Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Hope and a Prayer and A Little Lawsuit

The mayor needed to do something about that Oaks Hotel eyesore laying out there in the middle of  his grand scheme of  Event Center economic development. The City of Sioux Falls is suing the owner of the Oaks Hotel in the hopes of cleaning up the property until someone buys it for development. The owner of the property says he has no immediate plans to develop the property and intends to sit on it while he waits for the $300 million in development plans to magically appear.

What has been developed in that Russell Street corridor of Sioux Falls? Not much of anything. The Oaks Hotel closed down in 2008 and the property has fallen into such disrepair that the City has to sue the owner to get it to have some curb appeal. A councilor says we need to do something to pretty the area up for visitors. A little lipstick on a pig doesn't magically mean it will look like Ms Piggy.

The asking price for that little piece of hot hotel property is $2.3 million. The fact that the mayor stood out on that property with the owner when he promised to build a new hotel on that site in 2010 seems to have made little to no difference. No midas touch there. Today, the buildings are dilapidated and it has become a poster child for the city's nuisance patrol.

The recently approved TIF district is hoped to spur accelerated growth and development in the newly approved Event Center economic bubble.  That couple from Cannistota has the same hope when they put their Burnside property on the market. This mayor believes the Event Center is the panacea for nearly everything economic in an area that has had no sustainable growth in decades.

It's like who comes first, the egg or the chicken. If we build it, they will come. The Event Center is supposed to be the catalyst for the economic boom in the Russell Street Corridor.  The creation of the TIF District is supposed to incentivize the developers. Time will tell. It sure would have been nice if there had been some economic growth activity out there before we decided to build the Event Center out there.

The mayor had no choice, he had to initiate the lawsuit against the Oaks Hotel owner. He is like the farmer that tries to get something to grow in an area that hasn't turned out a crop in years.

A hope and a prayer that something will happen in an area where nothing has happened for decades. Maybe money from the lawsuit can be put towards the EC debt.


  1. I still do not understand why a property owner must pretty up the property more than cut the weeds / grass growing. It is for sale, if the owner thinks it would sell better for more money, the owner should make the decision to make it pretty. If the property is causing a rodent problem, than the city should deal with the owner concerning the varmint problem. Its to bad if the neighbors don't like to look at the property in its current state. If they do not like it, they can buy it and make it pretty. The city can buy it and make it pretty.

    Right now the owner has made the property essentially safe and moderately clean. I see no need for the owner to spend money to make it prettier based on a third parties view of pretty.

  2. Huether also told the Moose Lodge they'd hit the jackpot, and in doing so now has them asking way more for their property than it's actually worth.

    Lipstick on a pig is an understatement.

  3. Sooooo, the Mayor believes that his word alone will supersede 50 years of evidence and jump start an economic boon in that corner of town? What business acumen! He must have broke his parents' hearts when he left them back on Krypton...