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The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

City election may bring Aldi, furniture retailer and more to Brookings

Greta Goede
Brookings Mayor Ope Niemeyer addresses the SDSU Students’ Association along with City Manager Paul Bresino at their regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.

A Brookings city election on Jan 30 will help determine whether a plot of land just off Interstate 29 will be developed into a future retail space.

The development that is envisioned as the Brookings Marketplace by city leaders and the company that wants to buy the land, would include an Aldi grocery store, a national furniture retailer, a fuel station, restaurants, and other retailers as well.

Paul Briseno, the Brookings City Manager is advocating for people to get out and vote on the development of this site.

“It’s important the citizens of this community and the students that go to SDSU will have alternatives for groceries, and additional retail for people to go to,” Briseno said.

Before the development can take place city voters must approve the sale of the land to Minneapolis-based Ryan Companies. The election was triggered when a group opposing the sale gathered enough signatures in December to force a public vote. A yes vote on Tuesday will allow the sale of land to Ryan Companies, a no vote will prevent it.

A story in the Brookings Register noted the group against selling the land argues the city isn’t getting enough money from the sale. It also noted that the petition began circulating after a 7-0 vote by the City Council in its Nov. 14 meeting to allow Ryan Companies to reduce the price of the Brookings Marketplace land it wanted to buy for development purposes from 18.53 acres to 10 acres for $1.40 per square foot. The amended sale totaled $609,840 whereas the original was in the ballpark of $1,130,000.

The Register reported that no one at the January 16 City Council meeting came out against the amended land sale plan.

Patrick Daly, the Vice President of Real Estate Development at Ryan Companies spoke at the January 16 City Council meeting about the development plan.

Ryan Companies hopes to develop the site in two phases.

“We believe once we frame up the first 10 acres of the project, that we will have a level of synergy and momentum there to carry onto the second phase,” Daly said.

One of the four sites will be an Aldi grocery store which 84% of residents who filled out a 2019 consumer survey said they wanted,” Briseno said.
Briseno thinks that if Ryan Companies can be successful in this plot of land, they may help with other developments in the city.

“[Ryan Companies] works with large businesses,” Briseno said. “In Sioux Falls they helped bring in Amazon. That’s the extent of their reach.”

City officials hope to bring in more national retailers to Brookings with the help of Ryan Companies. They are looking to develop areas for Brooking’s residents, SDSU students, and people who visit the community, Briseno said.

Brookings Mayor Opeke “Ope” Niemeyer spoke at Monday’s Students’ Association meeting about the benefits of the land sale.

Retail development like the proposed Brookings Marketplace helps the city generate more sales tax, Niemeyer said. The sales tax money helps the city pay for things like public works, public safety, parks, recreation, and forestry which is around 70% of the city’s budget.

Niemeyer said another benefit of the Brookings Marketplace is it would keep Brooking’s residents shopping in the city rather than traveling to places like Sioux Falls and Watertown, otherwise known as retail leakage. Having more options available will keep sales tax revenue in Brookings.

“We have a sales tax leakage,” Niemeyer said. “There’s $15,000,000 in retail leakage, take that there’s a 2% city sales tax, that’s quite a bit of revenue we don’t get, and services were not able to enhance.”

Early voting started on January 12. Any registered voter in Brookings can vote early or on election day Jan 30. Vote centers are at the Brookings Activity Center, Bethel Baptist Church, and the Holy Life Tabernacle Church.

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Greta Goede, Editor-In-Chief

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