Flood plain acres eyed for retail development

By: 
Jill Meier, Journal editor
The concept layout for Brandon 90 Plaza. Image: JSA Engineers and Land Surveyors

 

Brandon 90 Plaza to add $50M-plus tax base

 

Fifty acres of land in a flood plain zone along Interstate 90 will be transformed into 26.7 acres of commercial development, along with 17 acres that will be dedicated to a public use lake.
Last week, Sioux Falls developer Darrel Viereck announced his yet-to-be-filed investment group, Brandon Plaza 90 LLC, closed on the 50-acre property two weeks earlier and next spring will begin groundwork preparations.
Viereck said discussions are taking place to bring an upscale six- to eight-screen movie theatre and arcade, fast food restaurant(s), a bank, hotel, convenience store(s), grocery store and possible community/event center to the development.
And there’s room for more, he said.
“I’ve got to believe that there’s going to be $50 million-plus tax base in there,” Viereck said. “Let me put it this way, if everybody that we’ve been talking to goes forward, we’re not going to have enough room for everybody in there. We can probably only handle three big users, and the big users we’re talking to could probably fit.”
Brandon Mayor Paul Lundberg is encouraged by the planned development.
“I think it’s just evidence that we’re on the cusp of bringing more and more retail business to Brandon,” he said. “It’s always good to hear there’s a new development coming in, and it will be exciting to see the opportunities there.”
Adds Viereck, “This is a time of thanksgiving. The table is set and Brandon people deserve this.”
Viereck has past history in Brandon’s commercial development. About 20 years ago, he was involved in the strip mall that houses McDonalds, Holiday Gas and The New Great Wall and the former bowling alley, which is now Celebrate Church.
“I’ve always liked Brandon but everybody was telling me that what I was trying to do wouldn’t work in Brandon, and so I got tired of hearing that and said I’m going to figure out what works in Brandon and I’m going to show that it will work in Brandon,” he said. “I think people will be amazed with what they see here, because we’re here to wow everybody and make it good for everybody, too.”
Viereck said it will likely be a year or two before any building begins. The first endeavor, he said, is to have the land annexed into the city and zoned for its intended use.
The first phase will involve environmental and soil testing, Viereck said.
“We’re going to engineer the fill in here so anybody coming in doesn’t have to prep their site. Whoever comes in there as a user, all of their due diligence is already going to be done. We can just hand them a packet and say, ‘Here, it’s all done’ and all they’ll have to do is get it through the city and start construction,” he said.
Twenty feet below the flood plain acres is bedrock, Viereck said. The lake, which will be all sand bottom, will be 18 feet deep and stocked with fish, will feature a one-mile trail around its perimeter, may include a future park, and connect to the golf course.
The movie theatre, Viereck explained, will mimic a multi-screen theatre that’s currently underway in Worthington, Minn. The city of Worthington is putting up the theatre, which they will lease out.
Viereck’s development group also envisions a community/event center that could potentially involve the city and school district, for example.
“Everybody can be a part of what’s going in there,” he said. “From what the mayor says, that’s the first thing that everybody started asking him when he got into office is ‘When is Brandon going to get an events center or a community center,’ and so I know it’s out there.”
The city of Brandon is in the process of doing a space needs study for City Hall. 
“If we build an events center or a community center, they could put City Hall, the Chamber, the museum, the development foundation there,” Viereck encouraged. The police department, he said, could take over the current City Hall space.
The current lift station, Viereck said, would be relocated to the south edge of the property to make way for the events center and hotel, which would be positioned next to the lake to take advantage of the view.
“It’s going to be upscale,” Viereck promises, “with lots of trees and lighting.”
The lake will also serve as a detention pond for the development with the construction of a four-bay detention system. 
“You have to slow the water and detain it, not retain it,” Viereck explained, “so the water is cleaned before it goes into the systems, the rivers and creeks.”
Although the city of Brandon is working to adopt Best Management Practices (BMPs), Viereck said the Brandon 90 Plaza would follow the federal mandated guidelines. 
“We will be a regional BMP so everybody that buys land in here will have useable square footage; they don’t have to do that on their site,” he said. “The reason we’re getting it (the land) out of the flood plain on the west end is because we’re creating storage on the east end).”
To achieve that, 450,000 yards of sand will be moved from the east side of the property to the west side.
Brandon 90 Plaza LLC will also own and maintain the roads, which will be 39-feet wide.
“This is going to be something that anybody driving by on the interstate is going to go, ‘Wow, what is that?’” he said.
Viereck said former investors had the 50-acre parcel under contract the last two years and two weeks ago it was purchased by Brandon 90 Plaza LLC. 
The new investor group, he said, brings a strong financial backing to the project.
“They’re willing to build anybody’s building in there and lease it to them,” he said. “If they can pay the rent, they can get in there with no money down with an option to buy down the road.”
The development group is optimistic that businesses in the Brandon 90 Plaza will capitalize off the daily traffic that passes by Brandon on Interstate 90 and Splitrock Boulevard/Highway 11. A South Dakota Department of Transportation traffic study shows that 25,200 vehicles travel west and 17,400 vehicles head east on a daily basis. Splitrock Boulevard sees an average of 13,300 vehicles per day and projects it will realize 23,500 vehicles per day by 2045.
“It’s going to happen. The money is there and we’re here to help whoever wants to get in there one way or another,” Viereck said.
About the same time construction gets underway on the Brandon 90 Plaza, work will begin on the 406 Exit and bridge. Viereck said traffic will be better controlled with the new diverging diamond interchange and addition of a traffic light at the development’s entrance. 
Viereck is no stranger to large-scale developments. He was involved with two separate developments in Sioux Falls, the first at 26th and Marion, and the other two at 69th and Minnesota and 57th and Cliff. The latter two developments were buffered by offices.
“The people that live there loved it enough that they came to City Hall to fight for our zoning, because offices are open 8 to 5, no weekends and no nights,” he said.
Viereck is the contact for anyone with an interest in the Brandon 90 Plaza. He can be reached at (605) 366-3100. 
 
 
 
 
 

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