Entries Tagged 'Developers' ↓

My thoughts on the Sioux Steel Development

I attended the open house on Thursday that Sioux Steel held at Josiah’s. Ironically I got in the last word (FF: 32:00) but the whole presentation is worth listening to. LISTEN HERE.

I really think this is an opportunity for a DT business/developer to create a space without the interference of city government but with genuine public input to create a unique mixed use space we can be proud of instead of some tin paneled multi-plex apartment or parking structure.

With School Bond issue on the horizon, it’s time to end TIF’s

Let’s face it, with the Sioux Falls School District telling us that it is inevitable they will need to build new schools (though I would rather they spend the money on giving parents FREE birth control) that means our property taxes in Sioux Falls will be going up, ALOT!

I think it is time to either put a moratorium or to eliminate TIFs all together. Developers in this town need to start paying their fair share. With over $700 million in building permits last year, it is obvious that developers and investors don’t need a handout or rebate on taxes to develop, if anything all this massive growth is hurting us, with little payback to the city, county and school district coffers.

It is time WE ALL paid into supporting public education, and that means killing large, unnecessary TIFs once and for all.

If it Smells Bad and Looks Bad, it is probably Bad.

This is exactly what I told the city council last week in reference to doing business with Legacy Development for the Downtown Parking Ramp PPP.

Today it was announced that the piling on continues;

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of Emily, Mike and Chris Fodness on Tuesday.  The defendants named in the court filing include Legacy Development & Consulting Company, LLC; Aaron Hultgren; Hultgren Construction, LLC.; Boomerang Investments, LLC; CLP Investments, LLC; Olympia Real Estate Holdings, LLC; and RISE Structural Associates, Inc.

Besides the McMahon and Fodness families suing, the Federal Government and OSHA are still investigating, those charges could be coming very soon.

Many in the public continue to ask the question; Why would a majority of the council support this project? What do they know? Many feel there is some kind of underlying corruption going on. Makes you wonder, and if there is what could it be?

Let’s look at what we know for sure;

We know that for some strange reason the city agreed to pay for ALL of the foundation costs which basically doubled the price of the parking ramp.

We also know that the hotel got one heck of a deal on the lease without a proper appraisal.

So what would happen if the bonds (around $21 million) are taken out in April and the deal with Legacy or Lamont falls through before a shovel goes in the ground? This means the city would have this money sitting in an account to use for almost anything. Why? Because the bonds will be taken out with the 2nd Penny as collateral. Like the $9.1 million mortgage payment on the Denty per year and the $1.1 million mortgage we pay on the administration building we would have to pay an additional $1 million out of this fund, which is supposed to be for road repair.

When this deal was struck many directors and councilors claimed that we would never have to worry about that because the parking department’s enterprise fund produces enough revenue to make the mortgage payment. No way. The revenue basically covers wages and maintenance now, and not much left over for bond payments. Those fees will have to be raised significantly to cover that payment. Let’s face it, it was no accident that the 2nd penny was used as collateral, because it will have to make this payment. No getting around it.

So is this just a scam to get our hands on $21 million for something else? Not sure. But the whole deal stinks really, really bad. I guess we will have to wait, once again, on the courts to open the books.

Is Sioux Falls city government bailing on changing Downtown noise ordinance?

A great view, of a nightclub roof.

After several citizens showed up last week to ask the city to AT LEAST do a study of decibel levels downtown, it seems not much is happening, except more complaints.

Common sense would tell you if you have mixed use with commercial (a nightclub) next to residential, the one producing more decibels would get precedent, NOPE. The quieter use is used instead of a fair balance between the two uses.

As we all know, ambient noise downtown alone is probably between 58-60 decibels. Wouldn’t a study by the PD and Health Department using the ‘L’ scale be worth it? The scale takes a 10 minute reading of the lows and highs of decibels and gives a 90% average reading. Makes sense.

I think 10-20 locations should be picked downtown to do the reading, and each location should take readings every 2-4 hours, Monday-Sunday. Once those readings come in, we could figure out an average at those different times for downtown.

I think the city just ‘telling us’ what is acceptable is unacceptable until we really know what is reality. Maybe 55 is a good place to be, but until we know what the averages are, we don’t know where the starting point is.

I also think some building codes and zoning needs to be changed for residential units. Even if we didn’t have a nightclub next door to a residential unit – traffic, trains, airplanes, etc., are probably louder than what current code is.

Let’s face it, if we are going to continue to develop housing downtown and other development like hotels and commercial we are going to have to come to grips with the fact we have turned downtown into a bustling entertainment district. We MUST make changes NOW while we are still growing, otherwise we are going to have a code enforcement nightmare down the road as downtown gets more dense.

Strongtowns presentation, March 5, 2018

Here’s a big shout out for Downtown Sioux Falls, bringing Charles Marohn to town on Monday, March 5, 2018. Great Job DTSF!

Why the shout out? Some of us were lucky to hear him in person at the Icon Lounge Events Hall and feel the surge of energy he produced. We hope the video has some of the lasting impact.

For those who do not know of Charles Marohn, he started a grass roots movement to rethink how towns are going to survive into the future, the website is strongtowns.org.

Cameraman Bruce was invited to record the event so the rest of the town could consider the possibilities of structured controlled growth before we step off the boom town cliff we are ready to fall off.

After the presentation, Cameraman Bruce was able to visit with Marohn as he was finishing an interview with a local reporter. The subject of big box event centers was brought up. Marohn’s nutshell view of event centers is almost exactly opposite of the current Sioux Falls administration, why? The investment in big structures never pays off due to repair costs to keep the building up. The outflow of cash from the community to far off places. The ongoing debt load never stops even after the bond payments are done.

He also stated, if the event center is sold to the public as an amenity, fine. It’s a cost to make the community better. If the event center is sold as a money making operation, it will always be a loss for the community. There can never be enough profit to trickle down to the town. So it is better to just claim it is a nice amenity.

In other words, it was back to build the town from the bottom up, the only parts of town able to not drain the community are the core areas. Boom Boom sprawling growth only hurts the growth. We already know how far Sioux Falls itself can grow, the boundaries have been set. What are we going to do to plan for the time when this town will have to start rebuilding from the core to handle more people? How are we going to employ and where with the employees work if we continue to destroy our surrounding farmland with cheap housing developments?

Stehly’s 2nd attempt to repeal downtown parking ramp may not happen

Stehly tried to get another councilor to sign onto the repeal, but so far has been unsuccessful;


The city attorney’s office has said that Stehly has the legal right to propose the repeal.

What is frustrating about the Downtown Parking Ramp is the obvious, the developer involved, Legacy is being sued for wrongful death and a whole host of other stuff. Why would the city want to be involved with an entity that is facing such serious charges and fines?

Stehly spoke about it yesterday at the informational, imploring her fellow councilors to repeal the bonds until the legal matters are settled. The only response Stehly got was from councilor Rolfing who offered, “At least the city isn’t be sued.”


And some wonder why such idiotic decisions are made. Just look to the decision makers.

City to spread their version of ‘Propaganda’ about Downtown noise ordinances

I got a reminder this weekend from a fellow city hall watcher that the city already had a discussion about noise ordinances . . . 10 years ago! I remember the discussion, it involved outdoor music at Stogeez and the time that music needs to stop.

Well, my response is that we need to revisit the topic, especially with the enormous growth of downtown over the past 10 years. I don’t think it is unreasonable to maintain a 70 decibel level during the day and 65 at night. Even without entertainment facilities downtown, the ambient noise downtown during the day hovers in that 68-70 area.

I can’t wait to hear the city’s argument on this;

One important fact the public should understand is that all of downtown is zoned to allow residential uses. The zoning for downtown also allows for commercial, retail, and a mix of other uses, which creates the unique atmosphere we all expect from a downtown environment. No changes have been made to zoning or the noise ordinance as a result of any new residential units in downtown.

If that is the case, how is a downtown nightclub able to operate for 6 years with NO intervention until residential units are built next door with an easement to hang patios over the roof of the nightclub?

It is no surprise to me that the city will fight any changes. Why? The building department once again screwed up and authorized something that should have NOT been authorized without a thorough discussion with the neighbors.

The Downtown Parking Ramp controversy was always about more than just Hultgren

As many critics of the deal pointed out, besides the enormous price-tag and sketchy lease deal, we felt Legacy’s involvement was troublesome. Well so do the families that were affected by the Copper Lounge building collapse;

John J. McMahon, Ethan’s father, and John F. McMahon, his brother, contend in their lawsuits that Hultgren Construction performed its construction and demolition activities “under a trial-by-error mentality.” Besides Hultgren Construction, the lawsuit also names Legacy Developments & Consulting Co., and Rise Structural Associates, the project engineer. Three limited liability companies – Boomerang, CLP and Olympia – that had ownership stakes in the project are also named.

The lawsuits contend that Hultgren Construction and Legacy Developments were closely related entities. Aaron Hultgren, Hultgren Construction’s president, was also the director of development and operations for Legacy.

“By using a captive construction company in Hultgren Construction instead of hiring a reputable, third-party construction contractor, Legacy was able to cut costs and save substantial amounts of money on its development projects,” the lawsuits say.

We have said all along that Legacy and Hultgren were working in tandem on the project. To single out just Aaron Hultgren as the ultimate culprit isn’t right. We had further proof of this when we found out about the illegal asbestos removal.

Why is a majority of the city council and city hall still supporting this project? That is the grand mystery.

The bonds are not set to sell until April. With this recent news I hope the council reconsiders once again if it is a good idea to go into business with this developer on this project or future projects. Taxpayers should not be held hostage by a city government that refuses to take a hard and reasonable look at this situation. It wreaks of corruption.

Are we doing this right? Drinks & Design (2/27/2018)

Detroit gave Cameraman Bruce a call to witness an event downtown on February 27, 2018 at the Design Center. Always interested in the what happens there, he said OK. So with cameras rolling we bring you the presentation hosted by Jordan Deffenbaugh, Drinks & Design, are we doing it right? His panelists were Bob Natz of Natz and Associates with Shannon Globke of Muth Electric.

From their meeting announcement:
Design is about a process. From inception to completion, certain steps need to be made to allow for a process to be successful. That goes for construction too. The processes work a certain way for certain reason, but we want to ask “Are we doing this right?” How we design? How we build? What materials we use? How we assemble those materials? And are we efficient every step of the way? We can all agree that there is room for improvement in everything. 4D EDU invites all that are interested, contractors, designers, and current and future homeowners alike, to ask the question “Are we doing this right?”

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured hard for.” Socrates

“Work smarter, not harder.” Allan F. Mogensen

Design surrounds us. The streets we walk down, the phones we tap on, the homes we live in. 4D EDU, in affiliation with 4D Design + Consulting, wants to help Sioux Falls home builders and homeowners understand “what the heck design is anyway?” Enter Drinks & Design, a new event happening the last week of every month at the Design Center in Downtown Sioux Falls. These gatherings will host a panel of design experts from a multitude of backgrounds and career fields, focusing in on home design in the Sioux Empire. And of course, there will be good food, beer & wine.

Hultgren no longer employee with Legacy

So this is interesting, apparently the optics were getting out of control;

We have learned from Legacy Development that it no longer employs Aaron Hultgren. Legacy Development tells us that Hultgren has chosen to pursue other opportunities.

That of course doesn’t mean he still isn’t an investor with the group, but I guess we will never know.