City of Sioux Falls sees record year in 2020 for building permits

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 4:09 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As the Amazon Fulfillment Center continues to be built at Foundation Park and construction companies work to keep with the growing housing needs of Sioux Falls, the City’s Planning and Development Services Department say they experienced a record year in 2020 for building permits.

As the pandemic began nearly a year ago, Director of Sioux Falls Planning and Development Services, Jeff Eckhoff, was having an unusual start to 2020.

“It really was kind of surreal because in some respects it seemed like the city wasn’t busy, but we still stayed fairly busy that whole time,” Eckhoff said.

Eckhoff attributes the large workload to the housing industry, which kept building permits on pace to meet their yearly goal of $700 million. That is until Amazon came along.

“The last three years we’ve averaged about $765 million a year in building permits, and that $700 million is kind of that threshold. We would’ve almost met that without Amazon, we would’ve been at $695 million,” Eckhoff added.

With Foundation Park filling up, the Mayor says there are talks of finding more land for building.

“We’ll also need to be thinking about ‘do we need to start a Foundation Park 2?’ ‘Do we need to start looking around for where’s the best location for that?’” Said Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken.

Amazon’s $200 million-permit boosted the city’s total to over $900 million for the year, fulfilling over 7,000 building permits.

Something that is showing promise and perseverance in the business community.

“I’ve never lived in a community that is so solution-focused, and that’s the expectation here. If you’re part of that you’re welcome to be part of the team and if you’re not, you’re kind of an outlier. It speaks to the resiliency of the economy and the people that help build that economy,” Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce CEO Jeff Griffin said.

Although building permits don’t put up structures today, this record-breaking year is for the planning of tomorrow.

“A lot of these projects people understand ‘I’m going to make this investment today but my build-out is 18 months or almost two years.’ I’m looking at the other side of the pandemic in another year-and-a-half,” said Eckhoff.

As far as the future of Planning and Development in Sioux Falls, Eckhoff says he’s optimistic as he continues to hear plans for more projects to come.

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