Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

UPDATE: What’s going on with the RR Relocation Project?

UPDATE: Well, I heard a few things from a reliable source tonight that I (we all) have suspected. Basically, BNSF is asking for an atrocious price for the land, I won’t say the amount, but let’s just say it is laughable.

You have to remember, this has been a switching yard for over 120 years, the amount of pollution on that plot of land is probably enormous, on top of the fact it will cost a lot to clean it up. I would compare it to buying a home with a bad roof and broken foundation, you would ask the seller to come down in price, way down.

The kicker though, and I am speculating here, is the first appraisal came in way, way, way lower then the asking price, and I hear the second one wasn’t much better.

Without saying too much I will put it in perspective. Let’s just say the appraisal isn’t matching up with the asking price, by a long shot.

This is probably why the negotiations are taking this long. It would be like you getting a $250 credit limit credit card with $190 dollars in fees on it when you receive it in the mail . . .

I have a feeling the FEDS are probably going to refuse to purchase the land for what BNSF is asking, or already have.

I know, I know, I have asked this question a couple (100) times over the past, I don’t know, 8 years? But the mayor mentioned at his Shut Up & Listen session last Saturday that it is still proceeding, and it has been one of the most challenging projects he has ever worked on (yeah, hoodwinking the Feds isn’t as easy as hoodwinking passive South Dakotans).

Now we have a local developer, and River Greenway welfare queen, Jeff ‘Government Handout’ Cherapa saying this;

Jeff Scherschlight, CEO of Howalt McDowell in Cherapa Place and managing partner of Cherapa, detailed the parameters of the potential changes.

“Basically, they’re going to leave the tracks that are furthest east will still exist,” Scherschlight said. “There’ll be two tracks, and everything from there coming west will be removed. And that is the railroad switchyard, which they’re going to relocate in smaller towns around Sioux Falls, and do their switching there, which is the big advantage that we gain this extra land downtown for downtown development.”

Scherschlight could see his building, Cherapa Place, expand to include a second building, should the current railway switch yard site become transformed into parking. Only two railroad tracks would remain, while the switchyard would be relocated away from downtown.

What I find interesting about this ‘edited’ story is that the original text that was posted last night on StormLand’s website has disappeared (I should have copied it) there was a mention in the original post that said “. . . an announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday” about the progress of the project.

UPDATE: It is in the video though if you listen closely. Wonder why the city didn’t want to do an on camera interview? And what does Jeff Cherapa know? If anything?

Thumbs up to business owner ran DT group

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I was excited to hear about this group. A group of Downtown business owners taking promoting their businesses and DT into their own hands instead of depending on help from DTSF. I have often suggested that DT needed a group like this. Good Luck!

 

First Friday . . . I had fun!

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Okay, my plan was simple. I  was going to the Block Party at 6 PM to see a band I knew, then I was going to ride my cranky old bike home. Hopeless plan.

I will tell you, once you get in DTSF, it attaches to you like a bad cold.

After having several conversations with peeps at the block party and perusing the galleries, I decided to rest my dogs at Monk’s, where I overheard local TV reporters talk about their love lives and fashion secrets (they don’t have any). I also came to the realization that a couple I have been waiting on over the past month (who I adore) has a Chinese manufacturing company and are owners of the new Irish Pub Downtown. Cool. I think.

After leaving Monks, I rode past the Hilton ‘TIF’ Inn and cursed the spray park, then proceeded towards Phillips Avenue, where I ran into dear art collector friends of mine. We decided to eat at Toyko. I had the Avocado Eel Roll. OMG!

I proceeded to my place of ‘server’ employment to talk to the manager about scheduling, and the owner and I engaged in political talk. Always fun.

As I was leaving, our prestigious mayor was sitting on the patio. I think I passed gas. But not on his face.

Big ‘B’ and I roamed over to Paramount for adult beverages. Then I did a walk thru at TJ’s and made an appearance at Total Drag. I made a bunch of sarcastic remarks on the outside sidewalk about the performer, well deserved, then cranked home, on old cranky.

Who says SF isn’t fun on a Friday Night?

Review; Prairie Berry on the Eastbank

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My $6.42 beer advertised as $6

I’m not a ‘star’ rater, but if I had to rate the place after my first visit, it would be a 3 out of 5. Which means I will be back to try more beer and food.

The interior is spacious, rustic and beautiful, and the remodel job is fantastic, very well done and high end workmanship, I would however have either hung a rust colored metal mesh or some other kind of wood panel under the PVC piping exposed in the ceiling, I think it takes away from the rustic look of the place and need to be hidden. But I did like the steel umbrella’s on the patio, nice touch.

The staff was very friendly and helpful, but a word of advice; If you are going to be an eatery downtown of that size, you will need to have table service, maybe not at lunch, but definetly at dinner. That may fly at Red Rossa or at the Empire Mall food court, but people dine and drink downtown because they want to be pampered, and your prices are reflective of table service. Going up to the bar to grab a beverage or place an order is inconvenient and I’m sure the tips to the servers reflect that. Also, include taxes in your beer prices. If you right on the chalkboard that a beer is $6, I should be paying $6, not $6.42. Every other bar and restaurant in SF has figured it out, maybe you can to. I think there is a thingy-ma-jigger on your POS that can fix that.

I did not try the wine on this visit, I was looking for beer. I had the Pale Ale and the Brown Ale. The Pale was good, but did not reflect Pale Ale notes that well, but you could tell it was freshly made. The Brown Ale was fantastic and had just the right amount of sweetness, I look forward to trying more beer.

We tried the grilled cheese sandwich and mushroom flatbread. The grilled cheese had too much cheese on it and needed some ruffage on it. It was pretty much a panni and cheese, that’s it. A little too heavy, but was tasty, if you like a big glob of cheese in your mouth.

The flatbread was fantastic, and had just the right amount of ‘things’ on it. Though the crust was thick, it was very light and airy.

I will return, I like the atmosphere, the food and want to try some more beers. I wish them luck, always nice to see more downtown eateries.

Plans for a Main Street ‘Diet’

I saw this on the informational meeting and city council meeting agendas (DOC: roaddiet)

While I agree with the concept of diagonal and ‘timed parking’ and closing down to two lanes on Main Ave. I am wondering why/how the city directors just pulled this out of their butts to present to the council? They are doing a presentation at 4 PM, then want the council to approve the concept at the 7 PM meeting in a ‘motion’. This should be an agenda item that should be discussed in the land use committee, not something Smith and Cotter cooked up over coffee and donuts with the mayor. Yes, I know, traffic studies were done and public input. But why the rush to get the council to approve this without their input? We can’t even give them a week to look over the plans? Just a couple of hours?

Road diet? More like communication diet.

Even Brady Mallory’s suit is welcome downtown SF!

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(Screenshot, KELO-TV)

How sad is it we have to put up signs about this stuff;

This year, you will see a colorful stamp of approval hanging in the store’s window. It is a rainbow sign, which reads, “All Are Welcome Here”. It is one of several sitting in windows, including Mama’s Ladas, Bros Brasserie Americano, and Vishnu Bunny Tattoo, in Downtown Sioux Falls.

“South Dakota does have a perception of being a very conservative community, so, maybe that sign lets them know at least this spot is not that conservative,” Ryan Tracy, Bros Brasserie Americano Owner, said.

The Center for Equality handed out the signs out a few months ago in response to Senate Bill 128. The legislation would have allowed business owners to refuse to work with a gay couple, without getting sued.  The bill failed.

“I thought it was a waste of our time and our money. It pointed out these are the people I don’t want representing me as a voter,” Hentges said.

 

I am thinking about making a sign that says, “Conservatives not welcome.” Of course, would get accused of ‘reverse discrimination’ but it would be worth watching Steele’s and Wick’s heads explode. Of course, Anette Dinkworth would find a way to put herself in the discussion.

More proposed handouts DTSF to those who really don’t need it

Look who is belly up to the trough again looking for tax payer funded incentives;

BOARD OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Promoting the use and conservation of historic properties for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of the citizens of Sioux Falls

Draft, Meeting Minutes for the meeting held on April 9, 2014

Façade Easement application – YMCA building

Erica Beck (Lloyd Companies) and Katie Krantz explained the YMCA Housing Initiative Limited Partnership project façade easement application in detail. Since it is a corner lot situation, the easement application is requesting funds for two street facing sides of the building. The amount requested is $125,000.  This item was informational only.

FYI:  That would be $125,000 out of a total budget of $200,000 for 2014. So I guess TIF’s are NOT enough for the Lloyd Companies, they must also chip away at façade money, and take over 60% of the budget for one project. I guess others seeking façade money will have to fight over the crumbs and scraps.

Then there is the mysterious DTSF ‘Incubator’ program;

The pilot program has access to $100,000 as part of a former development incentive fund that it will use to award applicants until the funds are gone.

And just exactly where did this ‘fund’ come from? Community Development? Federal Funds? City funds? Property taxes? Private dollars? While I don’t have a problem with the incubator program, it would sure be nice if someone from DTSF would explain the details of the funding.

See if this gets fixed

In February a city fire hydrant blew up on 12th & Phillips, pouring water down the sidewalk and underneath it, pouring into businesses like Touch of Europe (still closed) and Bechtold’s Jewelry. While the city has fixed the hydrant, I see they have yet to fix the sidewalk. Obviously the dirt under the sidewalk was washed away as you can see in the below picture, the sidewalk is collapsing.

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M.B. Haskett’s serves up a great dinner

Prix Fixe at M.B. Haskett restaurant is the bomb. While the bottle of French red wine blend and cheese plate was not part of the deal, we started with that. On to the Lyonaisse salad with a poached egg, Bison briskett and short ribs with white beans and asparagus and finishing with my favorite dessert, creme brule. Wonderful.

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So who is going to pay for the DTSF incubator program?

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KELO-TV screenshot

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great idea;

The Downtown Sioux Falls organization isn’t just standing by and watching the businesses go, it’s taking action by launching an incubator program that will offer a rent subsidy to new businesses that will come in, along with other support.

This is something that I would actually like to see city wide. Where I get ‘suspicious’ is where the funding will come from. There could be several options, State or Federal grants for economic development, you could also use community development monies or SBA. My concern is that this program will be directly funded by the city, like the facade easement program, and that would be unfair to other local businesses starting out in our community that are not locating Downtown.

A better approach would be to work with property owners downtown leasing space, and base rents on a sliding scale or make the lease based on revenue and sales. In some cases the property owners may make more money.

We will wait to hear the details, but I have a feeling this is something that was cooked up by Q-Tip Smith and crew, and in the end will probably be costing local taxpayers money so Ms. Doe can open a high-end bookstoreshoeshopcraftwineandpaint shop.

Brienne, you know me, drop me a note. I would love to do a guest post about the details of the incubator program.

On a separate note, I have no problem with Downtown becoming an entertainment hub of bars and restaurants, who cares if there is retail? I do most of my shopping online. I have often told people the biggest thing missing on Phillips in terms of retail is a duty shop.

One of the reasons many retailers don’t do well downtown is because of the hours they are open. If they were open later they may see more people shopping.