New Plans Announced At Site Of Building Collapse

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – It’s been 9 months since the former Copper Lounge collapsed in downtown Sioux Falls. Since then, the lot where it stood has sat empty. Soon that will change.

Lewis Drug, Sanford and Pave are all partnering to rebuild the property; and Downtown Sioux Falls says the new addition will help the city move forward from tragedy.

Fenced up, and lined with red ‘danger’ tape, the scene at 10th and Philips, “it’s a little bit of a sore spot,” says Downtown Sioux Falls Vice President, Brienne Maner.

It can easily take those walking by back to December 2nd, when the building that stood here came crashing down. Two people were trapped in the rubble. One made it out. Construction worker Ethan McMahon did not.

“Ethan McMahon’s legacy is going to live in downtown Sioux Falls no matter what,” says Maner. “We want to move forward and I know his family is very supportive of that as well.”

As the city continues to heal, a new project at the property is starting from scratch. On the first floor will be a 5,200 sq. ft. Lewis Drug Store and an 800 sq. ft. Sanford Acute Care Clinic.

“We don’t have medical services in downtown Sioux Falls currently, or pharmaceutical services so these are huge amenities,” says Maner. “With a growing residential population especially, we have nearly 2.300 people living downtown, it’s a definite need for us.”

The second level will be a 6,000 sq. ft. indoor/outdoor expansion to PAve, the bar and restaurant next door.

“They’ll be some comfortable furniture, some fire pits, we’ll actually have a three-seasoned type area as well that will have pool tables, foosball tables and dart boards,” explains General Manager John Geiken.

This will be the first rooftop bar on Philips Avenue.

“Maybe you want to be on the second floor and don’t necessarily want to be dancing,” says Geiken. “This is your area that you can catch the game, sit down and mingle with people.”

Geiken says plans to expand began before the building collapse.

“It was a little different design with what we’re going with now,” he says.

Since McMahon was also an employee at the bar, Geiken says getting back to planning hasn’t been easy.

“Ethan was a big part of us, and I don’t think that is ever going to be forgotten at all,” he says.

But it marks a fresh start.

“It just adds another piece to beautiful downtown,” says Geiken. “Philips Avenue is known for having things going on, there are different businesses that attract people and I just feel this is going to help.”

McMahon’s Family released a statement on the announcement, saying “we appreciate being included in the planning of this project and believe it will be a great addition to downtown Sioux Falls.”

Construction has already begun, and the project is expected to be completed in spring 2018.

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