BROOKINGS – James Drew, vice president of Clark Drew Construction, gave an update on the Brookings Marketplace project to the Brookings City Council on Nov. 26, saying developers are in talks with a large retailer.
“We were actually scheduled today (Nov. 26) to meet in Brookings with a 40,000-square-foot retail user. I was hoping to update council tonight (Tuesday) on that meeting, but they needed to reschedule until tomorrow afternoon (Nov. 27),” Drew said.
Drew contacted the Register by email after he met with the retailer on Nov. 27.
“Our conversation went well,” he said. “We are gathering some additional information for them and will be in contact with them over the coming weeks.”
If a deal does happen, he did not expect it until after the holiday season.
The City of Brookings bought the property now known as Brookings Marketplace from the South Dakota Department of Transportation in March 2014 for $1.6 million. The 26-acre parcel of land – also known as the DOT property – is located in the northeast corner of Interstate 29 and Highway 14.
“An agreement was entered into with Brookings Marketplace LLC in December 2016 to develop the property with commercial intentions,” according to an attachment to a city council agenda in June, available on the city’s website.
The original agreement was to expire December 2018, but the city extended the agreement to April 1, 2019, and then to July 1, 2019.
Brookings Marketplace LLC requested an extension to July 1, 2021, to finalize the deals they are working.
The council granted the two-year extension in June, stressing that they wanted regular updates by Drew and Michael Bender, which was part of the original agreement.
Drew spoke to the council last week; Bender was unable to travel due to the snowstorm.
“We continue to actively promote the Brookings Marketplace,” Drew said.
He said in June that they had letters of intent from four junior box stores, but those stores wanted a large anchor store. Those junior boxes are still interested, he said at the meeting.
“We’ve had several smaller retailers – I’d identify them as 5,000- to 10,000-square-foot or smaller retailers – request information on the Marketplace property and we’re currently speaking with them on how to structure a land deal in the Marketplace,” he said.
He assured the council that their focus has been and continues to be large box stores and junior box stores.
He mentioned they are currently talking to the large retailer and if they get this retailer on board, it could move the whole project forward.
“What excites us about this user, is unlike the other junior box users, this user is not requiring co-tenancy. This means they would move forward without the other stores under contract,” he said.
“Our hope is that if we can get them under contract, this would likely move the needle for the other junior box users to fully commit to the Marketplace,” Drew said.
He said he could not disclose any more information about the retailers, but that city staff and the city manager have been briefed.
Councilor Leah Brink asked Drew to describe the types of marketing they have been using to promote the Marketplace.
“We’ve had several site development plans, and within that site development plan, it indicates the larger building pads that would warrant a larger box store,” Drew said.
They’ve attended the International Council of Shopping Centers and met with larger box retailers there. They have marketing brochures and are working with a broker out of the Twin Cities, who has relationships with the larger box retailers, as do Bender and his team in Sioux Falls, Drew said.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]