City leadership weighs what to do with downtown Sioux Falls parking ramp

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 11:27 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - City leadership continues to evaluate the best way to utilize the unfinished, multi-million-dollar parking ramp in downtown Sioux Falls.

The Sioux Falls City Council and city administration discussed the beginning of those visions at Tuesday afternoon’s public information meeting.

The mayor’s Chief of Staff, Erica Beck, presented the city council with some commonly asked questions the administration has received about the direction they intend to go in. Is the city willing to put more financial backing into a future project? And, what kind of flexibility will the council have with approving the type of business that occupies the space?

Initially, the building was intended to be a mixed-use structure with a parking ramp, hotel, and retail space. That could still happen, but councilors who spoke at the most recent meeting said the best thing to do now is keep their options open.

“What’s going to happen is going to be what the market will bear, so I think it’s a mistake if we say it has to be residential or it has to be commercial,” City Councilor Greg Neizert said.

Ideas have ranged from apartments to corporate offices or even selling the property entirely.

“I don’t think it’s cut and dry, from my perspective if we should get rid of it or we shouldn’t get rid of it, but we should entertain all options, and then be able to move forward and act on those (options) as they come forward, through planning and development,” Sioux Falls City Councilor Alex Jensen said at the informational meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Neizert shares a similar mindset, adding it’s not “atypical” for other communities to have a number of privately owned parking ramps with public access.

“We need to be open to potentially selling the ramp, but it needs to be right for the community and downtown,” Neitzert said. “In some ways, you could argue that there could be a cleanliness to it if it’s purchased and then it’s under just one private control.”

City Councilor Marshall Selberg has been part of the group developing the marketing plan for the property.

“I think everybody feels pretty good about the direction we’re going, and the meetings I have been in have been very positive,” Selberg said. “There are a lot of folks who are interested in bringing their ideas to the table, so I still have every expectation that this is going to be spectacular before it’s all said and done.”

Selberg says the city council will work closely with Mayor TenHaken’s administration to find the best use for the space.

“Let’s see what the ideas are, let’s get them on the table over the next few months, and then go from there,” Selberg said.

With more than $20 million already invested into the project by the city, ultimately, the council wants to do right by the taxpayers.

“The most important thing is that we get it right... if we need to take it slow, we need to make sure that our partner is rock solid and that it’s going to work. We cannot have another failure,” Neitzert said.

There will be one more public information meeting regarding the parking ramp on Oct. 11. By early November, city leadership hopes to announce more concrete details about the official process.