Sioux Falls Business Journal
June 3, 2015
By Jodi Schwan

Photo: Elisha Page/Argus Leader

The east side of Sioux Falls now has its own version of a country club, according to Tom Walsh, CEO of GreatLife Malaska Golf & FItness.

“It’s a country club that we open to the public is the bottom line,” he said. “It will rival any country club.”

Willow Run Golf Course opens its new clubhouse this week, and it’s packed with amenities.

Combine that with the massive upscale Bluffs at Willow Run apartment project connected to the complex, and the area clearly is in the midst of a transformation.

GreatLife changes fitness landscape

Walsh bought Willow Run in 2012. He has steadily improved the course, most recently adding a three-hole practice area and making a number of holes “even more grandiose,” but the clubhouse makes a big statement.

“I’ve completely lost my mind. I just shake my head,” he said. “It is so fabulous. I never, ever dreamed it would turn out this well,” he said.

It’s two stories, with a nearly 8,000-square-foot fitness center, an indoor pool and whirlpool, a banquet area for 200 people, multiple patios and a full-service bar and grill – The Willows Food & Spirts at Willow Run.

“What we’re trying to do out there with the neighborhood is bring an upscale pub, food-type atmosphere,” said Mike Fodness, director of food and beverage. Fodness was the founding general manager at Foley’s and has worked at Callaway’s and The Country Club of Sioux Falls.

The menu for The Willows includes more than one dozen appetizers, sandwiches, pizzas, soup, salads and other entrees.

“I’m not trying to do a huge menu mediocre,” Fodness said. “I’m trying to do a nice upper-scale pub menu and do it well.”

The restaurant will be open daily and can seat about 100, including the space on its deck.

It’s also an amenity being marketed for potential residents at the adjacent Bluffs apartments.

The 161-unit project is on schedule to open half of its apartments in September. The units range from one to three bedrooms and include expansive views. Early tenants can help customize their units, said Craig Lloyd, CEO of Lloyd Cos., the project’s developer and property manager. Amenities include granite countertops, underground parking, individual garages, a guest suite and a GreatLife membership.

On a typical day, 180 people are working on the construction site. The first units will be available to view in July, but the project already has attracted a mix of young professionals and downsizing older adults, Lloyd said.

“I can’t believe we’re renting right now, but we are,” he said.

“There’s no other place in South Dakota you can live, that I’m aware of, that you can have a four-star golf course, great restaurant, a controlled environment. It doesn’t exist. It’s a lifestyle,” Lloyd continued. “It’s probably not for everybody, but if you like activities and you like to be part of something bigger than anything I know of in the city, it’s going to be a really nice place.”