Krause soccer stadium plan lands $500,000 donation from endowment with Krause board members

Ambitions to build a professional soccer stadium in downtown Des Moines just got a $500,000 boost.

The donor? An endowment that Kyle Krause, would-be owner of the USL Championship soccer franchise, and his wife help control. 

The Iowa Soccer Development Foundation, a nonprofit that would own the soccer stadium and a surrounding plaza once it is built, announced the donation Friday. The funds come from the Catalyst Circle, a division of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.

According to the foundation’s website, the Catalyst Circle is an endowment for “projects or causes that provide long-term community impact and address the most critical needs and opportunities in Greater Des Moines.” Krause and his wife, Sharon, are among 22 members who control the endowment.

“The Pro Iowa Stadium and Global Plaza will be a welcoming space for sports, community gatherings, entertainment events and more,” Catalyst Circle Chair Sunnie Richer said in a news release.

Sharon Krause speaks before the "River Constellation" sculpture by Beau Kenyon and Natalia Zubko is dedicated at Water Works Park on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, in Des Moines. The Krause foundation helped fund the sculpture.

Krause+, a real estate development division of the Krause Group, which owns the Des Moines-based Kum & Go convenience stores, wants to build the soccer stadium and several other surrounding buildings on the former Dico industrial site just south of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway downtown. The Iowa Soccer Development Foundation would own the property, currently controlled by the city.

Kristi Knous, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, said the project is eligible for the donation because a nonprofit will ultimately own the stadium.

She said the Krauses disclosed the conflict of interest and left the room when the board that controls the endowment discussed the donations. She said the Krauses also abstained from voting.

“As grant makers, you run into situations where there could be a real or perceived conflict of interest throughout the year,” Knous said. “We are real careful to have these policies in place.”  

Among other high-profile projects, Knous said the Catalyst Circle has donated to Central Iowa Water Trails, the Lauridsen Skatepark and Mainframe Studios. 

According to the news release, the Iowa Soccer Development Foundation has raised a total of $14.2 million. The organization has not disclosed who else has donated funds. Spokesperson Megan Garrett wrote in an email that the money comes from “generous private donors.”

Kyle Krause has spearheaded an effort to develop a soccer stadium in downtown Des Moines since the fall of 2019. Krause+ unveiled plans earlier this month for an ambitious, $550 million development that would extend from the stadium site to downtown’s Western Gateway district.

In addition to the 6,300-seat soccer stadium, the developers want to build a plaza, three hotels, a 2,000-seat entertainment center, apartments, an amphitheater, a brewery, a grocery store and a Kum & Go.

The developers hope to land $27.1 million in state funding through a redevelopment district designation from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The authority is accepting pre-applications next week for “transformative projects that improve the quality of life” in the state.

Pro Iowa and Krause+ plan a 6,300-seat soccer stadium and adjoining pedestrian plaza on the former Dico site in downtown Des Moines.

In addition to the Krause’s development, the city of Des Moines is joining Urbandale in an application to the authority for $30 million. That proposal would turn the former Younkers department store building at Merle Hay Mall into a 3,500-seat arena for the Des Moines Buccaneers hockey team.

The cities of Johnston and West Des Moines also are submitting projects for redevelopment district funds.

Tyler Jett covers jobs and the economy for the Des Moines Register. Reach him at tjett@registermedia.com, 515-284-8215, or on Twitter at @LetsJett.