Iowa State selects developer for CYTown

architect sketch of CYTown from its north end looking south to t

Architect sketch of CYTown from the north end, looking south to Jack Trice Stadium. Image courtesy of athletics communications.

Iowa State has selected Omaha-based Goldenrod Companies to lead the design, development, financing and construction of CYTown, the innovative 40-acre multi-use district being built between the Iowa State Center and Jack Trice Stadium, school officials announced Feb. 26. Following an extensive RFI (request for information) process led by Cushman & Wakefield, athletics leaders selected Goldenrod Companies.

"The number of responses to our RFI was truly amazing. It confirmed for us the viability of this project," said director of athletics Jamie Pollard. "In the end, Goldenrod's expertise and demonstrated success in the development of mixed-use districts, coupled with their financial capacity and higher education experience, made them the ideal partner to turn CYTown's vision into a reality."

"Our goal is to create a vibrant, innovative, and financially feasible multi-use district that, in turn, will generate the necessary resources to reinvest in the Iowa State Center," he added. "CYTown's unique location will help attract more visitors to Iowa State University and the Ames community, spur economic growth for central Iowa and offer new amenities to students, staff, visitors and residents to enjoy year-round."

Iowa State will enter into an initial agreement that provides Goldenrod an exclusive period to perform the necessary research, complete studies and develop a financial model. When that process is completed, it is expected Iowa State and Goldenrod would enter into a long-term, land-use development agreement, pending final approval from the Iowa Board of Regents.

"We are grateful to the regents for supporting our recommendation to partner with Goldenrod," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "We look forward to working with Goldenrod to develop an innovative and vibrant mixed-use district that will enhance Ames' reputation as an outstanding community to live and work in.

"This has been a thoughtful and deliberate process, and I look forward to the momentum continuing to grow as we enter this exciting phase with Goldenrod coming alongside Iowa State as our partner in this project," she added.

Who is Goldenrod?

Headquartered in Omaha, Goldenrod has acquired or successfully developed more than $4.4 billion of commercial real estate throughout the United States since its founding in 2005. It has $2.7 billion in assets under management and manages more than 8.5 million square feet of commercial property. It has completed several complex projects throughout the Midwest while developing a niche in the public-private partnership (P3) sector. Over the last decade, Goldenrod has completed $1.6 billion in P3 projects with 18 entities.

Goldenrod has served as the master developer for the University of Nebraska's 2.2 million-square-foot Innovation Campus, Colorado State University's South and Foothills campuses and developed many projects within Omaha's Aksarben Village neighborhood. Goldenrod's current mixed-use projects include The Henry development adjacent to The Battery in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as the One University and Van Zandt developments in Fort Worth, Texas.

"Goldenrod is honored to be chosen as the coordinating developer for the CYTown Master Development," said Zach Wiegert, Goldenrod's managing principal. "We are excited to work with ISU and its stakeholders to make CYTown a truly transformational project for the university and its athletics department. We want to make CYTown a year-round destination for students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff and visitors while providing an amazing event space before and after ISU athletic events at Iowa State Center and Jack Tice Stadium."


The university unveiled its vision for CYTown in September 2022. The first phase, nearly $40 million in parking and infrastructure improvements, will wrap up this fall. Last fall, the university announced McFarland Clinic would be the development's first tenant with a facility expected to be completed by fall 2026. CYTown will provide an opportunity for a variety of uses, including retail, food and beverage, entertainment, medical, hospitality, office and residential. One day it will encompass more than 400,000 square feet of building area to serve event guests and university commuters who use the parking lots.

"Our team is thrilled that Iowa State had the leadership and foresight to bring the research park into this transformational project," said Rick Sanders, president of Iowa State University Research Park. "This development partnership will positively impact the growth trajectory of the Research Park and provide our university tenant partners a vibrant live, work, play environment that is vital to our growth.

"We are also grateful to our partners at the City of Ames for their cooperation and partnership as we continue to move forward with our partners at Goldenrod," he added.

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