Lake Lorraine is getting ready to get a little cozier.
The development in west Sioux Falls is already a success as a shopping destination, with the opening of anchor stores HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby and most recently, DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse.
Now the development is swinging into work on a more intimate shopping and lifestyle area on the lake's southeast edge.
"It's going to be an exciting year on the east-side," said Steve van Buskirk, director of land development for Van Buskirk Cos. "The part that resonates with a lot of people is the phase we're getting into now."
Van Buskirk Companies, which is developing Lake Lorraine with Friessen Development, recently unveiled renderings it plans to take to an upcoming retailer show in May.
"We've got a lot of buzz going on a national level now, the reports are really good as far as these retailers coming out," Van Buskirk said. "'The word's getting out that things are going really well at Lake Lorraine.
"The people that were talking to us and interested in Lake Lorraine saying "well, we'll see how it goes,' they're now saying, 'let's book appointments.'"
Work is starting soon on one of the main buildings in the southeast corner of the development, what retail developers call a "lifestyle center" – usually a walkable mix of shopping, dining and more.
Van Buskirk said the center will feature smaller retail, specialty shops, boutiques and the like, as opposed to larger stores, and approximately 50-60 percent local retailers.
"Local retailers like to move a lot quicker to market than national retailers, so they need a building sitting there, ready for them as they get their concept ready to go," Van Buskirk said. "That's really what we're looking for, is getting that local retailer interested in what's going on around here and how to leverage and improve their business off of national anchor tenants that are bringing people to the site, with cars out there every day."
Construction should start this spring on the Aloft Hotel that anchors the southeast corner of the center. Meanwhile, Total Card Inc. continues construction of its new headquarters nearby, which will bring hundreds of employees to Lake Lorraine.
The design of the center is focused around making it a place where people can walk, shop, work, dine and relax. Lorraine Place will pull traffic through the center, which is designed with traffic-calming measures to slow vehicle speed and ease pedestrian traffic around the center.
A key goal is to make the lifestyle center walkable, to encourage people to get out of their cars and move around the center.
"There's nothing like people moving around," Van Buskirk said. "It just makes you feel like something's happening, that's a place you want to go because you can do people watching, spend a little time, and there are things to do."
The planned lakeside construction for the will feature spots for a couple of restaurants and retailers, centered on a plaza that divides two lake-shore buildings.
"All this energy is focused to this plaza, eventually, and making it a pleasant journey to get to that plaza," he said.
Van Buskirk said the plan is to take limestone rocks and build something of a cascading rock feature in the 10-foot fall to the lakeside – to give kids a place to play.
"Having gone through raising kids, if you can finish your dinner and let the kids go outside and just run around for a minute where they're safe, in a spot you can see them, and you can actually finish dinner and have five minutes with your spouse?" he said. "It's kind of a nice thing."
But in the meantime, Lake Lorraine is building out to that point and throwing open the door to potential retailers and restaurants.
"It's a 'who' and 'when,' definitely not an 'if.' There's a lot of interest," Van Buskirk said. "Everybody that comes to Sioux Falls thinking about building a restaurant, they're coming out here to take a look."
And with the pace of construction planned for this year, Lake Lorraine is going to come into shape. The next year will be transformative for the development, Van Buskirk said.
"It's going to look finished. A big chunk of it is going to look finished," he said. "It'll be just fun to see it in real life, to get it off these drawings and off the ground."