The skyline of downtown Sioux Falls will change drastically in the next year, as a new posh hotel breaks ground along the banks of the Big Sioux River.
Starting Thursday, construction will begin on The Hilton Garden Inn and Convention Center, located off 8th Street, north of the 8th and Railroad development.
It is the first downtown hotel built in the last two decades and project organizers say the multi-million dollar project will give a big economic boost to the area.
"This will change the face of downtown in so many different ways," Mayor Mike Huether said.
This scoop of dirt is the beginning of a $25.7 million project bringing a five-story, upscale hotel to the east bank of downtown Sioux Falls.
"We live in a community where $25 million is a big investment and it's nice to see it being made right here downtown," Sioux Falls Development Foundation Vice Chair Mark Mickelson said.
Construction on The Hilton Garden Inn and Convention Center is expected to last one year, with the boutique-style hotel opening in the fall of 2013.
Demolition has already begun on the old Schoeneman's building.
Co-developer Craig Lloyd says the hotel will lure people from the opposite bank of the Big Sioux.
"It's huge. It brings the west side of Sioux Falls downtown area to the east side. It gives them a reason to come over here," Lloyd said.
The Hilton Garden Inn will have 136 custom rooms with a restaurant, pool and heated underground hotel parking, the first of its kind in the city.
It will also tout 6,000 square feet of flexible meeting space for various meeting and wedding events that can hold up to 850 people.
And Huether says the development will pave the way for more restaurants and retail to come downtown.
"You've got the river, you've got the new hotel, the shops and the bars and all the excitement, all around it and oh my gosh, it's going to create a buzz," Huether said.
Hegg Companies is the other developer overseeing the project.
When it's ready for customers, the new hotel is estimated to employ 40 people.