Startup Sioux Falls continues progress on new downtown location


The local entrepreneurial community has been buzzing with anticipation for the new downtown location of Startup Sioux Falls, which was announced earlier this year

To recap, the organization will relocate from the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship to the historic Milwaukee Freight Depot building at 100 E Sixth Street, previously the home of the Parks and Recreation Department office.

Thanks, in part, to a generous $1 million gift from local philanthropist and MarketBeat founder, Matt Paulson, renovations began on the historic building in May. After moving out of the Zeal Center at the end of June, the Startup Sioux Falls team has been working remotely, which they plan to continue until construction is complete in Q4 of 2022.

Partial demolition complete

“We’re planning to gain access to the space around the holidays, in order to open to the public in Q1 of 2023,” said Brienne Maner, executive director of Startup Sioux Falls.

Maner noted that the historic nature of the project was part of the reason Startup Sioux Falls selected Koch Hazard Architects as their design partner.

“Koch Hazard has a track record of doing historic work, and that really contributed to our design approach,” she said. “We want to shed the layers as much as possible and let the building speak for itself.”

Beyond the physical bones of the building, the Startup Sioux Falls team appreciates the building’s history as a freight depot and how that connects to the spirit of entrepreneurship. 

“At the time, this would have been a really important building for businesses in the community,” said Sara Lum, director of marketing and operations at Startup Sioux Falls. “We’re excited to see a historic building reactivated, especially by such an energetic group of people—entrepreneurs and creatives are the types of people who move our community forward.” 

Historic Milwaukee Freight Depot

At this point, most of the plans for the building are already developed, in terms of design and renovations. Startup Sioux Falls is working with Journey Construction for its construction needs, but Lum says there are still logistical things to figure out and final decisions to be made about furniture, technology, art, and more.

The building footprint is small, but the project has been complex to execute as the team seeks to collaborate with multiple community partners and balance the diverse programmatic uses of the space. Startup Sioux Falls has had the assistance of many partners, from Koch Hazard and Journey, to the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, the City of Sioux Falls and a relocation committee made up of Startup Sioux Falls’ board members. 

The organization is especially grateful for Paulson’s leadership and generosity, which kicked off funding for the capital campaign. 

Keeping that momentum going is high on executive director Brienne Maner’s agenda. 

“We’re making progress towards it, but we still have quite a ways to go,” Maner said. “We are looking for people who are passionate about supporting entrepreneurs and spurring economic development.” 

Lum emphasizes that fiscal responsibility is key to the successful execution of this project. 

“Budget is always a challenge, especially in today’s environment with supply chain issues and building costs continuing to go up. We had to be very clear about the goals of the project and make decisions around those priorities,” she said. 

Brienne Quote

Ultimately, there’s a lot to be excited about in this new stage of the Startup Sioux Falls community. We asked the staff, including Maner, Lum, Peter Hauck, Jeff Hayward and Barb Glazier, to share what they’re most looking forward to in the new space. Check out what they had to say: 

  • Brienne Maner:

    "Our new space will not only lend itself well to fostering an intimate and encouraging atmosphere for founders to support one another; it also offers our team the opportunity to further establish community relationships with the downtown neighborhood and our city and economic development partners. The central and highly visible location provides more inclusive access for those who have challenges accessing transportation or simply were not aware of our services."

  • Sara Lum:

    "This move is about more than our organization and the individual founders we serve; this space will gather the innovative thinkers in Sioux Falls under one roof to solve problems and move our community forward."

  • Peter Hauck:

    "Our new building downtown will be the only space in Sioux Falls that is filled with founders every single day, and I can't wait for an atmosphere like that to exist in our community."

  • Jeff Hayward:

    "I can't wait for Startup Sioux Falls and our entrepreneurial ecosystem to have a headquarters in the heart of our city. As our community grows, the Depot will become the first stop for resources and support on every founders’ journey."

  • Barb Glazier:

    "I look forward to interacting with and supporting our community in our downtown space; the founders we work with are creative, energetic, and a joy to be around."

If you’re interested in learning more about partnering with Startup Sioux Falls to contribute to the capital campaign, reach out to Brienne Maner at [email protected]

Also, we are having a moving sale! Stop by the Zeal Center from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM Thursday, July 14th to see what we have available and score some great pricing on everything from computer cables to cubicle walls.

Just 10 spots left in the Founders Club! Join the Founders Club today to get in on the ground floor of Startup Sioux Falls’ new community downtown.