Raven cleared to demolish downtown property

Feb. 19, 2019

Raven Industries has been given approval to demolish a cluster of buildings it owns at 101 E. Sixth St.

The Sioux Falls City Council voted unanimously to allow the demolition to proceed.

Raven plans to initially turn the property into a parking lot, which will support the needs of its adjacent headquarters building.

“Over the past few years, Raven has been growing — both financially and in the number of team members we employ,” Lisa McElrath, communications manager, said in a statement. “As we plan for continued success, this project to enhance our downtown campus will allow us to overcome the parking challenges associated with this positive growth.”

The company anticipates the project, which will add almost 100 parking spaces to its downtown campus, will begin in early summer and be completed before the end of the year.

“The city of Sioux Falls continues to make great improvements along Phillips Avenue,” Tim Audus, Raven’s corporate facilities manager, said in a statement. “Raven shares that same passion and commitment to downtown Sioux Falls. In the same manner of care that we took during the renovations of our headquarters building, Raven has designed this project to complement the continuous beautification efforts in this historic area.”

The structure that will be demolished has been expanded over time. The oldest part dates back to 1940 and was originally a Montgomery Ward & Co. farm store. It remained open until 1968 and was acquired by Raven as a temporary manufacturing plant the following year. Goodwill Industries leased it by 1971, and it remained there until the mid-1990s. An addition was constructed in 1978.

Raven subsequently used it for a variety of purposes, most recently for storage. It has been empty, however, for more than three years.

Because part of it is considered to hold historical value that may have contributed to the Old Courthouse Historical District, demolition requires city approval.

“The DAC has simply aged out,” Raven said in a statement provided to the city. “It has reached the end of its life, and it is time to put her to rest. The DAC building does not present itself in a way that will allow Raven to reuse the existing structure.”

The building is dilapidated and unsalvageable, the company said, meaning that it does not contribute to the historic district in any way other than its age.

The longer-term plan is expected to include a new building of some sort. A report to the city’s historic preservation board described it as a mixed-use structure that could include retail, offices, a parking ramp and residential units.

“The removal of this facility will allow Raven to highlight a very historical site to the city of Sioux Falls while continuing to expand its presence in the downtown market,” Raven’s statement said.

The State Historic Preservation Office questioned in January whether enough alternatives had been explored and said removing the building would “chip away at the overall integrity and history” of the historic district.

The city, however, can decide to issue the demolition permit if it feels there are no reasonable or prudent alternatives.

The Sioux Falls historic preservation board voted 5-3 in favor of allowing demolition to proceed.

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Raven cleared to demolish downtown property

Raven Industries has been given approval to demolish a cluster of buildings it owns at 101 E. Sixth St.

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