Hultgren removed as guarantor of downtown hotel project

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KSFY) - An agreement received by the City of Sioux Falls Wednesday removes a controversial figure as guarantor of the $50 million ramp and hotel project in downtown Sioux Falls.

Legacy Development has requested the city assign the development agreement of the future mixed-use parking ramp at 110 South Mall Avenue to Village River Group, LLC. That agreement replaces Aaron Hultgren as personal guarantor for the project and adds Jeff Lamont. Lamont is CEO of Lamont Companies, Inc., based in Aberdeen. Lamont will manage Village River Group.

“The City of Sioux Falls is even more confident in the mixed-use parking ramp project’s success than we have ever been. This development will serve our community for decades to come and would not be possible without this public private partnership,” Director of Community Development Daren Ketcham said in a news release.

Last week, KSFY News obtained court documents from the U.S. Attorney's office that show Aaron Hultgren, owner of former construction company Hultgren Construction, is under federal criminal investigation. The company, since dissolved, was behind the Copper Lounge renovation project, when the building collapsed on Dec. 2, 2016, killing Ethan McMahon.

In April of 2017, OSHA assessed $200,000 in fines to Hultgren Construction and found the company violated 23 OSHA policies. Two of them were willful violations, meaning the company intentionally ignored OSHA rules.

Hultgren is an employee of Legacy Development, the developer the city selected for the mixed-use parking ramp.

A city news release says Lamont brings 20 years of hospitality development experience to the project. Lamont Companies is a real estate development company that has successfully developed, owns, operates, and has constructed as the general contractor more than 50 franchised hotels, convention centers, restaurants, and residential apartment components throughout the United States.