USD Discovery District Options Expand with Key Legislation

graphic Aerial rendering of the USD Discovery District with borders of the 80-acre development site and the entire 252 acres controlled by the South Dakota Board of Regents now accessible with the restriction removed.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The USD Discovery District, an 80-acre contemporary corporate and academic research park under development in Sioux Falls, today announced that it can broaden its leasing options with the passing of HB 1063 that removes the 80-acre restriction on the development.

The removal of the restriction will accommodate larger development with additional leasing options for the 252-acre site controlled by the SD Board of Regents. The development is located adjacent to the University Center in northwest Sioux Falls.

“This seemingly small change in the bill is a big step forward for the development of the USD Discovery District,” said Rich Naser, Jr., President of the USD Discovery District. “The removal of the limitation provides the flexibility needed for various types and sizes of developments that are better located adjacent to, not within the current 80-acre tract, such as large-scale pharmaceutical production and research facilities.”

The bill, taken forward by the SD Board of Regents and Governor’s Office of Economic Development, doesn’t require the Discovery District to occupy more than 80-acres or require the purchase of additional land, it simply provides the option for an amendment to its existing land lease with the Board of Regents.

“We appreciate the Legislature and Governor recognizing the importance of this bill,” said Mike Rush, Executive Director of the Board of Regents. “It provides us with the flexibility to react to market demands and ultimately foster the larger innovation community we’re aiming to create.”
The additional site access also allows for the Discovery District to develop a pedestrian/bicycle trail system within the 100-year flood plain.

“Amenities like a bike path, hotel and restaurants are also planned for the Discovery District creating additional new property and sales tax revenue,” added Naser. “Access to this larger development tract also enhances the ability to create a destination to live, work and play.”

About the USD Discovery District
The USD Discovery District is an 80-acre contemporary corporate and academic research park under development in northwest Sioux Falls. The goal of this urban innovation community is to provide access to research facilities and infrastructure for research business development and spur innovation-driven businesses in an environment for students, researchers, and entrepreneurs. When fully developed, the direct economic impact is projected to include 26 privately developed buildings with facility construction value exceeding $314M and nearly 2,800 people employed by companies located in the District.

Anchors for the park include the Graduate Education and Applied Research (GEAR) Center including its pilot-scale cGMP facility, and USD’s Biomedical Engineering Program (BME). The District development is private-public partnership between the University of South Dakota, the Board of Regents, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Forward Sioux Falls and the City of Sioux Falls.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News