Developer Envisions Golf Resort for Iowa

Local developer Terry Bjornsen is looking to build a multi-million-dollar “family destination resort” outside of Marion, Iowa. Complete with an 18-hole golf course, miniature golf course, health center, water park, ice rink and museum, The Whitetail Lodge Resort needs an estimated $39 million in funds for completion. Bjornsen’s development group, Atlas Limited Partnership, hopes to accomplish this through a state grant that would match the company’s contribution of $18 million. Bjornsen went before the city in February; the planning commission has until April to make preliminary approvals.

The Vision Iowa program was implemented last year when the state senate voted to provide up to $180 million to local communities for tourism, cultural and recreational projects. If Bjornsen’s application is approved for Vision Iowa funds, construction on the 180-acre mixed-use development could begin this spring.

The “wilderness-themed” resort would also feature retail development, an office park and condominium-type units. Highland Design Group, a Winterset, Iowa architecture firm, designed the master plan.

“It’s an exciting project,” said Vic Klopfenstein, Marion’s mayor. According to Klopfenstein, Marion has been trying to attract business to the area for a long time. New business would alleviate some tax burden on homeowners, he said.