Simplified: The City of Sioux Falls is looking to acquire two parcels of land from the county. Both parcels are near the existing event center campus – i.e. Denny Sanford Premier Center, birdcage, convention center, arena. Here's a look at the why behind the proposed acquisition.
Why it matters
- The timing of the proposed acquisition comes in the months after formation of a new event center complex advisory board, which is working to further recommendations from a 2019 study group on the future of the events center campus. One of those recommendations being to purchase any adjacent property when it becomes available.
- Because both parcels of land the city's eyeing are owned by the county, the city is hoping to work out a trade deal where the city gets the land, and the county no longer has to pay for $1.25 million of equipment it was supposed to buy for the new law enforcement training center.
- There's no plan for the land yet, which has some councilors expressing concern that this might not end up meaning anything without a clear vision on the future of the campus.
"If I was to have any chance of getting on board, this would have to be really visionary," Councilor Greg Neitzert said. "It can't be just, 'Oh, we'll just put a restaurant there'... and hope for the best. We've been proven wrong twice (with that approach)."
What parcels of land are we talking about?
The first is the former Minnehaha County Corrections Center at 1900 W. Russell St., which was badly damaged in a 2018 fire.
- The building would need to be torn down, Finance Director Shawn Pritchett told councilors.
- It's a desirable location because it's next to both the Elmwood Golf Course and the Holiday Inn Express across the street from the Events Campus.
- It could be used as additional parking for the hotel, Pritchett said, though there's no set plan.
"It could be any number of uses, and this is a great opportunity to envision what that could be as we go into master planning," Pritchett said.
The second parcel of land is at 908 West Avenue, located kitty-corner from the Birdcage and across the street from the old Buffalo Wild Wings.
- Pritchett mentioned this parcel could serve as a connector between the Covell Lake/Terrace Park area and the events campus.
Tell me more about the 2019 task force recommendations
These recommendations are the jumping off point for the new advisory board.
- Getting rid of the Arena and instead expanding the Convention Center,
- Adding 60,000 square feet of convention space,
- Stopping any future investments into the Sioux Falls Stadium (where the Canaries play) and relocate outside the events campus.
In addition to the formal recommendations, the 2019 task force also suggested creating an events campus master plan – something in the "next steps" for the new advisory board.
- The task force suggestions also include purchasing any adjacent property to the current campus when it comes available, which is exactly what the city is looking to do here.
What happens next?
Councilors are expected to vote on the land exchange agreement – the trade-deal with the county – by the end of this year.
In early 2023, the advisory board will work on a market study of the events campus.
In late 2023, master planning for the campus is expected to start.