Project Updates and Community Impact
PROJECT TOUR | Orchard Meadows
Transcript: So, here we are at Orchard Meadows.
Orchard Meadows is a project that we started in 2013, almost 7 years ago.
Here, you can see how our original vision and master plan actually becomes a real living community and what evolves from that.
We started with a concept and a deal with the City of Rapid City for a land swap to take what that time was an unused campground. And, we looked at it – we had floodplain issues, we had wetland issues, we had access issues off the highway, and we looked at this, we evaluated the needs on the east side Rapid City, here and put together a mixed use master plan that included commercial, residential, and apartment uses.
Now, inside of this plan, we had many different components, which we worked with the City to do all sorts of different things, everything from a massive flood control project and wetland remediation project – which was a combination of the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA in which we remapped the floodplain. We worked to preserve the natural wetlands and actually increase what we had before to help maintain that healthy ecosystem and that natural filter as the storm water runs from all the way over to Elk Vale back here to just next to Rapid Creek. It runs through those natural wetlands, it has a natural filter to help keep that water clean, and help protect our natural fisheries and our great beauty that is Rapid Creek.
So, we worked through that. All of that project was encompassed in a large TIF which was in cooperation with the City of Rapid City, a true partnership in actually developing this whole thing out. It was accomplished a couple years ago.
We went through the entire process, we had the wetlands certified. They’ve actually went through their full certification process with the Army Corps now. They grew in in such a manner, that what usually takes 5 years, we were able to get accomplished in 2 years – actual wetland growth.
So, here we’ve got many commercial buildings on the north side of this property – we’ve got the Inferno, the Common Cents – huge, huge sales tax revenue generators. And, if you start to look on a boundary side of things, this is actual Rapid City boundaries here. We’ve got several other convenience stores located just within the county line on the other side here.
So, when you start thinking about how busy that gas station is, that convenience store, that restaurant, and all of those tax dollars, that’s Rapid City sales tax that’s being collected there and being distributed thoroughout the entire community.
That was one of the first buildings that we had built, and then we jumped through a series of other developments here where we built out the Great Plains Tribal Healthcare network building, the Garner Dental Offices, and here, recently, we just opened up the Signify Health building, which is a call center that we were able to relocate from the Airforce Base in Box Elder into Rapid City, bringing those high paying jobs and that excellent workforce here into town.
We’ve also got a few lots that have all been sold off, we’ve got apartments going up in the north, we’ve got another set of apartments that will be just starting here in a couple weeks, and, here in front of us we’ve got the townhomes, which is 102 townhomes that are actively under construction.
To our side here, we’ve got a lift station that we’re putting in. This was a secondary TIF that we recently had approved that would provide this infrastructure that would help keep this entire area growing. This lift station here was a necessity to get these townhomes and then even our future apartments, another 600 units that’ll happen just to the west of us here, too. So, this continued growth is all made by having this lift station as part of this project.
One of the really cool things about these TIF projects is we’re at a point now where this thing will pay off in just a matter of a couple of years. So, this TIF was started 5 years ago, we’ve probably got 2 more years which is going to far exceed what the projections were. That first phase of that TIF will be paid off ahead of schedule, and that’s one of the things that we as Dream Design do as a company.
We’re not going to leave a TIF sit open and then pray and hope that it pays off in time. No, we’re going to go out and we’re going to reinforce the buildings, we’re going to make sure that the buildings and the tax generators get constructed. We’re going to make sure that the property sells off, and that the TIF is successful and the project is successful.
Overall, we’ve got 100 single family homes, we’ve got 20 townhomes already constructed and occupied. As far as the single family lots, we are sold out in this subdivision as we speak. We’re still finishing up some of the construction, but as a success story, this is probably as good as it gets. In a matter of a few short years, we’ve been able to create room for another 2,500 people in just this one master planned development.
The roads were all built to a spec that was greater than what was required. We wanted to make sure that as we had all of this continued construction traffic through this subdivision, that we didn’t just put in the minimum quality of roads. We did things like add extra asphalt, we added extra base course, we put down extra street fabric to help create a more stable and longer lasting street, so that, once all of this construction is done, you still have a good road. You don’t end up with the pock marked, alligator roads that you can see in some of the other developments, and it’s led to continued growth throughout this entire area.
This development also features a long walking trail that has been a giant hit with the residents here. It gets used constantly. People make, it’s about a 2.1 mile loop that runs around this entire subdivision from one side to the other and it lets them take advantage of the natural wetlands that we created, it lets them take advantage of being right next to Rapid Creek and the views and all of the wildlife that travels that corridor. It also connects us right over to the Elks Golf Course, and then it runs around this entire community. So, that amenity has been huge and one of the things that we receive a lot of feedback on what people are looking for when they move to an area.
It was also vitally important when businesses like Signify were looking at this spot. They need a place for their employees to get out of the office and they want them to have a place to walk and actually get away from the hustle and bustle, say if they were in any other kind of industrial park or any other normal development, where you would have buildings, buildings, sidewalks and streets. This afforded their employees some actual open space, some great nature walks that they can enjoy during their lunch breaks or on their fifteen minute breaks and get them back into a mood or a mindset that helps them be more effective employees.
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