SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A once empty lot downtown on Historic Fourth Street has welcomed its first tenants.

This comes as housing construction in Sioux City took a deep dive in 2021 which was expected due to pandemic-related delays.

City officials tell KCAU 9 they hope the newest 4th street apartment building helps bring in new people to the area to fill open jobs.

A total of 103 housing units were built in Sioux City in 2021. That’s a steep decline after a record high of 521 in 2020 and 363 in 2019.

“People have noticed of course that there’s not as many units and houses available as there were a few years ago and that’s because there’s more demand. That’s because Sioux City is growing. The community is growing.”

Marty Dougherty is the economic & community development director for the City of Sioux City.

He said the city is banking on the Fourth Street attraction to continue to help revitalize downtown and the city’s workforce.

“We need more workforce. We need more people. There’s all kinds of jobs available. And so this is one way that we’re helping grow the community by providing new and improved places for people to live and raise their family… Great historic downtowns like Sioux City, with a lot of character, can really help drive your growth as a community,” Dougherty said.

Urbane 1220 is a 56 unit property. It welcomed its first resident this week after a minor delay.

“It was our intention to open by the end of 2021 but all things considering being in the end of January with the challenges that COVID brings especially in the construction industry, the material shortages, and the timing to get them including the timing to get them. Including also the labor shortages we were really happy to hit this end of January date,” Brent Dahlstrom, CEO of Merge Urban Development Group, said.

Dahlstrom said there is commercial space for lease on the first floor of the building and Siouxland entrepreneurs are encouraged to occupy the space.

Doughtery adds renovating old buildings or occupying vacant lots helps build the city’s tax base.

A strong year of residential housing growth is anticipated in 2022 as several residential projects are already underway, totaling 170 units so far this year.