Hotel and Parking Ramp Plan is Good for Downtown [OPINION]
The announcement on Wednesday of a public/private partnership to develop a downtown block is an exciting and positive step for Sioux Falls.
There will be plenty of discussion surrounding the finances of the deal -- valued at $50 million -- including the parking ramp, hotel and retail space. Notably, the question is whether the city is taking on too much of the bill, about $20 million for the ramp. That money will come from a bond that will be retired using parking fees.
Scott Ehrisman, local blogger and City Hall watcher, was on The Patrick Lalley Show on Thursday and he has concerns about what we are paying per parking stall for the project. Scott makes some good points, which you can listen to here.
But overall I think this is a great project.
A downtown development that could reach 14 stories and $50 million will include a hotel, parking ramp and retail space. Called Village on the River and sitting east of 10th Street and Phillips Avenue, the project is a partnership between Legacy Developments and the city of Sioux Falls. It’s believed to be the largest private-public development in the city’s history, said Norm Drake, Legacy’s CEO.
The hotel will be a national name, but none has been confirmed yet. It will be 120 to 140 rooms on six or seven stories, Drake said. Village on the River also will include street-level retail, two or three stories above that with more retail and amenities, plus several stories of above-ground parking, bringing the total height to 13 or 14 stories.
Along with the announcement of Philips Hotel at 9th Street, it’s going to completely change the character of that segment of downtown, bringing more people, entertainment, retail, etc. to the heart of the city.
In the broader sense, adding more full-service hotels – with a restaurant and the rest – is good for bringing more big-time events to the city, most notably NCAA basketball tournament games, to Sioux Falls. That shortage has been a barrier in the past.
Also, we needed both of these developments to fill a clear hole in the hospitality industry downtown. There are scads of fine hotels going up along the interstate beltway – and that’s good – but quality options downtown are not as plentiful as they need to be.
There will be a lot of discussion about the cost to the city, which still requires City Council approval. But it should get it. Knowing what we know at this point, the bond to pay for the ramp won’t burden tax payers. It’s not an unreasonable arrangement and brings significant investment to the city core.
That’s all good news.
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