SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Startup Sioux Falls has a new future home in Downtown Sioux Falls, thanks to a new partnership with the city.
“We’ve been looking at moving downtown for five years,” Startup Sioux Falls Executive Director Brienne Maner said.
It’s been a season of change for Startup Sioux Falls, formally the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship, as the nonprofit works to serve the evolving needs of new business owners.
“The pandemic really opened the opportunity and people’s mindsets to entrepreneurship and the idea of innovation, so our organization has never been more relevant,” Maner said. “We’re seeing all kinds of inquiries.”
Maner says Startup Sioux Falls has seen an increase in people interested in starting their own business since the onset of the pandemic, but also a change in their needs.
In the past, the nonprofit helped provide office and meeting space, something it still hopes to do in its new facility, but the main goal of the move to the historic building on 6th and Phillips in Downtown Sioux Falls is to help create momentum for more innovation in the community.
“Downtown Sioux Falls has been the heartbeat of our community forever, just like entrepreneurship has been the heartbeat of our community forever, so those two things are coming together,” City of Sioux Falls Culture and Innovation Officer and Startup Sioux Falls board Member Allie Hartzler said.
The Sioux Falls City Council recently approved a plan allowing Startup Sioux Falls to lease the former parks and rec building for a dollar a year, with the nonprofit taking over taxes and upkeep.
Startup Sioux Falls says a major remodel will be underway over the next year, helping transform the space into a hub for area entrepreneurs.
“What would a new space look like and what does today’s entrepreneur need?” Maner said.
Maner says Startup Sioux Falls is still in the design phase, working to take their organization from the 45,000 square foot Zeal Center to the less than 6,000 square foot historic building in the heart of downtown. But as they move forward with design, Maner says they’re getting creative to completely revitalize this corner of downtown.
“It’s going to be open to the public, they’re going to have these amazing events there, it’s just going to be more vibrant and accessible part of downtown than it ever has before,” Hartzler said.
The building is already on a highly visible corner of downtown Sioux Falls, but the north end of Phillips Avenue just keeps getting busier, especially as the Steele District goes up across the parking lot from the future home of Startup Sioux Falls.
“For us to be visible in this up-and-coming booming area, I can’t wait to see what happens,” Maner said. “And hopefully us being on this corner will bode well for others trying to bring new business and industry to our neighborhood.”
Startup Sioux Falls hopes to be in the building by early next year. The lease agreement with the city is for the next 10 years, where the value of the property in a booming corner of downtown is just expected to grow.