City Councilor Responds to Termination of Village River Group Partnership
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- A partnership with the city of Sioux Falls to work on one of the biggest downtown projects ever is over. The city has announced it’s terminating its development agreement with the Village River Group.
From the beginning, City Councilor Theresa Stehly had concerns about the Village on the River project. She worried it would negatively affect taxpayers and did not support it.
“This thing was from the get-go was wrapped up in the wrong kind of packing and that’s what we were all trying to say, ‘let’s back off and reevaluate this.’ My colleagues just wanted to ramrod it through,” said Stehly.
Now she is not happy with the problems that have surfaced between the city and the developer, Village River Group. The city says it’s ending its partnership with them after they failed to make agreed-upon payments.
In December of 2017, the city partnered with Village River Group for the Village On The River project at 10th and Mall Avenue. It was slated to be a 15-story building with two hotels, restaurants, conference space, retail areas, and a parking ramp. Stehly thinks city council should have taken more time before going forward with the project.
“And to vet out the partners that we were partnering up with. This was a marriage between the citizens and these investors and I wanted to know who are the investors and they wouldn’t tell us and now it’s turning out that the investors apparently couldn’t come through,” said Stehly.
The city is still moving forward with the $21 million dollar parking ramp portion of the project. Stehly hopes the city will be able to pay for this without hurting the taxpayers.
“My concern is it’s going to be on the backs of every employer, employee and shopper downtown. That we’re going to raise the rates down there to pay for this and if that doesn’t cover it, we’re going to have to take money out of the second penny which is supposed to be used to take care of our streets,” said Stehly.
We reached out to the six city council members who approved the Village on the River project. They either did not get back to us or they referred us to the city attorney who we haven’t heard back from.