While the essential goals of successful economic development have remained the same over the past decade in Sioux Falls—new jobs, increased capital investment and a growing workforce—the playing field has changed significantly. The projects the Development Foundation currently has under consideration are larger than typical projects of the past. Today, it is not unusual for us to see projects ranging in size from $300 million to $500 million in capital investment.
While we won’t close on all prospects, each is bigger in scope than all but the most transformative new company announcements of the past. Having larger sites available, especially developed land with rail service and excellent transportation links like the sites in Foundation Park, opens the door to larger corporate possibilities in the rapidly changing manufacturing and technology industries of today. Simply put, Sioux Falls has the size, the connectivity and the available land for mega-projects that could dramatically enhance our local economy.
Because of that potential, and because of the size of the projects we are dealing with, economic development in the Sioux Falls area has become a whole new ballgame. The stakes are high and possible return on our economic development investment could take our region to the next level of growth. And, as you might expect, with these larger projects come new challenges.
Mega-projects have a much longer lead time, often measured in years from the initial contact to the opening of a new operation in Sioux Falls. The larger the company location, the more due diligence is required, ensuring that all regulatory parameters are met. The process of locating a large project in Sioux Falls is complex, as state, county and local government and regional suppliers are consulted and involved in the completion of negotiations. Larger companies typically have more decision-makers weighing in, further extending the time to closing and the necessary information-gathering phase.
We’re seeing incredible interest by very large companies in the possibilities available in the top-rated business climate Sioux Falls offers. We’re optimistic about the future and working hard to get closer to a big league announcement.
By Slater Barr
There is better training for our workforce in Sioux Falls. A multitude of options are available to meet businesses' needs at the postsecondary level including city programs, state grants, technical training, and a new $50 million scholarship program for technical school students.Read More