Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

Art Maze II kicks Ass!

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You can still see it tonight, 6th and Phillips in JAM Art. It’s FREE!

Downtown Parking Ramp hammer about to drop?

Rumor has it that Sioux Falls city council has been put on notice; contract negotiations between the city and the parking ramp developer (Legacy) is almost complete, and they are going to ask the council to approve that contract this month, but will they?

Only two councilors so far have been vocal about a NO vote, Stehly and Starr. Stehly takes issue with Legacy’s close relationship with Hultgren Construction and the lack of transparency when it comes to investors (rumor is that Legacy doesn’t have any yet) and Starr takes issue with the corporate welfare aspect, handing over $17 million to a private developer who will provide us very little in return.

Really, anyway you look at it, the deal stinks, really bad. Even on a really windy day when JM’s is in full kill, the stink isn’t as bad as this deal. So what baffles me and many others in the community, why would possibly 6 councilors be on board with this? I don’t know. As one city official said to me today, “Where is the outrage from the public?” or more importantly what do we have to do to get the outrage?

This has to be possibly the WORST deal the city has ever cut since they gave $27 million for about $2 million dollars worth of land to the Railroad, and the trains are still running through downtown. A Boondoggle that didn’t solve the original problem, train traffic downtown.

Maybe that is why this deal will probably be struck, because the citizens really don’t care. They proved this with the RR deal, the indoor pool and the administration building (at least the public took a stab at that one).

I’m hoping the other 6 councilors wake up, or at least 4 of them to make the deal veto proof. I’m not holding my breath.

Blarney Stone to restore Touch of Europe basement pub after City and God destroyed it

I just hope the new owners have a priest or pastor bless the place before they open. According to the city’s insurance provider, God gets angry here quite a bit destroying private property, busting up water pipes and destroying businesses;

“I think a lot of people go back to remembering the Touch of Europe,” said Blarney Stone partner Russ Wanner. “That’s fantastic to hear people talking about that and how treasured it was, actually, how they loved to go there. They talk about the brickwork and stuff, and we tried to save as much of the brickwork down there as we could.”

Funny, it seems the construction company working on this remodel understands the concept of bracing the ceiling when doing work. Keep the DRAKE as far away as possible.

 

I would have done something different with the Copper Lounge space

Surprised they are being so short-sighted on such a great spot downtown. I would have built at least a 3-story structure with underground parking.

Below are some different designs that could be tweaked to fit the area.

I would probably have underground parking strictly for apartment tenants on 2nd and 3rd floors. I would do retail on main level and ALL studio apartments on 2nd and 3rd floors with a rooftop patio and garden for the tenants.

Waterford at All Saints gets it right

The expansion at Waterford is pretty snazzy, and old looking.

I never really understood all the resistance to the expansion of Waterford in the All Saints Neighborhood. Besides the fact that they are providing more assistant living in Sioux Falls that is needed, they were able to put many other services under one roof in stead of carting residents around to other facilities.

One of the biggest arguments against the expansion was the elimination of a grove of trees, on private property, that no one ever frequented. It wasn’t a park. It was a dark empty lot full of trees.

As Waterford promised they saved as many trees as they could and added shrubbery. But the landscaping isn’t what makes this project a gem. It is the historic nature of the new construction. Waterford went all out to match the current facility, and make what is new look old.

I wish all the development downtown took this kind of time and effort into being more historically correct. They have been doing it DT Minneapolis, and it looks fantastic. Giant, pre-poured slabs of pink colored concrete isn’t quartzite, it’s just pink concrete.

We are starting to see the slap together construction creep into downtown that we have seen in all the urban sprawl areas. The apartments on Phillips to the Falls and the condos by Sunshine come to mind.

I think moving forward, the planning department needs to set an example of Waterford and push for more historically correct construction downtown. Now if we can just convince them to get a permit before they take out any load bearing walls.

Is there a bigger reason why Legacy’s investors are being kept secret?

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that the investor list for Legacy is probably some pretty big wheels in town that wield pretty big swords.

Recently Legacy was announced to be a part of the first project at Flopdation Park, a gigantic warehouse freezer that will employ a handful of forklift operators.

While none of the actual investors came forward, a group of banks were quite eager to say who they were involved with this project. I guess when it isn’t an actual fuddy-duddy rich person but OUR money we have invested in those banks, it’s okay to tell everyone.

Rumor around town is that a guy who recently sold his quite lucrative burger making business and got involved in health clubs and golf courses is one of the investors in Legacy. But I guess we will never know since that investor list is probably locked up in the same place as Richard Benda’s autopsy report and death certificate.

UPDATE: Mayor Pretends Cart is behind the horse on DT Parking Ramp Project

Our mayor of all he thinks is back giving us lessons in storytelling or is it just more storytelling? We have another geriatric Shut-up and Listen session.

As the S&L session moves along watch where da mayor takes both mics so no one can interrupt or ask unwanted question? Is he afraid of these fine seniors he must control everything as his plans are asked about? Watch for it when he talks into both microphones during the chat with 103 year old Melba. The distortion is him talking out of both sides of his mouth? You be the judge?

Da mayor likes to remind everyone he is being open and transparent in his decisions such as when he discusses his new parking ramp idea. Well it really isn’t an idea anymore, he has already spent quite a bit of money on it (even though he says nothing has been spent). He has already selected his special partner (Legacy) to manage it even though he must have forgotten his February announcement presser (we didn’t). He has also hired the builder, the designers and the architects.

Gee whiz, what have we forgotten here? Oh yes, the City Council has not given the go ahead for it yet but are they just push-overs anyway so who cares, right? Besides, there is only one voter who matters in any of this building being built for the bonding agencies, da mayor himself. It appears da mayor is planning for a group of going away parties for April and May of 2017. He must get this ramp done to prove a bully can push one more enormous debt on the city books for the rest of us to pay for.

2 decisions made in 2007 must not be stopped before da mayor leaves office. Run roughshod over anyone or thing in his way before the exit door hits him where… Well you know.

Sioux Falls needs to do more to save it’s core

If I was running for mayor, one of my main legs on my campaign stool would be revitalization of the core. If tackled correctly, it could accomplish many goals. Not only making our core look and feel better, but it would help to reduce crime, create more affordable housing and in turn produce economic growth. It seems the city’s solution is spending our tax dollars tearing stuff down and rebuilding new which isn’t very cost effective at all;

The home is slated for demolition next week, with plans to rebuild a single family home on the lot.

Thanks to federal funding, the newly built home will eventually be sold to a lower income family. It’s all part of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which is funding 10 such projects this summer in an effort to improve the local housing stock and add to the city’s pool of affordable housing.

While this may sound all fine and dandy, you could probably take that same amount of money, disperse in a different way and do 4x the amount of projects. How? Like I said, if I were mayor I would reorganize community development. I would have two full-time staff dedicated to knocking on doors in our core and identifying homes and rental property that could benefit from community development loans and federal grants (I received both shortly after I bought my home, and it was a fantastic experience that I would recommend to anyone buying an older home that needs some TLC). I would also change the TIF program for what it is truly intended for, creating affordable housing out of blighted properties. I would give landlords and individual homeowners who are willing to fix up old properties an opportunity to apply for property tax abatement.

Like I said, this process could be very simple and would produce better neighborhoods while producing economic growth. Giving TIF’s to sprawling apartment buildings or luxury condos just doesn’t cut it. Just imagine if we took the millions in TIFs and spread them out to hundreds of homes and smaller unit apartment buildings, the impact that would have?

The problem is big development has a chokehold on our city government right now, they have them by the balls. Just look at the DT parking ramp or Flopdation Park, we are spending close to $50 million dollars on infrastructure that does almost ZERO to rehabilitate what we already have in our core, and while it is not a total waste, it certainly doesn’t make economic sense.

Why do you think the city wants to crack down on rental registry? They want to squeeze the little guy out by seizing their property thru code enforcement and handing it over to the big guys. Every one that I have spoken to who own small rental properties that have registered have been bothered by mailings and phone calls to sell their property to a major developer. Is the city selling or giving away this information? Makes you wonder?

The next administration and council need to work with the little guys to help clean up our core and let the big developers play on their own, they are certainly not going anywhere, and they will survive with out our corporate welfare. It’s time to get back to the basics.

Stehly talks parking ramps & the AL ED board agrees

Theresa is featured on Jon Michael’s Forum this week.

The Argus Leader editorial board also gets on board with Stehly and her feelings on the parking ramp;

“Taxpayers have a right to know who the city is getting into bed with,” Stehly said.

She’s got a point. While other members of the council are often at odds with Stehly, this is one instance where they should reconsider their stance and lend support.

Even our local paper is seeing through the charade.

Even with possible civil suit looming, city still in bed with Legacy

There were two letters to the editor today in the Argus Leader over Legacy’s relationship with the city.

First from a constituent;

Hultgren Construction, co-owned by Aaron Hultgren, was fined by OSHA for work it was doing on the Copper Lounge building at the time of its collapse. Asked whether the city reconsidered partnering with Legacy as a result of these fines, Darren Ketcham, community development manager for the City of Sioux Falls said, “Hultgren Construction is not part of this project.” That statement could be misleading if Legacy is linked financially to Hultgren.

Nevertheless, Legacy Development is ultimately responsible for the safety of everyone living and working on their property and safeguarding the integrity of what was once a contributing building to the Downtown Historical District. It failed at both. How then did they become the city’s choice as its partner in the proposed parking lot and how does the city justify their decision?

Nutty? Right? How does a development company that has ran roughshot over DT development get awarded such a RFQ without greasing some palms?

Councilor Stehly also responds to concerns over Legacy;

This proposal would be a unique collaboration, with tax dollars supporting the parking ramp and a private investor (Legacy Development), building the outside retail structure. We have been told that the city’s share in this could be more than $18 million. We have also been told that it could create 200-300 new parking spaces. This is a very expensive parking proposal. There are questions about who will maintain the structure of this building and what liability the city would have if the private businesses would not be able to support their part.

Even if we did get 300 spaces for public parking, that is 3x more then what a normal parking ramp space costs (Aprox $20K). Even with all the controversy surrounding Legacy, why on earth would taxpayers want to pay $60K per parking space, when the going rate for a stand alone parking ramp is $20K.

The Sioux Falls city council (6 of them) need to wake from their deep sleep and realize this proposal is bad for tax payers in every shape and form. It costs too much, it’s the wrong location, the funding effects our 2nd penny, and the developer may be sued in a wrongful death suit. Any councilor or elected official who would vote for such a horrible plan has to be stark raving mad.