SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — $1,104,000,000 — that’s the value of all the building permits issued in Sioux Falls in 2021.

The city reached the billion-dollar mark back in November, with another $104 million coming in just December; city leaders say the momentum just keeps building.

“Our first full week of the new year we had $25 million approved, so off to a really strong start,” Sioux Falls Director of Planning and Development Jeff Eckhoff said.

If that rate continued throughout the year, Sioux Falls could see $1.3 billion in building permits in 2022. 

“It’s too early to be making these kinds of predictions, but to go over a billion again this year, that could easily happen,” Eckhoff said.

Eckhoff says most of the permits for Cherapa Place and the Steel District, two of the city’s largest ever new developments, are expected to come this year.

“Just looking at what’s in our cue that’s under review, looking at stuff that we know is going to happen like the downtown projects, we have another half a billion that we know are going to happen for sure this year already,” Eckhoff said.

And if the local construction industry is any indicator, there are many more projects in the works.

“I know a lot of construction companies already looking at 2023,” Stone Group Architect Todd Stone said. “Currently we’re 75 percent full for 2022 and we’ve never been in that position before.”

The founder of Stone Group Architects in Sioux Falls says staff is the only limitation on how many buildings his firm can take on in 2022, an issue the city’s permit office is also dealing with.

“It’s everywhere, there’s just so many permits, and planning departments and building departments are having issues maintaining staff and keeping up with demand,” Stone said.

The City of Sioux Falls added more permit staff last year and approved another additional position this year, but Eckhoff says wait times for permits are still much longer than usual.

“Yes unfortunately it’s taking twice as long as it should,” Eckhoff said. “The plans just keep coming in.”

And while the number of permits in 2021’s record year wasn’t significantly higher, the scale of the projects is what set Sioux Falls soaring above a billion dollars in construction.

“There’s no doubt that inflation had a role in the dollar amount,” Eckhoff said.

As construction costs continue to increase, so do the wait times and delays on many materials. Eckhoff says 3100 new housing units received permits last year, but only about 200 were completed by the end of the year, largely due to supply chain delays.