The term “time flies” comes to mind as we reflect back over the last year. Feb. 15, 2017, marks one year in the newly developed Epicenter, and, although it has been just a year since we began calling downtown Sioux Falls our home, the journey to our new home was much longer.
We had been searching for a space to expand Epicosity for about one-and-a-half years before closing in on the vacated Good Shepherd building, whose operation had relocated elsewhere. What happened next was an incredible, rewarding revitalization project that has recently been recognized by Downtown Sioux Falls.
We must have looked at more than 40 different locations all around the city of Sioux Falls—small and large buildings, well-defined office-dominated spaces and open concepts, well-maintained ones and fixer-uppers. During the evaluation of other spaces, we did our due diligence and made three offers that were not accepted. Even though offers were made, I must admit I wasn't disappointed when they didn’t go through. Although we would have made them work, none of them truly excited me.
That leads us to the first moment I walked through our future space. It was a brief encounter that only lasted about 45 minutes. At the end, we instructed our real estate agent to craft an offer. What most people saw after that decision was a run-down, leaky, impossible-to-turn-around property. What we saw was a building with solid bones, a downtown location with 20 parking spaces and a blank canvas that would not allow us to be complacent for a single moment.
After the excitement of the purchase was over, the reality of buying a building that had to be completely gutted set in. We had hoped to salvage certain existing parts of the building, but, in the end, we had to replace all electrical, plumbing, roof, parking lot and HVAC. This all had to be done before anything creative was an option.
With that reality fully in mind, we never lost sight of what was truly important. In the past, we catered our style of collaboration around the office flow that was available. For the Epicenter, we wanted to mold the space around the way that we desired to work together as a team, from the bar in the back for our weekly Craft Beer Friday gathering to the myriad spaces for collaboration that does away with the traditional, walled-in office setting.
Easier said than done. We had a detailed plan that we followed, but it was clear when we would try to explain this vision to others, it didn't always connect. Many had a hard time envisioning what we were setting out to do.
Credit: Ken Petersen Photography
After all of the time, effort and money that we invested in the Epicenter, it has turned out far greater than our expectations! We pushed boundaries and were not afraid to try things that no one else in our market has tried to date. We didn’t get the rooftop conference room we'd originally wanted, but we did get a nine-hole golf course, a table made out of a bowling lane, conference rooms affectionately named Yoko and Ono and a training facility with a swing.
Which is why this particular honor, the Carole Pagones Revitalization Award courtesy of Downtown Sioux Falls, feels especially great. We get to be a small part of a huge movement in downtown Sioux Falls—a movement that has defined "being downtown" as feeling like a part of something special thanks to the efforts of businesses, leaders and government investing in the area.