Despite delay, city has high hopes for former President’s Plaza site
Hopes are high in Rapid City for the start of a construction project at the former President's Plaza site despite its delay due to COVID-19.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — It’s been in the making for the last 14 years.
First proposed in 2006, the site formerly known as President’s Plaza in Rapid City will include a multi-story, mixed-use building which also features a parking garage.
Sioux Falls based Lloyd Companies is in the planning phases with the city.
The biggest benefit? Downtown housing.
“We know that in order to take that next step, we’ve gotta have housing in downtown Rapid City that’s similar to other communities and cities our size that are growing,” said Tom Johnson, the President and CEO of Elevate Rapid City. “So housing’s the next big step.”
While the potential with housing is a big plus, there’s some question as to how that will be made possible.
Dan Senftner, the President and CEO of Destination Rapid City, who has been around the downtown area for over 30 years, including being a resident for 14 years, knows that those looking to live downtown have more issues than a delayed construction date.
“The two biggest demands for living downtown are a grocery mart and pharmacy,” Senftner said. “That’s what the biggest demands are, and we’ve talked to thousands of people in the summer here, literally over 30,000 and what’s needed is a grocery mart and a pharmacy.”
Senftner also said that a project like this has been brought up in the past, including a parking ramp that was in works in the late 1970s. He said the big issue facing people who are looking to live in downtown Rapid City is parking.
But, the issue doesn’t stop there.
Johnson says that grocery stores looking at the area are hesitant to come into downtown due to lower household income in the area. But he’s hopeful growth is on the way.
“This is just the beginning,” Johnson said. “We think there’s a demand for downtown housing for millennials, for baby-boomers, for tech workers if you will, somewhere in the range, and it depends which study you look at, but somewhere in the range of 400 to 1,000 units.”
Johnson is optimistic that incoming software business, which yields higher incomes, will raise the income average in the area, enticing those businesses to come to Rapid City.