Businesses confident 2017 will bring growth

The headquarters at Lake Lorraine. (Jay Pickthorn/Argus Leader)
The headquarters at Lake Lorraine. (Jay Pickthorn/Argus Leader)

There are plenty of reasons Sioux Falls shouldn’t have had a record building year in 2016.

Uncertainty surrounded the presidential election for much of the year.

The state’s largest industry, agriculture, continued to lag.

The cost of construction, largely hit by labor shortages, went up.

Despite those headwinds, the city will still finish the year with close to $700 million in building activity. It marks the fourth consecutive record total.

As 2017 approaches, the mood among businesses is more confident, but the pipeline of new activity is not as full – at least for now.

“There’s a lot of optimism right now from businesses,” said Great Western Bank CEO Ken Karels. “That’s all based on the fact that they do expect growth to take off substantially next year.”

Barring an unexpected mega-project, however, the city is unlikely to break another record, said Mike Cooper, planning and building services director.

“We’re still expecting a solid year with a variety of projects in several sectors,” he said. “And the main activity area will be Lake Lorraine.”

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