Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

BOOM! Plop. pfoof

Darrin Smith’s batting average lately hasn’t been to good;

The city said Thursday that private investors have backed out of a planned $40 million downtown project that would have included loft apartments, retail and a boutique hotel.

“The hotel and apartment folks have informed us recently that it’s not financially feasible for them to continue,” Sioux Falls Community Development Director Darrin Smith said.

So why in the Hell would we move forward on a $10 million dollar parking ramp without a leasing tenant? Wait until we get an interested party, then build the ramp. Or better yet, don’t build a ramp at all and let private development take care of private development, and tax dollars take care of citizen projects, like maintaining the roads.

Mike and Darrin have this great desire to spend tax money on unneeded projects. The new council is probably going to be working with smoking brakes until the end of Mike’s term.

We can keep the Winter Wonderland while saving tax money


Here we go again, yet another story about the beauty and expense of Falls Park, WW light display;

“With all the people in this city who need a meal, why do they spend all that money on the lights?” Monger asked.

While Larry has a good point, I have often suggested we can have the nice light display AND it wouldn’t cost the city much more then an electric bill;

As for the display itself, While I think it is a great idea, I think it could be done differently. Other cities do similiar displays but they have businesses volunteer the expense and labor and use it as an opportunity for teambuilding around Christmas. Workers and their families of the businesses that donate volunteer their time to set up the display then the city foots the bill of the electricity. They do have sponsors, but city employees do all the set-up. In fact, mostly public works department workers from the forestry division begin assembling the display starting October 1st. Which I find ironic in itself. One time when I questioned the city about project TRIM and why the city’s forestry department just didn’t trim trees that residences couldn’t reach in the boulevard, they replied, “We don’t have enough staff or enough time.” But taking almost two months to put up Christmas lights, plenty of time for. Just imagine how many trees could be trimmed in that same time period?

Once again, the city proves it’s priorities towards citizens and the law.

I also find this ironic, since the city is always bragging about public/private partnerships, yet have no idea what the display actually costs us and seems to have NO interest in making it more economical while possibly making it better.

Hopefully the new mayor will take on the challenge of opening the light display up to local businesses.

Overheard conversation

P1: What are you doing tonight?
P2: Before I go to a concert at the Washington Pavilion, thought I would grab a brew at Woodgrain, stroll over to Bro’s for an appetizer and then have dinner at Sushi Masa, then after the show grab a glass of wine at Paramount then maybe finish the night playing a couple games of pool at Lucky’s. How about you?
P1: I’m going to head on over to the Entertainment District next to the Premier Center, grab some scratch tickets at Kum & Go then see if I am a winner while enjoying a piece of pie at Rolling Pin.
P2: You always out do me. Wish I could join you, but since I live downtown and don’t have a car, I guess I will just have to wait until those shuttle rides from Downtown to the Events Center come to fruition.

Parking Rate hikes just don’t add up

The more I think about this proposal, the more I question this increase;

“Our system is more than 90 percent full. It will be 100 percent full most likely in the next two years before we can open a new parking ramp,” said Darrin Smith, Sioux Falls Community Development Director.

Projects like the new ramp cost money. That’s why the city is proposing a rate change in Downtown Sioux Falls.

WOW! Where do we begin?

• We tear down a parking ramp that was useful and sell it for $1.

• We are going to be 100% full in two years yet the parking ramp the city is paying for is for a private hotel and apartments, with only about 3-5% useable by the public.

• The city will be leasing the parking ramp to these private entities. Shouldn’t that lease payment cover the bond payments? If not, why not? What is the benefit to the public to build a private parking ramp that the public can’t use most of the time and make us take care of the short fall on the bond payments?

This whole thing stinks to high Heaven, and I hope the council removes their heads from their asses and votes this increase down and demands the parking department adjust the lease payments to cover the bonds, or better yet, make the PRIVATE development build their own damn parking ramp. Let free enterprise work for itself, otherwise it’s just parking socialism. Maybe we should call it ‘Obama-park’?

Why does everything Downtown Sioux Falls have to be a restaurant/retail/condo?

These developers are starting to sound like broken records more and more everyday;

Scherschligt said he doesn’t think the plan is “the highest and best use for that land.”

“Sioux Falls has been successful because the businesspeople and leaders of this community did not always think about themselves, but they thought about what was better for everybody,” he said. “We have these master plans. We create these master plans. And we buy into it. It wasn’t just one person. It was task forces of people.”

Former city planning director Steve Metli, who worked closely with several city master plans for the riverfront, said he’s disappointed in the development plan for the Kilian property.

“It’s a two-block stretch of the river walk that connects the falls to downtown, so it would be excellent for housing or major office, commercial – retail, restaurant-type use, and I was hoping that’s what it could be,” he said. “As much as the community has supported and still supports Lutheran Social Services, I think they could have put more thought in their decision to go there on behalf of the community.”

Sure, it ‘could’ be used for that, but what is wrong with having higher education and immigration services downtown also? I commend Kilian for their partnership and keeping downtown diverse.

And BTW, I have been in some of these new ‘housing’ units built downtown by Steve’s buddy, talk about cheap slap together sloppy workmanship. I guess nobody takes pride in their work anymore, as long as they can get a tax break while charging high priced rents. These places will be ram shackle within the decade. I can’t believe we hand out TIF’s for these projects.

The Falls Park webcam is back. How about the Phillips Avenue cam?


One of my foot soldiers brought this to my attention;


Cool, great live video of the 13th dirtiest river in the country. Now let’s get a view of the progress of the Mexican restaurant on 12th and Phillips.

Property Tax relief in Sioux Falls only for the Rich & Connected

While Minnehaha County is bracing for a property tax opt-out and the SF city council recently increased property taxes to most properties in Sioux Falls, with the stroke of a few votes the city council gave a 12 year, $2.9 million dollar property tax rebate for some condos;

The $30-million, mixed-use Washington Square project planned for Main Avenue has been granted a TIF by the City of Sioux Falls.

The city council approved a $2.9-million tax increment financing district for the project. The property tax revenue will be used to pay the TIF over a 10 to 12 year period.

But hey, we get to use their parking for free, only on nights and weekends though (you know, when it is free in all other spots DT also). Once again, the ones with the biggest wallets get the biggest rewards in Sioux Falls, while the rest of us working stiff homeowners have to scrape up the crumbs that fall from the 4th floor condos.

The upgrades to the ‘NEW’ staging yards have begun


With a crisp, hot and messy $27 million dollar check in the clutches of the Railroad, they have already started on rail yard staging ground part II, except it is not on the edges of town, but more centralized then ever. While it has been used for probably as long as the 8th street location, it is not as glamorous or as close to a Hilton, in fact it is only a few feet away from a refugee church, a mediocre sandwich shop, Avera’s parking ramp and about two blocks from where I write this blog. New drainage and RR ties are going in. As we all suspected, freeing up the 10 acres for a parking lot downtown will only transfer the rail traffic to other parts of downtown (that no one cares about or has to see). Rail traffic will probably increase (next to a major hospital and main north/south traffic route).

The relocation project has accomplished NOTHING! All it has done is create more headaches for people when dealing with train traffic and bilked $27 million from federal taxpayers. If the mayor thinks this is one of his greatest accomplishments, he must be working in quality assurance for the Sioux Santee tribe growing facility.

Touchmark finally gets the green light from the city council to expand

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We are treated to an unusual Sioux Falls City Council appeal process held on August 18, 2015. The meeting concluded the Touchmark at All Saints expansion plans rejected by the Board of Historic Preservation. Touchmark has gone back to the drawing board several times attempting to design a complimentary building addition only to be refused by the historic preservationists this year.

It took them almost 18 months of wrangling with the neighbors and the boards to get to this point. Ironically, only one neighbor came in opposition, and she just doesn’t like the color pink. This seems to be politically motivated.

While the current Phase 1 and Phase 2 pink stucco look is becoming a bit dated and tired, the latest designs may in the end be a welcome look. It appears Touchmark has taken the concerns of many of the neighbors and townspeople into consideration with the current plans.

The City Council had to become what’s called a quasi-judicial body to hear the appeal being presented. Items 48, 49 and 50 are the steps necessary to process the Board of Historic Preservation appeal.

Asst. City Attorney Danny Brown guides the Mayor and Council through the processes required to meet state law. The City Council became an appeals court chamber to hand down this type of judicial decision.

Item #48 is the hearing of the steps taken to this point, neighbor’s issues and filed plans. We were treated to some names and faces from Sioux Falls past bringing back some history to not forget. It was good to remember how bad the complex was before Waterford / Touchmark bought the place.

Item #49 is motion necessary to approve the project as stated in appeal.

Item #50 authorizes the City Attorney to file and post the Council’s decision.

Betty Best would be happy Touchmark has saved the complex and is expanding it’s footprint for the future.

The ‘Banks’ project ‘changes’ to a square


Seems some people bailed on the project;

The City of Sioux Falls announces that the mixed-use development, including private development and a new public parking ramp announced in June, is taking a step forward.

After continuing negotiations with the developers selected for the project, both the City and development teams have determined the footprint for the project and have decided to place it entirely on the City-owned surface parking lot located at 110 South Mall Avenue. The Request for Proposal evaluation committee, which convened today, supports this position.

This designated footprint and project design will include all of the previously announced project elements. Final schematic design will determine the exact number of hotel rooms, apartments, retail spaces, and parking spaces.

The ‘BIG’ question is who is buying the old Skelly’s and Copper Lounge buildings? You also wonder if Darrin and Mike’s motor mouths announcing the project before a purchase agreement was signed screwed the whole deal up?

I also find nothing ‘unique’ about the building they are proposing besides grass on the roof. While I am against the TIF for the Washington Square project, at least that building will looks unique.