SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It was a day of celebration for uptown Sioux Falls where The Steel District officially broke ground Wednesday afternoon.

Many community and state leaders came out to celebrate the day that marks the beginning of a forever change to this section of Sioux Falls.

“This was junkyard and it really wasn’t that many years ago,” Lloyd Companies founder & Chairman of the Board Craig Lloyd said. 

Developer Craig LLoyd was one of the visionaries who has spent decades imagining something more for this 10 acre property right behind the city’s namesake.

“It was looking rough, downtown was on the ropes, many of you remember, buildings were boarded up because indoor shopping was now a thing,” Sioux Steel President & CEO Scott Rysdon said. 

The Rysdon Family owned and operated Sioux Steel at the downtown property for more than a century, but shared the dream of what the land could one day become.

“This day has been talked about in the city for literally decades, we’ve talked about the Sioux Steel property and what could someday be at the property,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said. 

“It’s taken four and a half years to get here but we’re here,” Lloyd said. 

Now construction on the Steel District is officially underway after Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony, a day leaders all over the city and state are celebrating.

“There’s a lot of energy and buzz around this project and there should be, this is a several hundred million dollar project here,” South Dakota Senator John Thune said. “You look at what this is going to contribute to the downtown area of Sioux Falls, it is a huge attraction for people who want to live down here, work down here, recreate down here, another example of what a jewel Sioux Falls has become.”

“You’ve got the parking ramp, apartments, 100 apartments, 20 condos, 195,000 square feet of office, 216 spaces for a hotel, a 10,000 square foot convention center. No one I know of has put all of that together in one project,” Lloyd said. 

Lloyd Companies is already fielding a lot of interest from future tenants for all areas of the project, confirmation of years of collaboration.

“This city will have options and alternatives unrivaled for a city of 200,000,” Rysdon said. “We’re small but we’re scrappy, welcome to the Steel District.”

The Steel District was ready to break ground last year, but like many projects, the pandemic delayed its start. But developers say how fast the project was back on track is another sign of a booming economy in Sioux Falls.