North Cliff Avenue slowly adding new businesses, development plans

Feb. 4, 2019

By Rob Swenson, for SiouxFalls.Business

North Cliff Avenue, one of the oldest and quirkiest commercial strips in Sioux Falls, is undergoing a slow transformation.

Changes are most evident on the busy, 1.2-mile strip of Cliff between Benson Road and Interstate 90. In addition to being a convenient food, fuel and sleep stop for highway travelers, the North Cliff corridor is a sales and service area for some of the blue-collar industries that have helped build Sioux Falls into a regional hub.

Fast-food restaurants, convenience stores and motels are complemented by several truck and machinery dealerships and related service businesses, including mobile home and boat dealerships. Other retail and service businesses include a construction office, bank, hardware store, restaurants and a church.

The stretch of Cliff Avenue that runs south from I-90 is a pathway to some of the city’s longest-standing business and civic anchors, including the Smithfield Foods meat-processing plant and Falls Park.

Improvements to the roadway were made in 2012-13. Current city traffic counts indicate that about 13,500 vehicles a day pass through the stretch between 54th Street North and 60th Street North.

“It’s a very unique corridor in that it’s historically developed more industrial with warehouses and dealerships rather than commercial,” said Mike Cooper, the city’s director of planning and development services. “Unlike some of the other arterial streets, commercial development has been more sporadic.”

The biggest project underway along or near the corridor is the development of a series of warehouse and office buildings west of Love’s Travel Stop and next to United Rentals’ new facility. Construction has started on the first warehouse — a 120,000-square-foot complex that’s being built on speculation. The building is expected to be available for use in June.

4 Suns LLLP of Fargo purchased 30 acres between I-90 and 60th Street North  for the warehouse development. The company envisions construction of four or five buildings within about five years, said Levi Arneson, project manager for 4 Suns. Olaf Anderson Construction is the builder.

Arneson is in business with three brothers and their father. They have developed several warehouses in the Fargo area.

“We’ve done well in Fargo, and we’ve always wanted to dip our toe in Sioux Falls. It’s kind of a sister city to Fargo,” Arneson said.

Developing spec buildings positions 4 Suns to immediately serve businesses such as distribution companies that start in Sioux Falls and need space, he said.

“We feel that property is great,” Arneson said. It is visible from the interstate, has easy access for truck traffic and is close to the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, he said.

The company is making a big commitment to Sioux Falls, said Troy Fawcett, president of NAI Sioux Falls. Fawcett is helping 4 Suns find tenants for the new buildings. The property will be appealing to any business that deals with logistics, Fawcett said. “We might be surprised at what comes to the table,” he said.

Other corridor changes

Several other changes have taken place or are unfolding along the North Cliff corridor. The changes include:

  • Jacky’s Restaurant has opened in a former Taco Bell site at 3808 N. Cliff.
  • A former convenience store and gas station at 3900 N. Cliff, adjoining Marlin’s Family Restaurant, closed. The property is on the market and is expected to be redeveloped for a new use, but no plans have been announced yet.
  • The former DMI-Terex property at 4000 N. Cliff has been sold to Ace Towing,
  • The former Soundz building at 4001 N. Cliff is on the market.
  • The Dorso building at 4520 N. Cliff has been sold. Catco Parts & Service, the former tenant, relocated.
  • The former Perkins Restaurant at 5304 N. Cliff closed. The property, which is next to I-90, was sold to the state.

Mark Luke of Mark Luke Cos. has the former Soundz building listing, and he has had discussions about the property.

“There used to be a ton of listings (on North Cliff). It made people nervous because there were so many of them. But that’s changed quite a bit,” Luke said.

Nick Gustafson, a partner at Bender Commercial Real Estate Services, assisted in the sale of the Dorso building. He’s not sure how the owner will use the property.

Gustafson sees the gradual transition of the overall corridor as a positive sign. He expects the next decade to bring a lot more changes. The area might be hard to recognize in another decade, he said.

“I think North Cliff has tremendous potential. The challenge has been that a lot of the buildings were built in the ’70s and ’80s and are functionally obsolete,” he said. “Some of these buildings will transition to new buildings and new uses, and some of them will be torn down.”

Significant changes are playing out near the corridor that also could influence the future of the area. Citi, for example, is transitioning from a multibuilding campus in northern Sioux Falls to a new building in the city’s southwestern corner.

The infrastructure of North Cliff has been updated, and there is room along the street for additional businesses, Cooper said. He expects “scattered redevelopment” to gradually update the corridor but for the strip to remain largely industrial in nature.

“That’s not a negative. We need locations that we can provide to those larger industrial businesses,” Cooper said.

Gregg Brown, managing director at NAI Sioux Falls, also expects the business makeup of the area to remain largely the same, even though a lot of property along the corridor has been for sold or leased to new entities.

“At the end of the day, I don’t think the landscape will change too terribly much,” he said. “North Cliff is still North Cliff.”

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North Cliff Avenue slowly adding new businesses, development plans

North Cliff Avenue, one of the oldest and quirkiest commercial strips in Sioux Falls, is undergoing a slow transformation.

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