Norwalk Central sports campus, the centerpiece of a $300 million development, has a name

Screenshot 2023-02-10 at 13.40.54 - CopyNorwalk's planned new sports campus, the centerpiece of a multimillion-dollar city center, officially has a name: The Gregg Young Auto Sports Campus at Norwalk Central.

When fully built, the 70-acre Norwalk Center on the east side of Highway 28 between Beardsley Street and High Road will have housing, shopping, dining, outdoor trails, parks and an amphitheater. The centerpiece will be the $30 million Gregg Young Auto sports facility, featuring turf fields and indoor courts for multiple sports, that officials hope will be a draw for youth sports tourism and a recreational hub in a growing city.

Great Plains Sponsorships Vice President Ryan Patrick said the Omaha-based Gregg Young Automotive Group was the right fit for Norwalk because of the group's "commitment to the community." The auto company has 13 locations in Iowa, including the Gregg Young Chevrolet of Norwalk, which is across the street from the planned campus. This will be the company's first naming rights deal in Iowa.

More:Norwalk launches 70-acre, $300 million retail, housing, fitness and sports development

"Since we purchased this store in May of 2014, we have always made a conscious effort to support any local Norwalk business or need," Gary Burton, executive manager of Gregg Young, said in a statement. " ... All of us in Norwalk and our surrounding neighbors should benefit from this amazing sports complex."

Officials did not say how much the company contributed to the facility's to obtain the naming rights, only that it was a "multi-year" exclusive agreement with the city. The campus also has seven to eight founding partners, but they were not identified.

When will the Norwalk sports campus open?

The first phase of the campus, with two outdoor, multi-sport turfs, is set to open in late April, Patrick said. Other facilities will likely open in late 2023 or early 2024, and development on the rest of Norwalk Central will follow over the next several years.

"The Gregg Young Auto Sports Campus at Norwalk Central will be the prime anchor, drawing thousands of visitors from all over the region," Norwalk Economic Development Director Hollie Zajicek said in a statement. "We've all worked so diligently for more than five years to bring this entire concept together and now we're witnessing the development of the many components that make Norwalk Central so unique."

More:On the Des Moines metro's fringes, exurban areas are seeing massive growth

What will be in the Norwalk sports campus?

Patrick said the Gregg Young Auto Sports Campus will serve as the "front door" to the $300 million Norwalk Central campus.

Sports campus officials already project the facility will have nearly 900,000 visitors in its first year. It already has 35 tournaments scheduled in upcoming weekends, Patrick said.

The "state-of-the-art, high-tech" campus will feature two 4-acre parcels of outdoor turf, for a variety of sports such as soccer, football, baseball and softball. The facility also will include a city-owned Center of Recreational Excellence, which will have four courts set up for basketball, volleyball and pickleball, common areas for programming and events, and concessions.

There will be an indoor training center and athlete and player development programming. Owners have contracts with physical therapy partners and are working on partnerships with retailers and restaurants.

Virginia Barreda is the Des Moines city government reporter for the Register. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @vbarreda2.