130 Acres Over 15 Years.
The 130-acre development known today as Lake Lorraine was originally five different parcels of land that Warren Friessen acquired over 15 years. The first piece of land purchased in the 1970s was 55 acres in the center of the current parcel. These 55 acres were used as a source of gravel for Interstate 29. The next purchase was 40 acres along Marion Road. Warren then bought the homestead, followed by 3 acres to the west. Finally, in 1989 Warren purchased the 36 acres adjacent to I-29, finishing off the Lake Lorraine space.
A Westside Treasure.
Warren Friessen, owner of Friessen Construction Company, was always searching for base materials for new westside construction projects. This property was very close to all the development happening in and around The Empire Mall area. The excavated sand was used for many commercial projects in western Sioux Falls, including: Target, Empire East, Billion Automotive on 41st Street, Shopko, Red Lobster and Sioux Falls Ford (which has now moved north of the Lake Lorraine development). The remaining gravel from this site was used to re-construct Marion Road from a rural two-lane section of road to a three-lane highway in 1987. In 2006, Friessen Development improved Jeannie Drive in conjunction with the development of the Lowe’s site. Today, the street is named Lake Shore Boulevard.
The Lake Becomes Reality.
The lake property was ideal for the construction company and Warren always envisioned a finished lake community, working the land with the lake in mind. It took 15-20 years to excavate and shape the lake, hauling 750,000 yards of sand out of the “Terry Pit” (as it was referred to by Friessen Construction employees) — that’s the equivalent of 75,000 truckloads of sand!
Lake Lorraine is a clear water lake on the Skunk Creek aquifer — it’s spring fed. The lake level fluctuates five feet from the high water to the low water mark, depending on local rainfall and weather, averaging 17 feet deep in the middle with a pure sand bottom. The sand strip extends 50 feet in depth and terminates at the bedrock level of quartz rock. The material was analyzed and revealed small particles of gold and silver exists throughout the sand. Ninety percent of the lake was dug out by one man, Duane “Squeak” Fanebust. He ran an old Lima Dragline day after day, month after month for almost 20 years. The dragline squeaked when he used it, which is how he got the nickname.
Moving Toward Something Bigger.
Friessen Lake was the unofficial name of the lake before the Friessen family named it Lake Lorraine in 2001. The name Lorraine is the middle name of Warren’s late wife, Hilda, as well as a granddaughter and great-granddaughter, and has special meaning for the family.
The concept of a lake in the city of Sioux Falls was always an idea, but how to efficiently utilize the land surrounding the lake experienced several concepts. The first concept was a gated community with lake-front homes. The second idea was designed in early 2000s for a high-rise condo/multiple house development. During this time, Friessen Development, Inc. started marketing the idea of Lake Lorraine and designing buildings. When the 2008 recession hit, the company postponed the project yet again on the development of the 130-acre parcel.
Friessen Development Partners with VanBuskirk Companies.
In 2014, Friessen Development partnered with another family-owned local business, VanBuskirk Companies, to promote a multi-use location with commercial, office and multi-family homes in a pedestrian-friendly development. With additional expertise and manpower, the project is off and running, drawing in locally-owned retailers, unique restaurants, upscale office spaces, national retailers and more. The first building opened along Marion Road in 2014. Westside Chiropractic Center and The SandBar and Grill were two of the first tenants. Additional buildings were constructed on Marion Road on the west side of the lake, with additional stores opening on the east side of the lake in 2016-17. Additional retailers, restaurants and employers continue to make this lifestyle center their home.
A Dream Come True.
Since developing the property in 2014, several adults who grew up on the westside of Sioux Falls confessed to sneaking onto the property to ride bikes, swim or fish during their childhood and are excited to see the lake being developed. For the Friessen family, it’s a dream come true.
“I always thought a lake would be a nice addition to Sioux Falls,” says Warren. “It took half a lifetime to finally see it being developed — a gold mine without mining the gold. The family believes it was worth the wait and this concept and design are the best for the community. The goal of the project is to make Lake Lorraine something special, not only for Friessen family, but for the entire region.”
“I always thought a lake would be a nice addition to Sioux Falls. It took half a lifetime to finally see it being developed — a gold mine without mining the gold. The family believes it was worth the wait and this concept and design are the best for the community. The goal of the project is to make Lake Lorraine something special, not only for Friessen family, but for the entire region.”
– Warren Friessen