Construction on various preliminary parts of the project areunderway, and 152 single-family homes have already been built, saysa DRA spokeswoman. The site, at the intersection of highways 35 and80, has come a long way since it was a World War II ordinanceplant, and then a experimental dairy farm owned by Iowa StateUniversity. DRA partnered with the city in July 2005 to createPrairie Trail, buying the land for $23.6 million, and agreeing topay another $25 million for infrastructure for the largeproject.

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The project, especially the Town Center area, is being developedas a walkable community, a new urbanism development, with variousforms of residential, first-floor retail/residential and publicbuildings all nearby and connected by parks and bicycle paths inthe center of the site. "There will be a lot of walk-up, storefrontretail, with national, regional and local retailers mixed togetheraround a town square," says Dick Ward, SVP of acquisitions andinvestments for Capital Growth.

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The Plaza will be at the southern entrance to the site, and willbe anchored by a Hy-Vee grocery store, Ward tells GlobeSt.com."There will also be some freestanding stores, as well as a stripcenter to compliment the grocery store."

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No other retailer has been signed yet, especially since thepartnership was just solidified. "We're really going to be kickingoff our marketing at ICSC Las Vegas coming up next week, that wasour impetus to get this announcement prior to the convention," Wardsays. He says he'd like to at least get one or two fashion anchorsto the Town Center as soon as possible.

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The project will take about seven to 10 years to build-out, theDRA spokeswoman says, with the residential and the retail making upthe first phase. She says she could not provide more details on theoffice park area, which is now getting needed infrastructure andwill get more attention in the second phase of the project. "Marketstudies have shown us that this is a viable retail location, andthe office community is already looking at the site. We think thiswill be a very successful project," the spokeswoman tellsGlobeSt.com. The property is just north of Des Moines, and is hometo the Ankeny Campus of Des Moines Area Community College.

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