At the council meeting tonight, Soehl recused himself on Item #45, which is a rezone of an historic building in Pettigrew Heights to be converted into a coffee shop. I’m am not sure why he recused himself because he never told the council and the public, but my guess is he may be investing in the project but I do not know for sure. Let’s just say he has a conflict and admitted to it, whatever it is.
After coming back he co-sponsored item #53, a resolution to pull $120K from streets to re-establish the core facade program. He claims he has NO idea who would want to use it but has heard several people are interested.
So imagine my surprise when the main developer of Item #45 was interested in applying for the program after his rezone was approved.
Coincidence? I think not.
So how is it that Soehl walked out on the coffee shop project because of an assumed conflict, then turns around and sponsors a program that MAY benefit the project he has a conflict with?
Hey Curt, we can connect the dots . . . unfortunately you cannot. This will be brought up time and time again when your re-election campaign heats up.
UPDATE: Apparently the Developer of the Coffee Shop is Curt’s re-election campaign treasurer
You know what they say, even if you know your are wrong, never admit it, just dig in deeper. During the latest episode of Inside Town Hall in which Councilor Brekke tells us to eat more vegetables and drive electric cars, Jensen continues to push the narrative that if we just give contractors and developers even more tax breaks we will get more housing (he supports legislative proposals that would create entire neighborhood TIFs, instead of individual homeowners and a rebate of excise taxes to contractors). While at the same time promoting (low-wage) workers to live someplace else. When it comes to affordable and accessible housing, it starts at the bottom, not at the top. But not in Sioux Falls, hand all the TIFilicious goodies to the ones at the top hoping they will throw us some crumbs while spray painting the poorer neighborhoods sidewalks.
And why would we NOT think Alex’s plan wouldn’t work? He works at the number #1 bank in the Nation, and he had no problem advertising the place while appearing on a tax payer funded program. Actually surprised me because every time he sits on the dais at Carnegie he has no problem flaunting his SF City Council logo wear puffy vest we all paid for (even though I suggested they just all get magnetic badges instead). It must have been at the cleaners when he recorded this show so he had to wear his primary employer’s vest instead.
As I have been saying for years, we are breaking these records by ignoring affordable housing, handing out millions in tax rebates and TIFs and including publicly funded projects while raising property taxes a record amount.
If you read the article you see that two large chunks of permitting were projects that received millions in TIF money and another large chunk was public projects like the water treatment plant and the public safety center.
I have often argued that permits should be separated into PUBLIC PROJECTS and COMMERCIAL PROJECTS.
Private Commercial projects build economic growth, but when they are propped up by massive tax rebates it’s just putting gasoline on the fire. As for Public Projects, those are funded by the taxpayers as investments in infrastructure and should NOT be considered towards the permitting financials as part of economic growth. Sure, we have to build these facilities because of growth, but it also means our taxes are going up to do so while handing out tax breaks to the very developers fueling the uncontrollable growth. It is counter productiveand simply growth for growth sakes instead measured, calculated slower growth.
I would love to see the city stop giving TIFs for Korean owned egg roll factories and parking ramps and start applying them to neighborhoods. Or better yet abolish TIFs all together and simply invest tax dollars in neighborhoods by encouraging the construction of more affordable housing through other tax incentives. Instead recently the city code enforcers bombarded neighborhoods in the central district with pink spray paint and violation notices for city owned sidewalks. What a great way to prop up our central neighborhoods by fining citizens to fix city owned property (more on this story in the near future).
Recently CountCilor Alex ‘Expert Economist’ Jensen suggested on CityLink that the way to solve our workforce and housing issues is by inviting people to work in Sioux Falls but to live in towns around us like Tea, Hartford, Dell Rapids, etc. Yeah, that’s an awesome way to build a solid tax base 🙁 and this guy works at a bank!
I would also like to see separating commercial and public permits. They don’t represent the same thing and shouldn’t be held up together. It’s like saying you are the championship BBQ’r in your own backyard and buying yourself a trophy. The city saying they broke records by including infrastructure projects they approved and we are paying for through higher taxes is putting the thumb on the scale.
Don’t get me wrong, economic development is good, but let’s be honest about the numbers and where the money is coming from (mostly taxpayers) and let’s start investing in neighborhoods, local businesses and people – then you will see true economic development we can be proud of because you can’t live in a parking ramp, police firing range or an egg roll.
The Sioux Falls City Council voted to discontinue parking at a downtown surface lot, as well as declare it surplusÂ propertyÂ â€” 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, asÂ I predicted on SundayÂ (item #47), a backroom deal was concocted withÂ the developer, which seems to be anÂ oddÂ 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,Â 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 â€˜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 â€˜pretending’ they are concerned.
UPDATE: My suspicions were correct. I guess the city has already denied a purchase agreement with this guy, and he was trying another approach by going through the media. The rumor was it was denied because the developer doesn’t roll with the developer welfare queens the city normally gives these projects to. I wondered why this wasn’t in SF Bizzo. This from the city;
As I have mentioned in different meetings with each of you, we have two other parties who are planning to make an offer on this site as well.Â Under our negotiated sale process they have been notified and we expect to see their proposals toward the end of October.Â Just wanted to let you know that the process undertaken by Thomas Development was a total surprise to everyone and does not indicate that we are doing anything other than receiving their proposal at this time.
Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions.
Jeff Eckhoff Director, Planning and Development Services
If approved, the proposal calls for 54 studio apartments, 104 one-bedroom apartments and 58 two-bedroom apartments, with rents ranging from $795 to $1,005.
I couldn’t find out too much background information on the developer, Tom Andrews, but he has done housing developments like this all over the country. We will see what kind of tax incentives he looks for, either in discretionary, TIFs or a discount on the land like the development across the street got. If he asks for none of these things, I will personally thank him to his face for embracing the free market. But I’m not holding my breath.