- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A $20 million expansion of a senior living community in Sioux Falls can move forward after the Sioux Falls City Council overrode the disapproval of historic preservation groups.

Touchmark at All Saints has a former 130-year-old boarding school as its main feature. It plans a 110,000-square-foot addition to include 31 memory-care units, 60 independent-living units, and a health and fitness center, the Argus Leader newspaper reported (https://argusne.ws/1J3i5n6 ).

Touchmark’s original proposal was for a four-story structure with a quartzite stone facade. The Sioux Falls Board of Historic Preservation said the project would have an adverse effect on the All Saints Historic District because of the choice of building materials, its scale and its nearness to the original school.

Touchmark made changes to the building materials, reduced the number of proposed apartments and moved the addition from 25 feet away to 40 feet, but the local preservation board and the State Historic Preservation Office still objected.

The All Saints Historic District is the largest of the five historic districts in Sioux Falls and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has more than 240 properties, 27 of which are deemed “exceptional landmarks,” with the former boarding school built in the 1880s as its anchor, according to the city. Some of the Sioux Falls’ most prominent early architects and builders lived in the district.

Residents and neighbors of the district say Touchmark saved the historic building by renovating it and helped revitalize the area.

“We have a castle in our neighborhood,” Tom Schnabel said. “Fifteen years ago it was full of mice and pigeons.”

George Hamilton urged the City Council on Tuesday to “preserve the jewel,” saying Touchmark is “a good neighbor and a positive contributor.”

The council decided Touchmark had done everything possible to minimize harm to the historic property.

“I would think Touchmark has been very prudent, more than prudent in its approach,” Councilman Rick Kiley said.


Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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