Getting Back On Track

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It was supposed to be ‘the next big thing’ for Downtown Sioux Falls. 

We’re talking about the 10 acres that were freed up near the Big Sioux River after relocating the rail yard.  But so far nothing has happened. 

KELOLAND News sat down with city leaders to find out what’s been the hold up and if that area is still as coveted as first thought.  

Restaurants, retail and residential lofts were some of the big dreams the city had for this 10 acre site.  

Last July, city officials announced the first major project.  But that multi-million dollar development fell through. 

Because of that, the city decided to hit the reset button.

Now the City is making some changes to get the redevelopment back on track. 

“One of the things with our previous process is there was a hard deadline, so you could only get so many people. They had to be ready,” Urban Planner Dustin Powers said. 

Instead of developers submitting requests and the city choosing just one project at a time, now anyone can submit a proposal online at anytime for part of the 10 acres.

“What we would really like to see happen in that area is the growth of additional job related development,” Erika Beck said. 

There’s been some interest with developers, who have been waiting to see what’s going to be offered as far as property.  

“I think it’s still a big thing for the city of course,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said. 

Sioux Falls mayor Paul TenHaken says while downtown is already a vibrant part of our city, this 10 acres is going to make it even more of a destination. 

“Depending on what it is, it’s going to be big, but the question is what is it,” TenHaken said. 

The mayor says he’s heard all kinds of suggestions from people, but for him it goes beyond recreation.

“Do we bring in a corporate headquarters that will bring job creation to the rail yard, that’s something I actually kind of get excited about and use the land as a job creation engine versus a mixed use development which would also be great, bring sales tax dollars and livability and walkability in that area either way those are two different scenarios both would be very transformative to our city,” TehHaken said. 

There’s even been talk of moving Sioux Falls’ baseball stadium down to the site, but the mayor isn’t so sure about that. 

“I think baseball downtown is a challenge for a couple of reasons, one is the year round viability of a field like that and only get six or eight months of revenue out of something like that,” Tenhaken said. 

The city would rather have something that’s generating money 12 months a year like many other businesses that already exist and how they compliment each other.    

” Any great vibrant downtown has walkability has that connectivity that’s very easily accessible by pedestrians or even vehicular traffic for that matter so when we talk about redevelopment of the rail yard that we are continuing to stress that connectivity is incredibly important within that rail yard within itself and to other areas of downtown,” Beck said. 

As of right now, nobody has begun building on the most talked about 10 acres in South Dakota, but the vision is still there. 

“People are licking their chops at the opportunity saying ‘man can we locate a corporate headquarters in downtown Sioux Falls where the next generation worker would love to be downtown and be able to walk to lunch and be on the river and so forth it’s a very attractive land for a corporate headquarters and we are using that to our advantage,” TenHaken said. 

For a closer look at the 10 acres and the city’s vision, see the report from the City of Sioux Falls. 

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