The wrong location was given for the Oaks Hotel in a previous version. It is in the northwest part of Sioux Falls.
It's been called an eyesore, been vandalized and became an impromptu shelter for the homeless. But after a two-month delay, demolition work has started on the old Oaks Hotel building in Sioux Falls.
The demolition is a welcome sound and sight for those who work and own businesses in northwest Sioux Falls. The Oaks Hotel, which closed in November of 2008, is coming down.
“You don't want to live next to that forever, because it does have an affect on you, potentially your property values and we want to make certain as a city, we're responding to those concerns and trying to work with the property owner as well," Kevin Smith said.
Smith of the Sioux Falls Planning Department says the city had several meetings with the owner of the Oaks trying to speed up the progress. City officials are now relieved that crews are removing asbestos and taking the building to the ground.
"We stayed in pretty close contact with the property owner to let him know our concerns up to this point. He's kind of stepping up to the plate now so we're glad to see the asbestos work being done and right on the heels of that, demolition work," Smith said.
The owner of the Oaks, David Graham, says it was the credit crisis that kept work from happening here until recently. And the city hopes that once this destruction is done, the reconstruction can begin and buck the trends of the national economy.
"Any kind of redevelopment is good for us. Whether it's one single family lot in a neighborhood or in this case, hopefully some major hotel or other commercial activity out there, I think it would really be good for the community," Smith said.
For now, the work will continue until what was once a hub of activity is reduced to rubble.
Graham told KELOLAND News in June that there are plans to rebuild. He couldn't name the franchise but promised a couple of hotels will be built with a bar, restaurant, convention space and a water park.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: