City redesigning downtown parking ramp, opening next summer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - The parking ramp that has caused quite a bit of controversy in downtown Sioux Falls is expected to open next June, but not as originally planned.

The Village on the River project was supposed to be a 15-story building with a hotel and retail space, but the project fell apart and will now be redesigned without a development attached.

Sioux Falls Parking Manager Matt Nelson proposed his 2020 budget to the Sioux Falls City Council Tuesday, but the conversation quickly turned to the topic of the new parking ramp downtown that was supposed to be more than just a ramp.

The Village on the River project was supposed to be one of the largest developments in downtown Sioux Falls' history holding hotels and retail space, but the city terminated the development agreement for the Village on the River project back in May.

Now, city councilors are concerned how it's going to get paid for since it's only a standalone parking ramp.

"Are we anticipating changes with the rates because of the project not moving forward?" Sioux Falls City Councilor, Pat Starr said.

"The rates that we're projecting for lease rates and meter rates they're the exact same thing they were before," Nelson said.

Nelson said at this point they're in a good place with the payments.

"We anticipate 300 to 350 users in that ramp on day one and that's based on demand previously and currently," Nelson said.

That brought up the question of where the parking department is at with long term leases.

"We do have businesses that are saying ‘hey when are you going to open this waiting list? We're ready to move into this facility’ and the position of that ramp is in a great position," Nelson said.

Councilor Theresa Stehly is concerned about the overall cost of the parking ramp now that a private developer is not a part of it.

"What are we projecting of the 300 to 350 users? What're you going to say we get monthly from that?" Stehly said.

"I think we budgeted on an annual basis about $300,000. We’re going to be at that $80 dollar per spot per month," Nelson said.

He said that's consistent with all of the facilities. There are also higher standards for infrastructure downtown that increases the cost.

Councilor Pat Starr is concerned with how much this parking ramp could cost extra for taxpayers since the original plan has changed.

"We don't have all those designs back in yet and once we get those back in they will be priced by Journey Group. Hopefully within the next two to three weeks we'll have those,” Nelson said. "But obviously when you take something off the top now you need roofs on your stairwells, we have doors that went to nowhere that needed to be infilled with concrete block."

Nelson said mixed-use parking ramps have been a problem in the past, but he's confident a development will be part of this parking ramp in the future.

No matter what he says this ramp will be useful to Sioux Falls just like the parking system already has been the last 50 years.

The Sioux Falls City Council originally voted to approve the mixed-use parking ramp in December of 2017. Councilor Theresa Stehly was the only one who voted against it.