Developers working with potential tenants, announcement could come within month

By: Jodelle Greiner, The Brookings Register

Developers updated the Brookings City Council on progress at the Brookings Marketplace and what they’re doing to attract retailers to the site.

Steve Schwanke from Inland Development Partners of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and Michael Bender of Bender Companies of Sioux Falls addressed the council.

Schwanke said they were negotiating with a number of retailers to sign letters of intent to build at Brookings Marketplace. He did not name any specific businesses.

Councilor Mary Kidwiler asked about the letters of intent and what kind of businesses were in negotiations, mentioning that “shopping is kind of my hobby.”

Schwanke said he hoped to have an announcement within a month.

Councilor Holly Tilton Byrne mentioned the duo’s work at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention that brings together retailers and those wanting them to set up shop in their town. She wanted to know if Schwanke and Bender had approached any local entrepreneurs to move to Marketplace.

Bender said they’d been using most of their time to make contact with regional and national businesses because they need those big names to attract other retailers.

Tilton Byrne asked if they were planning to use permeable surfaces in the parking area. Schwanke said yes and that the storm water design is in the very early stage and they will continue to perfect it.

Councilor Nick Wendell asked what they’ve learned from the ICSC process and what they would change.

Bender said it’s important to remember that Brookings is just one of a thousand communities talking to those retailers. Bender can wait around 45 minutes to get just a five-minute conversation – and five minutes is considered a long talk.

“It’s a battle to get a retailer interested in a community,” he said, but adding retailers like what they see of Brookings.

In related business:

  • The council approved re-zoning Block 3 and 9 in the Wiese Addition from a Planned Development District to a Planned Development District with an underlying Business B-4 Highway District.

“The city entered into a development agreement with Bender Development team to develop the 26-acre former DOT site, as well as an option to redevelop the 5.8-acre site where the Research and Technology Center sits into a retail development,” according to an attachment to the agenda.

The re-zoning will provide flexibility, according to the attachment.

  • The council approved an initial development plan for the Marketplace property, which includes land uses; physical, environmental or design characteristics; maximum height and setbacks; design features; sub-area development sequence; parking and driveways; landscaping; signage and bike trail.

Contact Jodelle Greiner at

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