In the News

Posted on May 12, 2023

This article was originally published by Jodi Schwan of SiouxFalls.Business

On one side of Sixth Street, three large multi-story buildings are taking shape.

To the northeast of them, an essential bridge is in the middle of a major reconstruction.

But while the work varies dramatically – building a bridge is nothing like constructing a mixed use building – the teams working on both projects are more alike than different.

“I absolutely feel the common culture,” said Josh Dede, project manager for SF Civil Constructors, contractors on the Unity Bridge project.

“Civil teams don’t always understand what building teams are doing and vice versa, but there’s a respect and understanding of how we need to mesh together to get the project done.”

His counterpart overseeing the Cherapa Place development, senior project manager Joe Niewohner of Journey Construction, agreed.

“We may operate different business units, but we still have the same core values and that goes a long way,” he said. “We treat each other with respect and value our relationships and that creates an environment where we work together effectively.”

The approach from both business units of Journey Group has led both projects to stay on schedule and work on parallel paths, which is key to both the city of Sioux Falls and Pendar Properties, developer of Cherapa Place.

“Our signs are up; it’s getting real, and we absolutely support the approach Journey is taking to keep both projects on track,” said Anne Haber, co-owner of Pendar Properties.

“It’s critical that the bridge construction remain on schedule in order to serve this development as it begins moving in tenants as well as the broader downtown community.”

Since kicking off in February, the existing bridge deck has been completely removed and work has started on the piers and abutments. Forming material for the bridge deck will arrive soon and utility trenchwork has started.

“It’s a very unique project for SFC Civil,” Dede said. “A lot of times our work is on interstate bridges without a lot of residents around or underground utilities. Being able to work with Journey Construction on those site logistics has made the process much smoother and less coordination is needed.”

Not only that, but a third Journey business units – Black-Top Paving – also is involved as a subcontractor on both projects. That team is building Reid Street through the Cherapa development in addition to concrete and asphalt surfacing for the bridge project, curb and gutter work and sidewalks.

“Being inner-company, we’re able to be nimble,” vice president Ryan Kerkvliet said. “We’ve adjusted phasing and because we’re working on both, we can mesh schedules and ensure that we make progress on both.”

In some cases, Black-Top crews can work in the same area of downtown and contribute to both projects.

“We’re going to be in and out all summer, whether it’s for the Sixth Street project or Cherapa doing surfacing work. We’re doing concrete and asphalt on both, so the good thing is we typically can share crews and we are able to support both of Journey’s projects.”

The teams meet at least weekly to go over schedules and needed adjustments at either site. That trickles down to other stakeholders in the projects.

“Journey Group has been proactive in communication with the city, private utilities and nearby businesses during construction,” said Wes Philips, principal engineer with the city of Sioux Falls. “Their high level of organization allows them to anticipate and work to eliminate possible problems before they arise, resulting in better project outcomes.”

At Cherapa Place, the first tower crane is on track to come down in June. The third building, the Clark, was topped off at the end of March and work has moved over to the fourth, The Dakota, where framing has started.

“It’s going really well,” Niewohner said. “We learned a lot in building three that we’re able to apply to building four, which has a little bigger, fancier units, but the same mass timber style of construction.”

Tenant buildouts for the Bancorp building are on track for September openings, he said.

“And a key piece to making that all happen is getting Reid Street done – the road between the buildings,” he said. “So that also speaks to the importance of our coordination within Journey. It’s very, very important to Cherapa that access be provided so it’s been extremely beneficial that we share a common culture and communicate so well. It’s going to be critical moving forward.”

That approach has been noticed, Haber said.

“These teams are all pointed in the same direction, all committed to quality and communication, and as owners we truly value that,” she said.

While the teams often operate in different construction worlds, coming together has been rewarding, Niewohner added.

“We help each other out, and it’s for the benefit of the whole area,” Niewohner said. “We had a very difficult winter and it’s been pretty cool to see we’re still on track. These teams have been very resilient in facing challenges and deserve a lot of credit.”

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