Several Spearfish developers have come together to form Two Bar T Ranch LLC and have proposed a $210M development, called Dakota Meadows, that would be located near I-90 and Highway 85’s intersection at Exit 10 in Spearfish, reports the Black Hills Pioneer.
The development plans include an indoor hockey arena, a 322,000 square foot outdoor lifestyle shopping center, three hotels and restaurants, an outdoor sports complex, a furniture store, a school, a travel center, and 400-500 acres of home sites. Supporters of the development hope that this kind of addition to Spearfish would bring more people to the area, as well as opportunities for state athletic events and large conferences and trade shows.
Spearfish Mayor Dana Boke says that many of the details have yet to be decided on, and that the City of Spearfish will be beginning studies on the feasibility of the project. She also emphasized the importance of Spearfish’s downtown to the area and hopes that the proposed development would not provide negative competition that could damage downtown businesses.
A 2013 analysis of retail spending in Spearfish showed that the city lost nearly $220M yearly from people choosing to shop out of town, demonstrating the need for new retail businesses. A 2014 GreenPlay LLC study showed that Spearfish is also in need of more sports fields and facilities. The outdoor shopping center would either feature brands not found in South Dakota or be made into an outlet mall featuring well-known brands. The Termesphere Gallery would also be relocated to this shopping center, to better feature Spearfish-based artist Dick Termes.
As for the indoor hockey arena, developers have already contacted the North American Hockey League and have heard from a team owner interested in bringing a team to Spearfish. Yankton built a similar arena and was able to pay off the $1M costs in 9 years using funds from their popular $5 skate nights. Spearfish has also reached out to the South Dakota High School Activities Association about the possibility of hosting state athletic tournaments.
The inclusion of a school within the Dakota Meadows development is also intriguing to the Spearfish School District, which has seen increased enrollment in previous years. Dave Peters, Spearfish Superintendent, says the district has been looking into several options for expansion, including the new development, but has reservations about making large a large commitment without assurance that the student population will continue growing.
Funding for the development would come from private investment, with expectations for a business improvement district (BID), tax incremental financing districts (TIFD) and P3 financing. A Sales Tax Increment Financing District would mark sales tax generated by development to help fund construction and further improvements to the area.