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Cherapa Place Was Built To Be Events Center Site

February 24, 2011, 9:14 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Cherapa Place Was Built To Be Events Center Site
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Cherapa Place is the place for an events center if it's built downtown.

An architectural firm hired by the city says the parking lot just to the east of Cherapa Place would be the best area to build the 12,000 seat facility.

Now, the city will do an economic study comparing the downtown and arena sites to see which would be a bigger benefit to the city.

"We're not going through this time and this effort and this money to create a loser for the city of Sioux Falls. We shouldn't," Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether said.

Experts say both the arena-convention center site and the new downtown site would require the city to build more parking.

The developers of the old Zip Feed Mill site actually tore down the tower and built Cherapa Place with the intent of having a new events center as part of the property.

Cherapa Place is six stories tall and full of offices, a bank, and a restaurant.

"I think moving the events center downtown is amazing. It will bring people downtown and I think it's great," Brenda Chamness who works for Howalt-McDowell on the sixth floor of Cherapa Place said.

If the city decides to build the events center in downtown it would be connected to the flat side of the building. 

"I think it's exciting. I like seeing all the changes that they have going on in Sioux Falls as a whole. I think this is really exciting for the future possibilities. I think it brings a lot of potential opportunities," Howalt-McDowell employee Rachael Weiland said.

The city is already working on development on the other side of the Cherapa Place building, where the River Greenway project is under construction. It will be a pedestrian-friendly area down on the banks of the Big Sioux, and Cherapa employees think an events center would be a great compliment. 

"It brings people downtown. The downtown area is actually expanding tremendously. The riverfront is growing and the improvements that they are making," Chamness said.

And that's why the people who work in the building are excited about all the possibilities Thursday's proposal could bring.

"I like change. I know for some people it can be difficult, but I think this is pretty exciting," Weiland said.

The economic analysis of the downtown site versus the arena and convention center site should be done by mid-April, and that's when we should know more about where the events center will be built.

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