Not so TIFilicious?

Imagine my surprise when I read this article;

Questions about the ownership of a strip of land within the Sioux Steel Co. site in downtown Sioux Falls has created a new, unexpected hurdle for the proposed $185 million redevelopment of the property.

The land in question was once a channel of the Big Sioux River and has ownership origins that stretch back beyond South Dakota statehood all the way to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

Archived press clippings appear to indicate that the channel that separated Seney Island from the western bank of the Big Sioux River was filled in and, along with the former island, was turned into usable land in the early 1900s. Sioux Steel Co. has owned and operated on the site since 1918.

Officials in the state School and Public Lands and Attorney General’s offices are reviewing maps, historic documents and other information to determine whether the state may have a claim of ownership to the strip of land.

I’m not naive, I’m sure the State will probably come back and say they don’t have rights to it, or if they do, sell it for very little coin. I know how palms are greased in Pierre.

But what makes this story frustrating is with all of the people from the Sioux Steel Company, Lloyd Company and the city’s planning office, NO one came across this possible conflict? It took a hobbyist in history to find it?

Not to mention that around $3.5 million has already been spent on planning this project and NONE of these questions were asked before passing a $20 million dollar TIF.

Sometimes I think developers in this town just fly by the seat of their pants, cross their fingers and hope things turn out.



5 comments ↓

#1 Save Seney Island! on 02.25.20 at 9:57 pm

And the ghost of Seney Island lingers on. It’s further proof that Seney is what Oak Island only hopes to be. Now, Lincoln is involved, too. But before long, Knights Templar will become the undoubtable answer.

( – and Woodstock adds: “I just knew that Seney would have the last say”…. “But can’t another fancy quitclaim deed solve all of the problems?”…… “I am sure that’s one navigability that all could agree upon”…..)

#2 D@ily Spin on 02.26.20 at 9:07 am

A parcel occupied by one for the statute of limitations can become owned. This could be an eminent domain question. In other words, after time unless the land is state or federal, it can be considered part of the surrounding parcel.
The biggest reason the city can’t develop the railroad parcel is the easements that prevent development. For the most part, it’s federal right-of-way and utilities. The city bought land the railroad didn’t have rights to sell. Next time, buy swampland in Florida for 90 million. With global warming, at least it can be developed in a hundred years or so.

#3 D@ily Spin on 02.26.20 at 9:14 am

The lesson for the city is they should stay out of the real estate business. Focus on useless 4 story structures like the Parking Ramp and Romantix Building. Then, when they’re demolished, there will be some salvage value.

#4 anominous on 02.27.20 at 2:00 am

imagining the horrors that the townie fathers could’ve buried forever in that trench circa 1900

#5 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 02.27.20 at 6:26 pm

The state is giving away land it didn’t know it owned. Apparently, the city gave a TIF to the state, too. The Bunker Ramp is incomplete. Buildings are collapsing. The removal of load-bearing walls doesn’t need a permit anymore. They want to tear down the Arena even though it’s stronger than the Events Center. And everyone is asked to live in a taupe house. Plus, coyotes are invading our town. People don’t shave, and now they wear tenny runners to work, too. But look on the bright side, the coronavirus should be a growth area for Sanford, Avera, and thus, River City.

Leave a Comment