October 16 January 2022
Not all my thoughts are good, but I have a hunch that this will be one of them.
I thought of this as I carefully climbed the scaffolding leading to the 10th floor of the future Bancorp building on Cherapa Place in the city centre.
There’s little point in visiting a 10-story project if you’re not going to see the view from the top, right?
When I do, I know who else appreciates it more than I do: Craig Lloyd, chairman of the board of Lloyds, which is building another massive downtown redevelopment project, the Steel District.
The idea turned into a trip, and on a recent Friday morning, Lloyds’ leaders. The developers of Cherapa Place, Pendar Properties, agreed to show each other and me their respective projects.
I bet there are very few places in this country—even communities of our size—that have multiple high-rise construction cranes working together to complete $500 million worth of new development within a downtown block.
Rarely are the leaders of two companies talking to each other behind the scenes of their projects and sincerely expressing their gratitude for what the other is building.
For two hours, we shuttled through downtown properties. Craig Lloyd, Jeff Scherschligt and their next-generation family leaders Chris Thorkelson and Anne Haber, along with several City of Sioux Falls directors, showcase the incredible progress their buildings are making. Between them are nine multi-story structures in various stages of construction, ranging from office towers to destination hotels, and hundreds of new and luxury condos in both projects.
“How are your apartment sales?” Lloyd asked Scherschligt at one point during the tour.
“We only have three left,” he said.
“Great,” Lloyd replied.
“Wonderful?” I could tell he was serious. In case you missed it, these guys are technically competing with each other for buyers, just as they do for office tenants, and possibly retailers and apartment tenants as well.
But, all in all, it captures what sets Sioux Falls apart.
This came to my mind recently while speaking with a consultant hired to do market analysis, as the city prepares its Downtown 2035 long-term plan.
They left with a similar impression.
“We’ve interviewed people from both groups and they really seem to play parallel roles in the market,” said Ted Kamp, senior partner at Leland Consulting Group.
The two “really didn’t compete,” agreed his colleague Chris Zahas. “They both pre-lease their buildings, which is also unique. Ted and I work in communities like Sioux Falls that may have a demographic and employment base, but they don’t have anyone to actually build It. A specific type of developer is needed to complete a mixed-use project in the city center.”
In many communities of our size, developers with this skill simply don’t exist, nor enough to attract them from the larger market.
“You have talented developers doing big-city-style developments in mid-sized cities, and they’re locally based, so they’re rooted in the community, and that’s an asset,” Zahas said. “It’s a differentiating factor. Which cities are on the road to revitalizing downtowns, and which haven’t (depending on) if you have local developers doing that, or you don’t? Those that do take off and those that don’t slow down. .”
Market analysis and long-term plans have yet to be finalized or approved, but a recently released executive summary begins to detail what the city center looks like to 2035.
I’m particularly interested in properties identified as potential redevelopment areas, including some that we haven’t discussed much — the Wells Fargo neighborhood and properties east of downtown South Dakota currently used for the Department of Labor and other offices.
There may be other, bigger opportunities in the further future.
“In 15 to 20 years, at some point, Smithfield is going to build a whole new factory somewhere,” Camp said. “It’s going to open up a big chunk of land. And the prison – not that anyone’s talking about anything – could at some point also go away and open up a chunk of land. So in the long run, the North could have potential. .”
Meanwhile, the city last week announced plans to solicit developer interest for construction around a parking ramp on 10th Street east of Phillips Avenue. Assuming the interest matches the city’s goals for the property, this could create another mixed-use project.
“The most important thing is to keep the momentum going,” Zahas said. “Stagnation kills everything, and the stigma of a failed project slows things down. Don’t have low standards and don’t say no to really good things, even if it’s not what you wanted in the first place.”
I agree that it’s important to continue the momentum — but there’s an addendum.
As we continue to build downtown and across the region, it’s most important to maintain the same community-first spirit that I see under the cranes when I visit Cherapa Place and the Steel District.
We are fortunate that these developers are talented enough to make things happen, determined enough to bet on our community, and able to convince others to do the same. Of course, while this is an inherently competitive industry, at the end of the day, they really want to see each other succeed.
This had a knock-on effect, attracting other businesses including The Bancorp, which we announced last week to move its headquarters from Delaware to South Dakota. The business is the anchor tenant of a 10-storey mixed-use building in Cherapa.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this incredible development,” Chief Marketing Officer Maria Wainwright told me. “We’re all helping each other grow the Sioux Falls region, especially along the river. From the outside perspective of people who live there but fly there a lot, it’s just a cool town and a cool city, and I love where we are.”
Business competition is healthy because it pushes everyone to perform at their best. Governments work best when they support growth, not barriers. Combine the two, putting community above personal interests, and you have the ultimate trio.
It feels like we’ve achieved that at this moment in downtown Sioux Falls. If we can continue to do so as we address the opportunities of 2035 and beyond, it will be – in the words of Craig Lloyd, “fantastic.”
Downtown planning process looks for expansion opportunities