• Cultural amenities, public parks
• Low unemployment
• Diverse economy

• Aging infrastructure and buildings
• Managing sprawl
• Maintaining “inner ring” of historic neighborhoods

Current population: 235,300 in the metro area, with 2,0003,000 more moving in each year. December 2010 unemployment: 4.9%. The city was ranked No. 11 on Parenting’s 2010 list of best family cities, and No. 77 on Money’s 2010 list of best small cities.

“This is a fabulous place to raise a family,” asserts Dan Hindbjorgen, vice president of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. “When we recruit businesses or when local businesses recruit new people, they love it.”

The median home sale price was $147,500 for the third quarter of 2010.

“We do have extra supply of residential properties for sale and extra commercial space that is available,” says Sean Ervin, AIA, a principal in TSP’s Sioux Falls office. “This availability has led to fewer construction starts, which does impact everyone.”

Total office market: 12.6 million s.f., of which 14.84% was vacant in mid-2010, with an average asking rate of $10.95/s.f. Commercial building permits increased 10% in 2010.

“Many projects are awaiting funding, while others are moving forward in order to take advantage of the lower construction prices,” notes Mark Aspaas, AIA, vice president of local firm Architecture Incorporated. “Public work seems to be moving forward more rapidly than private work—again, the result of financing.” Locals are considering several major projects, including an events center, a branch library, and an amateur sports venue. Adds Hindbjorgen: “It’s unfortunate when government is spending all the money, but they are investing.”

“The economic slowdown started later, was shallower, and may finish sooner than in most of the rest of the country,” says Jeff Hazard, CEO of local firm Koch Hazard Architects. “This year will likely see a gain in building permits over 2010, with more substantial improvement coming in 2012. Over the next five to 10 years, Sioux Falls will see … a growing higher education presence, including the development of the new Department of Architecture at South Dakota State University, continued healthcare system expansion, and continued downtown development.”