This story has been updated to add reaction statements and updates from the City of Sioux Falls.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The city of Sioux Falls has terminated a development agreement and ground lease for the Village on the River project with the Village River Group.
It was in December 2017 when the city entered into a development agreement for construction of a mixed-use development including a public parking ramp and private hotel with leasable retail space.
The city notified VRG that it was in default on the project on April 1, 2019. The group had 30 calendar days to resolve the defaults but the city says VRG has failed to do that.
The city says going forward, the project will be a stand-alone parking ramp. However, in a later clarification city officials said:
“The City of Sioux Falls has not ruled out private development at this site in the future. At this time, we are focused on the completion of the parking ramp portion of the project.”
City council member Theresa Stehly has been a vocal critic from early on. She issued this statement late Tuesday:
The multi use parking ramp project is over. Now we have a $21 million overpriced parking ramp that the citizens have to pay for.
Councilor Pat Starr and I tried to stop the funding because of the unanswered questions about investors, second penny involvement and overpriced construction.
I mailed this card out to citizens at my own cost before the vote, hoping that my colleagues would listen to the public. They didn’t.
At the meeting, we had lengthy testimony in support of stopping the project, including the father of the young woman trapped under the rubble.
My colleagues pushed forward anyway.
Starr and I were trying to do the right thing for the people who put us in office to protect their best interests.
The bond must be paid.
Now the payment burden for this overpriced, overbuilt structure will land right on the backs of the employees, shoppers and businesses who need to park downtown. If that doesn’t cover it, the second penny kicks in to make the payment.
We were elected to scrutinize, analyze and vet these huge expenditures, like the $260 million waste treatment facility.
The public looks to us on the Council to be their guardians. We let them down.