Harrisburg is hot: At least seven developers working on projects

Feb. 26, 2018

This piece is presented by the Lincoln County Economic Development Association.

It feels like time is ticking down until a tidal wave hits in Mike McMahon’s office.

“I’m thinking in another month I’ll be buried,” said McMahon, Harrisburg city planning official.

“I’m looking forward to a very busy year.”

He has every reason to anticipate that. Starting last summer, a parade of developers to city planning kept growing.

“It just seemed to keep cascading,” he said. “It started with one, and all of a sudden there were four, and then there were six. By the middle of fall, we’d heard from all of these and were starting to sort through what they were proposing. It still amazes me every day when I see what’s going on.”

At 6,000 people and with land area approaching the southern boundary of Sioux Falls’ developable property, Harrisburg appears to have reached its next phase of growth.

More than a half-dozen developers are at work in town – more if partnerships are counted – and many are planning projects with more than 100 acres.

Mills Creek addition

Located on 120 acres on Harrisburg’s northwest side, the Mills Creek addition represents the first major development in Harrisburg for Sioux Falls-based Lloyd Cos.

The first phase, Sawyer Pointe Apartments, will open this spring next to Freedom Elementary. Ultimately, 156 apartment units are planned. Seventy-two will be built in the first phase.

“What we’re really excited about with that entire development area is the reconstruction of Minnesota Avenue, which will bring better access for commercial development,” said Erica Beck, vice president of development for Lloyd Cos.

“We’re envisioning a combination of commercial, single family and multifamily with green space incorporated on the north and south side of Tom Sawyer Trail,” she continued. “We’re working on a plan for single-family and twin home lots adjacent to Sawyer Pointe that could start as early as this summer.”

Harrisburg has significant opportunity to add services for its growing population, Beck said.

“We’ve seen interested already from businesses, but once Minnesota Avenue is completed and even under construction this year, I think we’ll start seeing more interest and can work with the community and city staff in moving that forward.”

Slack/Fink addition

South of Mills Creek and near Harrisburg High School, work is moving forward on Slack and Fink family-owned properties totaling about 16 acres combined.

“I’m guessing once the reconstruction of Minnesota Avenue takes place, the pace will pick up there,” McMahon said. “We think part of it will be multifamily. They’ve been good at sharing an engineer and looking at ways they can save each other money in sharing streets and utilities, and by doing that, they have brought the development cost down rather significantly. It’s a good template.”

Sioux Falls developer Jim Dunham has been involved with the project and said medium-density apartments are scheduled to break ground this spring.

“Harrisburg is a sister to Sioux Falls,” he said. “If they don’t want to live in Sioux Falls, they live here. In our lifetime, you’ll drive from Sioux Falls to Harrisburg and not know you left town.”

Creekside addition

Sioux Falls-based Signature Cos. is entering the Harrisburg market with a major development, too.

Located east of the Slack and Fink land and the high school, the Creekside addition is 160 acres, planned as a mix of “pretty much everything you can consider,” sales manager Jeremy Beaty said. ”Some single family, some multifamily apartment-style and town home units and some retail space and light commercial.”

Signature is finalizing the development plans and will start building streets once the weather allows, he said.

“We’ll probably start with single family and villa homes, and I know we have interest in some of the retail space already, so once we get commitments on that, we’ll start on that as well,” he said.

The homes will appeal to first- and second-time homebuyers he said, and the villas will be maintenance-free.

“Harrisburg is going to be a pretty big dive for us. It’s a big project and a lot of ground to cover, so we’ll focus quite a bit of attention on Harrisburg,” Beaty said.

“It’s just the timing. Sioux Falls is at a point where land costs are up, and Harrisburg is the next hot pocket as far as we’re concerned.”

Devitt Farm

The Devitt Farm addition has served as a catalyst for much of the development that is following it.

Located east of Cliff Avenue and east of the Creekside addition, the 90-acre property kicked off with a Fareway grocery store last year that has attracted more retail interest.

Ace Hardware is expected to open this spring, and other retail from boutiques to bars has opened in the area in the last year.

“Fareway and Ace Hardware is a huge shift for that community, to have those types of neighborhood services,” said Steve Van Buskirk, whose company is developing the Devitt addition.

“It’s a good spot to build that next, bigger house. It’s going to be really, really busy this year. It took awhile for the idea to soak in with people, but it has.”

Devitt includes single-family and villa-style homes.

“We’ve got two nice-size homes out there. One has 1,800 square feet on the main level,” Van Buskirk said. “We’re changing the dynamic out there.”

Dynamic Development Addition

In the northwest part of Harrisburg, 120 acres is under development. Watertown-based Dynamic Development is working on a plan for single-family and multifamily housing, commercial and light industrial.

Work started on grading last fall, “and we’re trying to figure out the best sewer connection,” McMahon said. “He wants to do contractor shops and should be able to start work on that in April.”

The developer “plans to put all utilities and streets in this year,” McMahon said. “Up against Cliff Avenue, he’s got a row of general business lots, and then behind he’s got some light industrial, and east of that is residential.”

Harvest Acres

Some of the last available acres in one of Harrisburg’s first growth additions also are filling in.

VanOverschelde Custom Homes is building multifamily units on about four acres on the west side of town, McMahon said, with foundations down for six-, seven- and eight-plexes and two four-plex buildings that just finished.

“And he’s talking about using the remaining land for possibly doing some more multifamily,” McMahon said.

Legendary Estates

Another early believer in Harrisburg also is filling in an existing development.

Kelly Nielson and KN Construction Inc. started building homes in Harrisburg in the 2000s. The company is based there and recently expanded its office in the community.

Nielson estimates he has built 350 homes with about 100 lots left in his Legendary Estates development, which is on the city’s east side.

Homes now range from $180,000 to $400,000.

“Buyers like that Harrisburg offers the small-town feel but is close to Sioux Falls,” he said. “Legendary Estates is its own little community, and it has been great to watch it evolve into a variety of prices from your first-time homebuyer to your move-up buyers.”

If all the development underway comes together, Harrisburg’s population could double, McMahon said.

The plan is to update a 2014 housing study next year to better help guide development.

“Pretty much all the developers are incorporating some multifamily in their development, which I like to see because then we’ve got a broad variety of housing types coming into the market,” he said.

“Our 2014 study said we were seriously short of multifamily. Pretty much everything fills up very quickly, so while we offer more variety than we did three years ago, I don’t know that we’ve satisfied the need yet.”

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Harrisburg is hot: At least seven developers working on projects

Don’t be surprised if Harrisburg sets records this year — the pace of development is unlike anything the community has experienced.

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