CYTown proposes massive changes to the gameday experience


Andrew Harrington

Jamie Pollard, Wendy Wintersteen and Rick Sanders propose CYTown to the media on Sept. 19.

Andrew Harrington, Sports Editor

Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen, Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard and Iowa State Research Park President Rick Sanders met with the media on Monday to unveil CYTown, a plan that could change the Iowa State athletics experience drastically.

CYTown is a proposed plan for the first multi-use district on a college campus. The plan would involve adding hotels, restaurants, retail stores, research facilities and more on a strip between Hilton Coliseum and Jack Trice Stadium where the row of tents is currently located.

The $200 million project’s funding will primarily be pulled from the leasing of the buildings that are constructed. The rest will come from outside fundraising. Pollard expects this $200 million to be made back in revenue after 20 years of the project.

The CYTown team will go to the Board of Regents in November to propose the plan and barring a rejection, the project will begin right after the conclusion of the football season. Pollard said the plan will start with a renovation of the parking lots, which will be stripped and reconstructed in an estimated timespan of a year and a half to two years.

Once this portion of the plan is completed, the building construction will begin. This portion of the project is expected to be completed around August of 2025.

The final portion of the project would be on the Northern side of the space and would include a gathering space and amphitheater that overlooks CYTown. This would begin after phase one of the project and does not currently have a timetable.

Pollard and Sanders took inspiration from Titletown of the Green Bay Packers and the Power and Light District in Kansas City. Pollard mentioned the team met with the Packers to discuss this plan, and the research component supposedly impressed them.

“If you were to describe CYTown, Rick Sanders described it the best,” Pollard said. “If the Power and Light District and Titletown had a child, it would be CYTown.”

There have already been a variety of projects completed around the surrounding area of Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum that have added up to a cost of around $174 million in recent years. These projects include the new pedestrian bridge, the Stark Performance Center, the Sukup Endzone Club and much more.

The proposed project would be raising funds to benefit the arts, going into buildings such as Stephens Auditorium and the Scheman Building. These buildings have had financial struggles during the previous years, with Stephens auditorium having up to $25 million in deferred costs to get it back into its top condition.

“This is the path where we can really make a difference for the arts community,” Wintersteen said.

A big concern for many fans is the effect that this project will have on parking and tailgating. Pollard put these concerns to rest, saying the parking will likely increase from 9,200 to 9,400 spots.

“The most vital asset to Iowa State Athletics is the ability for our fans to tailgate, and there was nothing that we were going to do that took away from that,” Pollard said.

Other concerns include the future of the commuter lots, CyRide and the ability of the new area to make enough money to fund itself, but Pollard said they have taken everything into account, and would not have proceeded if they believed it would have damaged any of these things.

Pollard said they view this project as complementary to other businesses in Ames as he believes it will grow the overall traffic in Ames. He also addressed the issue of it being built on a flood plane, saying the team is doing everything they can to make sure it is a non-issue.