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SD's largest cities enjoy construction boom

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- South Dakota's two largest cities are enjoying construction booms after the economic downturn slowed building for several years. Ron Bell, chief building official for Sioux Falls, told KELO-TV the city has issued nearly $200 m...

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- South Dakota's two largest cities are enjoying construction booms after the economic downturn slowed building for several years.

Ron Bell, chief building official for Sioux Falls, told KELO-TV the city has issued nearly $200 million worth of building permits so far this year, about double the amount issued at this time last year. An additional $95 million of projects are planned that have not received building permits yet, he said.

"We're really taken off this spring with a lot of commercial projects," Bell said.

Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker said his city is in the middle of a resurgence of residential development. The Rapid City Journal reports that the city has issued 333 residential building permits worth about $31.4 million through March 31. All last year, the city approved permits for 405 units worth $65.7 million.

"We are on pace to far surpass even last year, which was a record in recent memory," Kooiker said.

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Kooiker said construction has been boosted this year by apartments, including the second phase of an apartment project at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

In 2010 and 2011, Rapid City had nearly $34 million in residential construction each year.

In Sioux Falls, Bell said the construction surge is not only in commercial projects, but also in apartment buildings and new homes.

Developer Steve Van Buskirk of Sioux Falls said federal incentives and low interests rates are helping to fuel the building boom.

"We're glad to have the storm over. It has been a long four years. We're really on a good track," Van Buskirk said.

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