More Backroom Shady deals from the TenHaken Administration and the spineless Sioux Falls City Council

While the city councilors did a lot of whining last night, all 8 of them voted for this deal;

The Sioux Falls City Council voted to discontinue parking at a downtown surface lot, as well as declare it surplus property — the first steps in a plan that could add a four-story building and 150 apartments to downtown Sioux Falls.

The pair of 8-0 votes were taken in relation to a 0.5 acre surface parking lot at 400 S. 1st Ave., one of two lots that have been up for sale since September 2020.

The project is not final, with Powers noting the resolutions passed by the council would enable the city to enter into negotiations on the sale of the lot, which was appraised last year at $502,000.

In an informational meeting earlier this year, Soehl had said he didn’t believe the lot could legally be declared surplus, and called the system of informing the council about submitted proposals “inadequate.”

Basically, as I predicted on Sunday (item #47), a backroom deal was concocted with the developer, which seems to be an odd coincidence considering Mayor TenHaken’s Chief of Shaft, Erica Beck, was a former executive with the company and the developer has continued to receive tax incentives, TIFs, land discounts and other goodies from this administration and council.

Just look at the appraisal price. It is laughable considering that an unblighted lot, on prime downtown property with plenty of access to sewer, water, gas and electrical would only be worth $500K. That lot should go for at least 4 times that amount. I would be curious who appraised this lot and how many appraisals were done? Good luck with that request.

While the City Council wrings their hands about how this deal is being done, they voted for it and refuse to remedy the issue. Oh that’s right, because most of their butts are owned by the banksters, bondsters and developers in town, and they know it. This also should NOT have been voted on as a resolution as ‘surplus’ after a deal was already done with a developer without a proper RFP process. The lot should have been voted on as surplus before ANY developer put in a bid. A little game of the cart before the horse. There should have also been a recommendation to only allow workforce housing be sold at the location. Instead, it appears these will be higher rents. The inept council has had ZERO control of this process from the beginning, but golly gee they sure let the city staff have it by voting 8-0 to approve 🙁

The WAR on transparency and open government continues and the rubberstamp council just plays along while ‘pretending’ they are concerned.


#1 Erica on 10.19.21 at 8:17 pm

This city council makes me sick. They ALL need replaced, each and every single one of them.

Interesting how the city NEEDED parking downtown so bad that a $28-30 MILLION PUBLIC and private “partnership” parking ramp Concert on the Corner was built, without finishing & unusable, and now still in a lawsuit?

The city has MASSIVE dreams to “renovate” *rolleyes* Falls Park and expand downtown yet we now need LESS parking?
And since when is it the role of the city council to decide what developers or businesses should come to the area and what should be put in place, so much so making deals to MAKE it happen?

The city needs to be investigated for money laundering, corruption, and fleecing the citizens. Some serious shady stuff happening in this city and not enough people paying attention nor care. Maybe they will wake up with property taxes go up AGAIN while these developers continue to earn TIFS and primo property without the citizens of Sioux Falls having a say either way.

#2 l3wis on 10.19.21 at 8:21 pm

My bigger concern is where are all the patrons of Tommy Jacks going to park? The shame. The shame I say!

#3 l3wis on 10.19.21 at 8:23 pm

But on a lighter note, maybe ACE hardware will get busy enough they will have more than one employee keeping the entire store from 11:45 AM to 3:45 PM each day. I jest.

#4 l3wis on 10.19.21 at 8:41 pm

#5 "Woodstock" on 10.20.21 at 10:21 am

“Maybe Noem’s daughter appraised it”…. “She is new”…

#6 rufusx on 10.20.21 at 1:16 pm

As understand it the development will include both off-street surface and underground tenant and business parking.

#7 D@ily Spin on 10.20.21 at 5:23 pm

A corrupt city government, what’s new? We can’t stop them and the state and Feds aren’t paying attention. Someday there’ll be a Godfather-like movie. The city will be renamed New Chicago. Then, we can color the River green on St. Patrick’s day.

#8 "Woodstock" on 10.20.21 at 5:39 pm

“The river is already a greenish-brown”

#9 Mike Zitterich on 10.20.21 at 6:27 pm

Do not forget that in 1961 as a State, the Municipalities lobbied the legislature to pass a resolution that basically set a goal to remove motor vehicles off the street and into parking garages, ramps, and lots in order to clean up our streets. This began a major push to build parking ramps. This is not just a goal that was started recently, this was the goal began more than 40 years ago.

That resolution became codified as part as SDCL 9-51-1.

Also note, 5 years ago, as I brought up during public comments, that the Council in 2017 stated that we would NOT sell parking lot lands just to fill the parking ramp, or to pay off the bonds. Theresa Stehly posed that question to the council during Huether’s final year, and the promise was to NOT sell land where parking lots were on.

Also note – all sale of land where the city holds a Parking Ramp must stay within the Parking Enterprise, so lets watch carefully where money goes from here on out, does the Next City Council (2022-24) vote to pass an ordinance to transfer parking funds to another department? Yes or No

I do not care that we sell off parking lots, I am all for putting CASH back in our bank accounts, and allowing the land to be rezoned, developed, so we can capitalize on the land itself, creating new revenues as a city. Just be HONEST with the people about this plan, and stop lieing to people by telling them “WE do not plan on selling off parking lots”

Like I said back in 2017 – the city does not care if the RAMP costs 10 Million or $20 million, it is the “ASSET” value they are looking for, it raises the Net Worth of the City, making it easier to borrow money. And this City is worth $2,000,000,000,000 billion dollars.


#10 l3wis on 10.20.21 at 6:47 pm

I don’t have an issue with selling it either, but since it is taxpayer owned land the city does have the ability to specify its use to the seller which should be more density and affordable housing. We are turning DT into a playground for the rich and upper middle class and pushing the very people out who work DT that cannot afford $1,500-$2,500 a month rents. I have said for a long time they should put affordable studio apartments above the bunker ramp and diversify the housing DT.

#11 "Woodstock" on 10.20.21 at 10:40 pm

“At least when people live in apartments, they don’t need others to clean their garbage cans, I mean ‘trash bins’.”

#SlowNewsDay #WhatHappenToTheBurgerBattle?

#12 Very Stable Genius on 10.20.21 at 10:59 pm

Having others clean your trash bins, it’s another example of how the emerging upper middle income are takers of our greater economy, and thus, placing greater stress upon the service economy and its insatiable need for more employees than actually do exist.

( and Woodstock adds: “Say, what if they placed some of those state-of-the-art new car wash places within the drive-thru lanes at Chick-fil-As, then offer like unlimited car washes and chicken sandwiches for only $39.99 per month?”…. “It wouldn’t take anymore employees (“I don’t think”…) and your white or black SUV will look sparkling for Sunday morning, too”… )

#13 Mike Zitterich on 10.21.21 at 12:35 pm

Once you put land up on the open market, I really do not think you have any say on what the land can be used for one way or the other. You could as the current land owner maybe attempt to look for specific buyers, to accomplish certain objectives, but then again, some people would then cry foul that the city is now paying favorites with certain people, developers, etc.

#14 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 10.21.21 at 12:45 pm

I get the trash thing, but is it “bins” or “cans”?

#15 Further Fear & Loathing on 10.21.21 at 12:49 pm

It’s not a question of a Peabody, just, how many?

#16 l3wis on 10.21.21 at 1:36 pm

The city definitely has the power to determine what is built there, that is why they put out an RFP

#17 Very Stable Genius on 10.21.21 at 3:54 pm


#18 The Guy From Guernsey on 10.21.21 at 6:20 pm

Bin cleaning businesses, of which there would seem to be about three in the City, place undue stress on the service economy?!?!
How many employees, total, do you think are employed by these businesses, in addition to the proprietors?
I appreciate the enthusiasm of the entrpreneur portrayed in the link you shared. However, it is possible that, by buying a wash truck, he has purchased for himself – a job (as Dave Ramsey might say).

#19 Warren Phear on 10.22.21 at 10:54 am

It’s obvious to anyone paying attention. It is the mayor and the special interest 6 against Starr and Brekke. The constant drumroll of 6-2 council votes can beat anyone down. I hope this is not a sign the only 2 reps of the people are throwing in the towel.

#20 Very Stable Genius on 10.22.21 at 2:19 pm


It’s just another example of people relying on others to do the work that people once did themselves. It may be a machine and one worker, but it takes a lot of “one worker” throughout our greater economy to make this happen. The emerging upper middle come are needy and lazy. A course, they will claim they are the job creators, but where are the workers?

As far as Dave Ramsey, his brilliance is that he makes millions stating the obvious, in my opinion. 😉

( and Woodstock adds: “‘machine’?”…. “You sound like Strom Thurmond during the Clarence Thomas hearings”…)

#21 The Guy From Guernsey on 10.23.21 at 11:35 am

“It’s just another example of people relying on others to do the work that people once did themselves.”

Almost perfect alignment with a criticism of the transition of America from a rural agrarian society to that of an urban industrialized society after invention of the cotton gin.
Rural agrarian families would have little need to purchase clothes from a retail clerk.
Great grandma would never think it proper to send the threshing crew to a restaurant for a midday meal (imagine the noon line at a Chick-fil-A ride through/ drive through, pre-industrial revolution!).
Yet, these jobs (retail store clerk, cooking and service of food in restaurants) exist because city-dwellers do not, likely by choice, perfom the same chores which would have been typical of a more-self sufficient rural agrarian family.
Despite the romanticism of America’s rural agrarian past, not likely that we return.
You make reference to a class of people who are “emerging middle upper income”, signifying that they are emerging (rising!) from lower economic standing. What a great country we have which makes it possible for people to do so!

#22 The Guy From Guernsey on 10.23.21 at 11:44 am

“The emerging city dwellers are needy and lazy.” – 20th century rural agrarian, post industrial revolution.

#23 Very Stable Genius on 10.23.21 at 1:37 pm

They’re emerging alright, but those who are not, are not maintaining a just middle class status, but rather are falling into a class of working poor who live paycheck to paycheck.

Your agrarian to urban industrialized analogy lacks in that my concern is found within the urban industrialized reality itself. Agrarian to urban is a possible advancement, while a rising existence within urban, which discards those left behind, is like a cancerous growth that consumes life and eventually life itself.

( and Woodstock adds: “WTF is going on here?”…. “All I want is a good chicken sandwich”… “That’s all I ask”…. )