Sioux Falls Sports and Entertainment District’s ‘boom’ has been a bust

The Denny Sanford Premier Center

It’s high time to declare a loss on the so-called Sports and Entertainment District.

I’m guessing there is a group of people who would prefer you forget the term altogether. I, myself, have not. And I am painfully reminded of that every time I drive to or through the area surrounding the campus that is home to the Premier Center, Sioux Falls Stadium, Howard Wood Field and the Arena. This is a unique little part of town, to say the least. Shoe-horned into an area bounded by the Covell Lake, the airport, and the original industrial park, it’s mostly comprised of commercial businesses interspersed with a few pockets of residential housing.

At one point, the area was practically a gateway to Sioux Falls. West Russell was the main artery between the interchange of Interstates 29 and 90 and downtown. With the airport nearby, as well, the area was full of hotels, restaurants, and cafes to greet travelers or provide a respite for those with long layovers or cancelled flights. And, with places like the Time Out, Casa del Rey, a seafood restaurant that was not Red Lobster, and even a comedy club at what was then the Airport Holiday Inn, there were reasons to venture over to the area, even if there was nothing going on at the Arena.