Catholic housing organization buys downtown property for future use

Oct. 2, 2018

St. Joseph Catholic Housing has purchased the site of the former Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant.

The 1-acre site at Eighth Street and Indiana Avenue became available after the owners decided to retire this summer.

“We really didn’t go looking for this opportunity,” said Matthew Althoff, chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls. “We were approached.”

The property is adjacent to the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, which is a ministry of the diocese.

“It’s literally the other half of the block,” Althoff said.

While no determination has been made for the property, “the church does not acquire property for speculation,” he said. “We do it for possible future ministry purposes, but I don’t know what that would be. We consider affordable housing a ministry of the church. The proximity gives the opportunity for examining programing with various outreach ministries.”

St. Joseph Catholic Housing has 25 properties in 11 eastern South Dakota communities totaling 1,100 units that are providing income-qualified housing.

“Our community is going to continue to grow, and there will be people in our midst who need some level of social outreach,” Althoff said.

The downtown property likely would need to be rezoned, and residential use would require parking.

“We know enough to know it’s going to be limited in terms of what our floor plan can look like,” Althoff said. “But there are a lot of support services already existing in that neighborhood and in close proximity and a lot of service-related employers.”

The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House opened in 2015 and has seven rooms for families, 80 beds for single men and 20 for single women.

“It has exceeded capacity. They’ve used every bit of that space and then some,” Althoff said.

While tax-credit financing has been used on other St. Joseph Catholic Housing projects, the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House was built entirely through donations.

While there was some pressure to begin operations when the Salvation Army discontinued its overnight shelter, Althoff said that’s not the case for the newly acquired property.

In the short term, the Golden Dragon building, which used to be a McDonald’s, will be demolished. But no other plans have been made.

“We’re at the very nascent stages,” Althoff said. “The church will always want to be informative once we can figure out the best programming to deploy and the best way to do that within the context of a building.”

Catholic housing organization buys downtown property for future use

St. Joseph Catholic Housing has purchased the site of the former Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant.

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