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Sioux Falls looking at record year for permits

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Sioux Falls is having a record year for building activity, issuing $524.3 million in construction permits.

That surpasses the previous mark set in 2007, and city planning director Mike Cooper predicts a $550 million finish for the year and a potential repeat in 2014, the Argus Leader reported.

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Michael Neal, senior economist for the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Home Builders, said unemployment in South Dakota was only half the national average during the recession, and that the housing bust and foreclosures were softer than in Sioux Falls than in other places.

Communities across the Upper Midwest seem to be doing better than the national average, but "Sioux Falls especially seems to be outpacing all of them," he said.

Housing in Sioux Falls is also seeing an uptick. About half of the $524.3 million in Sioux Falls is new single-family and multifamily residential construction, including $40 million in home remodeling and additions.

"It really reflects that we're not just pushing development in one area of the city, and we're not just pushing one kind of development," Cooper said. "It's really across the board."

Sioux Falls officials said the construction of the Highway 100 loop around the east and south sides of the city should lead to more residential, retail and commercial development.

Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether said restaurants and hotels will rise from the landscape around the new events center. And despite ongoing controversy with Wal-Mart's desire to open a store in the south part of town, "we're confident that it wants to build a superstore somewhere," he said.

Sanford Health System has said it wants to build a new cancer center, and Sam's Club is looking for a site on the east side.

"Can we imagine any other city across America that wouldn't want to trade places with Sioux Falls today?" Huether asked.

Cooper said he's not sure if the city will set another record next year, but that "we're looking good into the future. Growth looks good. I don't know how you can help but be excited about that."