New restaurants breathe new life into Lakeport Commons - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

New restaurants breathe new life into Lakeport Commons

New businesses being added to Lakeport Commons. New businesses being added to Lakeport Commons.

Some brand new dining options are set to open at Sioux City's outdoor mall, Lakeport Commons. It's a sign that business is bouncing back.

"It feels so much different than it did a couple years ago," remarked Mayor Pro Tem John Fitch.

Three national restaurant chains are moving in: Panera, which already operates on Hamilton Boulevard, and two new fast casual eateries, Qdoba and Chipotle.

"We're seeing some of the last spaces built out," explained Economic Development Director Marty Dougherty.

He spoke to the mall's developers this week and says they're seeing interest from more than just restaurants.

"They're seeing an increase in clothing stores, both adults and children," Dougherty commented.

Lakeport Commons has been a regional draw since the day it opened. However, the economic slump hit the Sioux City shopping center hard. Two years after it opened in 2006, stores started to close. Recently, a couple of restaurants have moved out, but leaders say that's typical in the food industry, and take the recent expansion as a great sign for Sioux City.

"The level of interest in Sioux City in that area has really peaked over the last year," said Dougherty.

Retail does bring a small number of jobs, but there's a bigger benefit.

"You're also having sales tax dollars come in and that's very significant," Dougherty pointed out.

It's also an attraction all on it's own; one that Dougherty's team uses to bring big business to town.

"We always drive them through that area, because it makes a good impression," he said.

Fitch owns a construction company himself and says he sees work picking up throughout the city.

"The climate for new development, for growth in Sioux City is very positive," he stated.

A strong retail is part of the big picture.

"As we grow, and are seen as a community that is growing, as a good place to live, those kinds of things are expected," Dougherty added.

Signs show Sioux City is likely to keep reaping those rewards. 

As Lakeport Commons fills up, nearby, Sunnybrook Drive is starting to see some growth, as well.

The downside is the traffic.

Don't be surprised to see construction cones on the streets surrounding all those stores. A traffic study is planned in the next few years.

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