Project Updates and Community Impact

Construction on Box Elder Liberty Plaza project could start within 45 days, developer says

RAPID CITY, S.D. (RCJ) – Grading for the Liberty Center and plaza area may begin in the next 30 to 45 days, Hani Shafai, president of Dream Design International, said Friday.

Shafai said the 110-acre property will feature the 50,000-square-foot recreation Liberty Center along with a plaza, townhomes, single-family houses and mix-use buildings.

“One of the things for the center is an outdoor plaza right in the middle of the center of the community,” he said. “We’re putting a circle with outdoor activities like ceremonies for welcoming home some of the servicemen and for deployments.”

Shafai said the plaza may include artistic elements to help make it an inviting environment.

The plaza will be situated directly in front of the Liberty Center, which Gov. Kristi Noem asked the Legislature to invest a one-time $3.2 million in for its development.

Shafai said the center will be built with expansion in mind, including a possible aquatic center and more exercise and workout areas. In the end, the center could be as large as 106,000 square feet.

The center will cost about $12.6 million with $6.3 million coming from a Department of Defense grant. Pennington County’s Board of Commissioners will discuss a possible Tax Increment Finance district for the project at its Dec. 15 meeting.

Shafai said the privately funded development — which will feature 224 townhomes, 84 single family homes and about 400,000 square feet of retail and offices on the main floor of the plaza and three floors of loft apartments above — will cost about $110 million.

He said they’ve already had a few retailers and service-related industries express interest, including major health care providers.

Shafai said buildings will be outfitted with appropriate technology to complement the mission of Ellsworth Air Force Base. He also said the design of buildings and the plaza area are being developed with the pandemic in mind.

“We have to not just address the current situation, but we have to plan for future viruses that may come along, too,” he said.

Shafai said the Dream Design International team is working with landscapers, engineers, architects, Box Elder, Pennington County and the Ellsworth Development Authority on the project.

Construction on the center itself could begin as early as March 1 with completion planned for 2022.

Copyright 2020 RCJ. Published by Rapid City Journal on December 11, 2020. 


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