Mall planners unconcerned with Jordan Creek’s impact

Jennifer Nacin

Ames retailers could be in for a run for their money.

The newly opened Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines has attracted approximately 2 million shoppers since its Aug. 4 opening, said Rocell Viniard, senior marketing manager for the Jordan Creek Town Center.

With 60 new stores introduced in the Des Moines market and 32 stores never before seen in Iowa, the 2 million square feet that make up the new retail center could affect proposals and recommendations for a new mall in Ames.

Those interested in bringing a new mall to Ames will wait to see what effect Jordan Creek Town Center may have on the area and whether it will affect the proposal to build a new mall near Interstate 35 and the 13th Street intersection.

“We have known about Jordan Creek Town Center since we started looking at Ames approximately four years ago,” said Jamey Flegal, project manager for Wolford Development Inc., the developer that is planning to build the proposed Ames mall.

An April 2003 market study by The Strategic Edge consulting firm indicated no consequence for a new Ames mall in the event that a shopping center would be built in West Des Moines.

The study was required before Wolford Development could submit an application to change the Ames Land Use Policy Plan.

Flegal said the impact that the Jordan Creek mall might have in Ames was included in the market study.

“The sales impact on [the new proposed Ames mall] was figured into and included into the sales forecast in the market study,” he said.

Ames officials recognized that the Jordan Creek Town Center would attract numerous shoppers during its first few months, but they also recognized the market Ames serves.

“I’ve read quite a bit of market studies that have been submitted to the city of Ames,” said Joe Pietruszynksi, Ames city planner. “They all come to the same conclusion — that Ames has a particular trade area.”

He said the Ames area serves shoppers from the north, the west and the east, but shoppers from the south are limited because the Des Moines metropolitan area already serves many of those shopper’s needs.

Pietruszynksi said economic experts are saying the Jordan Creek mall will have economic impacts on Ames, but only temporarily.

Kurt Carlson, general manager for North Grand Mall, said the opening of the Jordan Creek Town Center hasn’t impacted the sales or number of shoppers at the Ames mall.

“We’re still operating as usual at North Grand Mall,” Carlson said.

He said the Jordan Creek mall will have an effect on Ames, whether a new mall is built in Ames or not. Carlson said it is too soon to see the effect of the shopping center on Ames’ economy.

Pietruszynksi said the market research he has read indicates the Ames economy can still thrive with the addition of a new mall.

“From what I’ve been reading, there is opportunity here to capture more retail sales,” Pietruszynksi said. “Somebody has to do something to capture it.”

If the proposed Ames mall is approved for building, Flegal said it is very likely that the unique design concept of the Jordan Creek Town Center will influence the design of the proposed Ames mall.

Flegal said building a new mall in Ames could equalize the economic impact Jordan Creek will have on the city of Ames.

“Jordan Creek will have a greater impact if Ames does not get a new mall than if it does,” he said.