Brookings is booming. The town of around 24,000 people was just named one of the best micro-metro areas in the Heartland by the Walton Family Foundation for economic development.
Brookings is breaking new ground.
“I think that combination of the strong manufacturing base, the presence of SDSU, value added agriculture, and the ag economy, plus the great partnerships we have with the community really help us stand out,” Brookings Economic Corporation Executive Director Al Heuton said.
This mixed-use development, The Lofts at Park Hill is just the beginning of the city’s economic growth, says Heuton.
“One of the challenges related to workforce development, is that if we can find the employees or retain SDSU graduates to take jobs, we have to have a place for them to live,” Heuton said.
The Lofts will have apartments on top of retail space.
“I think they are in high demand, they fill up quick,” Heuton said.
Because business is good in Brookings. Angie Iverson owns Prairie Mermaid boutique downtown. She’s a SDSU grad, who chose to come back to town.
“It’s quite an intersection for a lot of diverse minds. It’s not something that you’re going to find of the typical ‘midwest,’ per say,” Iverson said.
Iverson has moved all over the country, but says diversity made Brookings the perfect place for her to set up shop.
“It brings a lot of great opportunities to flourish here, in this wonderful town. Which is why I thought it would be a great place, to develop my roots in Brookings,” Iverson said.
Heuton says entrepreneurship, and small businesses like Iverson’s boutique are part of the goal for economic development in the city, despite the low unemployment rate of around 3%.
“We’ve still been able to find ways to grow businesses, and part of that is diversifying the types of jobs that are available in Brookings,” Heuton said.
The Lofts at Park Hill will have 71 apartment units, and 4,500 square feet of retail space.