Is the Events Center doomed? Probably.

Here we go again down nowhere street. Another study-task-force-monkey-fuck with no results.

I’ll say it for the 1,000th time, until voters approve a funding source, which includes heavy corporate sponsorship, it will go nowhere.

Besides the pissing match between Build it Downtown on the River front Cherapa place people and Huether’s dry dream of putting it at the Arena, there is other conflicting matters;

• There is no corporate sponsor

• There is no clear price

• There is no clear question to the public

• There is no clear demonstrated need

• The economy cannot support it

Councilor Jamison’s vision of building a convention center downtown while converting the current CC into a rec center while remodeling the Arena is the best option. I see this scenario kicking up a lot more corporate sponsorship and it seems to fit better with the current economic situation.

Is the Arena a dump. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but it does need to be fixed up. My philosophy is simple; when your fridge breaks down in your kitchen, do you remodel the entire kitchen, or buy a new fridge? That is kinda what we are faced with here. The Arena fits our needs, it just needs a ‘spiff up’

From what I have been hearing from multiple sources and camps is the Events Center is dead in the water again, but many great alternatives are emerging.

Many people say I am too negative, but negativity can only be harmful if use it to destroy instead of innovate. I think the latest round of Events Center dance parties will demonstrate that this time we can pull something positive from the ashes that has corporate sponsorship and private non-profit club support.

Taxpayers are not opposed to helping a brother out, they just want a hand in the deal.


#1 Johnny Roastbeef on 04.04.11 at 8:40 am

The Events Center might not be the answer, but I don’t see how we can keep trying to polish the turd that is the Arena. It doesn’t work well for music or sporting events, and we can’t fix that. Why would we keep pumping money into it?

#2 The secret is out, South Dakota is the place to be | The Post SD | South Dakota Stories and News on 04.04.11 at 8:43 am

[…] Hooks has a new CD. A Brookings man is paying over $5mil in restitution. The events center is doomed. […]

#3 Poly43 on 04.04.11 at 9:34 am

• There is no corporate sponsor

• There is no clear price

• There is no clear question to the public

• There is no clear demonstrated need

• The economy cannot support it


#4 l3wis on 04.04.11 at 9:41 am

JR – As opposed to pumping millions into studies that never come to fruition? When all we have to do is drop about $30,000 and have a special election?

#5 Johnny Roastbeef on 04.04.11 at 10:30 am

l3wis, I’m not saying we should be pumping millions into studies that never come to fruition. I’m just saying the arena sucks, and it’s awful that we have to put more money into it. But I guess if that’s the only choice we have that’s the only choice we have.

#6 l3wis on 04.04.11 at 10:35 am

I would prefer we build something different to. But the public will never support bonding unless we have more private money. It’s time for corporate SF to step up. Notice you never hear about a Lloyd or Dunham center? Two companies who have made millions from SF.

#7 Sy on 04.04.11 at 11:26 am


• There is no corporate sponsor – even best case you won’t see more than 20% private money. Most corporate sponsors come out after the building has been priced and approved, Sanford didn’t put their name on Bemidji’s EC until a month before it opened.

• There is no clear price – again, the clearest price will come from final design and how they will address issues like parking, access and drainage (last one might actually be the most expensive to fix)

• There is no clear question to the public – There shouldn’t be. There should be a clear vision for the overall impact of the project which maximizes the economic payback, you do that the public can buy in or not with an informed vote as then they know how the place will be paid for. We can do this without raising sales or property taxes, but the correct location will be the only way the place will ever pay for itself in any reasonable time frame.

• There is no clear demonstrated need – No one needs an Events Center, like say we need safe drinking water. No one needs a 401K either, but if you start early and take steps to maximize your return, you wake up one day damn glad you did so.

• The economy cannot support it – This makes no sense. The economy doesn’t support an EC, people do. When they do, it can make the economic pie expand, as it’s discretionary spending. Also, if we locate the EC downtown and the $500 million in potential development around it goes in in 10 years as opposed to 30 without it, you will see the $30 million in sales tax revenue and the $10 million in excise tax revenues associated with its construction come in that much faster = positive impact on time value of money. That’s not even counting the yearly economic impact of the facilty itself.

Again, I’ll ask this: What specifically is it about Sioux Falls that makes us immune to the economic benefits other similar cities have seen from these kinds of investments?

#8 l3wis on 04.04.11 at 11:33 am

Please read my Pavilion post. The economic impact is pie in the sky. A guy at Huether’s listening and learning session said it best, “What has happened since 2009 when the first EC study was done? Sioux Falls grew and prospered, without an Events Center.” Sioux Falls is great for many reasons, I have often said safety and an amazing FREE parks system, but building a new EC won’t make it much more attractive and it certainly won’t increase my wages.

#9 Sy on 04.04.11 at 11:59 am

Look at both the Pavillion and Convention Center, since both were part of the same bonding package. We spent 2/3 of the money at the CC under the promise of “economic impact” with the Arena.

-Assessed values downtown have nearly doubled since then. Almost every building around the Pavilion has been upgraded and remodeled.

-The area around the CC is stagnant. The Convention Center office building across from the Ramada just sold for $500K, the owner bought it several years ago for $800K. The hotel that burned down was sucking wind to the point where they took the insurance money and built low income housing instead of replacing the hotel. First National Bank has pulled out, Taste of India is gone, Michael’s is shutting down as we speak. The old Lions Pub’s best use has become a bus terminal. Nutty’s is trying something else to make it go, the Hole in the Wall is for sale for cheap and can’t get any takers. Dow Rummell and Stewart’s are institutional and the only ones that have invested in the area, but their investments have nothing to do with Event traffic. Stewart’s actually was able to downsize since the building they went into was so cheap, because no one wants to locate out there.

#10 Sy on 04.04.11 at 12:02 pm

Re: Pavillion, nearly 300K people went through there last year, ask any business within 3 blocks if they get any benefit from that traffic. Went to Parker’s on a Tuesday night a few weeks ago, place was packed and we needed reservations on a Tuesday in the middle of winter. Why? Joe Bonnamassa was in town.

#11 Pathloss on 04.04.11 at 1:51 pm

Good reporting l3wis. Unbeknownst to citizens is city liability from pending litigation. The camera case is won and in financial restitution phase (5 million?). False arrest cases, another couple million. How does Huether hide the private attorneys (2 million?). There will be no funding until they get themselves out of court. It’s how an 800 credit score dips to 300. They owe everybody and owe me $1500 from a court judgement. Want to see the city in small claims court? Message to mayor, try democracy it’s cheaper.

#12 The Guy From Guernsey on 04.04.11 at 7:02 pm


RE: the fine dining establishment which you mention above:

I had a FANTASTIC steak there on Wed. evening of last week. Drove past the place during the dinner hour this evening … the joint appeared to be open for business & doing great business for a Monday evening in Sioux Falls.

… I wonder if it was the pre-concert crowd for the ‘Three Days Grace’ concert @ the Convention Center out to ‘enjoy dinner & some drinks’ before the concert ?


#13 The Guy From Guernsey on 04.04.11 at 7:03 pm

p.s. has the B.I.D. group placed a TM on the phrase ‘enjoy dinner & some drinks’ ?

#14 Poly43 on 04.05.11 at 6:48 am

ask any business within 3 blocks if they get any benefit from that traffic. Went to Parker’s on a Tuesday night a few weeks ago, place was packed and we needed reservations on a Tuesday in the middle of winter. Why? Joe Bonnamassa was in town.

Here’s the part I just can’t get a handle on just yet. BID keeps harping on economic impact and its trickledown theory it will have for Joe SixPack. Say the Mrs and I go to Parkers and the Joe Bonamassa show. What difference does it really make to the SF economy if we spend $200 one night DT or three nights at Big Jims Sports Bar on Burnside? Discretionary spending does have a limit. That limit is called a budget. When we reach it, we stay home. But then, that’s for the typical SF taxpayer. To call an ‘Event’ Center, ANYWHERE, a treasure chest at the end of the rainbow is not being completely honest.

#15 l3wis on 04.05.11 at 7:51 am

Parker’s does well because it is really fucking good.

That being said Poly is right, people have a budget, trust me, I see this first hand while waiting tables.

#16 Scott on 04.05.11 at 8:10 am

It’s like I’ve said from the beginning – there seems to be this myth going around that nobody is drinking/eating before Arena shows because little development has flourished around that area. That’s silliness – people are doing that at their neighborhood or favorite establishments – or just drinking at home. So whether those 2500 Skyforce fans are viewing them at the Arena or downtown, the same amount of money is flowing through the city.

#17 Sy on 04.05.11 at 8:40 am

Guys, it’s not difficult. We are talking impulse shopping and supply versus demand. When you walk out of the Arena and your date/spouse/pal says “Hey, why don’t we grab a couple sliders and a Mojito?” You will at first, take a quick inventory of what’s immediately around you: Nutty’s/Boonies, BW3, Hotel bar/restaurant, Casa del Rey……then??? (insert chirping sound here) If you like a good glass of wine or real mexican food or sushi or something other than Bud Light you are screwed.

If you are doing the same thing at Cherapa, you will have at least 2 or 3 choices that don’t require you leaving the building, and if you can handle a 2 or 3 block walk you will have in the neighborhood of 30 options give or take.

Meanwhile, out at the Arena. If 300 people make the same call you do…it will be a race to see who gets a seat and who doesn’t. No seat? Fuck it, let’s go home. Depending on the event, you may be battling locals or out of towners. If you aren’t from here, you will likely say fuck it without even trying as you can see BW3’s lot is full and you probably figure the Sheraton is expensive.

Give people more choices and human behavior shows more people will make them vs. not.

Again, the last 20 cities that have built facilties in their downtowns have paid professional people millions of dollars to tell them the same thing. So it’s either a no brainer (except in SF) or I’ve stumbled across the largest & broadest case of Economic fraud ever perpetuated.