to come forward with a project.

Rognes provided an overview of Kingland’s history in Ames and its plans for this project. In 2004, Kingland leased Ames Theater. From that location, its business employs a student work force of approximately 100. In 2012, Kingland acquired the Welch Avenue to Stanton Avenue block in an effort to expand it business.

Kingland’s vision for this project is a three-story building spanning the block. The ground floor of this building will include retail. Kingland has one unnamed anchor retailer who it is working with, and representatives said it plans to have three additional retail suites on the first floor. One upper level is intended to be Kingland office space and the other upper level will be ISU office space.

This project brings up multiple concerns from students and the community. One concern addressed is the fact that Kingland will be demolishing buildings and rebuilding, rather than using current buildings.

Madden said the current structures are outdated and are almost no longer able to be occupied. These buildings have infrastructure issues and may not be up to code.

“We want people to be functioning in a safe space, but it does cost something to do that,” Madden said.

Acting as a voice for students, Barry Snell, vice speaker of the GSB Senate, expressed a concern over how the space will be utilized.

“Students are concerned that once the renovation is complete that what we’ll be left with is a lot of office space,” Snell said.

Rognes addressed this issue by stating that while the building will host fewer retail tenants than are currently on the block, the size of retail space will be increased. The entire 25,000-square-foot first floor will be dedicated to retail.

Williams added that Kingland has worked with the Campustown Action Association to ensure that the first floor is accessible space.

“One of the things that Kingland Systems did work really well with us on too was making sure that that first floor space was retail place,” William said.

Approximately 35 community members and students were in attendance. While student turn-out was low, those students who did attend offered their appreciation to Kingland for allowing them to have a voice.

“It’s been great to see there has been more outreach to students in the last month or so,” said GSB Senator Krista Johnson.

Students and community members with input on this project can continue to share their thoughts through or through the Campustown senators.