SIOUX CITY | Pizza Ranch officials announced plans Wednesday to build a 5,600-square-foot restaurant at Outer Drive and Floyd Boulevard.

The Orange City, Iowa, chain will be the first business to locate on the 29-acre tract of city-owned land. The site was developed as part of the Outer Drive Extension, which linked Floyd with Lewis Boulevard. The $35 million project included a bridge over the Floyd River and the relocation of two railroad tracks, including the Union Pacific line that formerly ran through the new Pizza Ranch site.

City officials predicted Pizza Ranch's investment would spur additional commercial development at the site, called Northern Valley Crossing.

"This is the start of some very exciting things that are going to occur on this spot over the next few years," said City Manager Paul Eckert .

"It was important to have a pioneer like Pizza Ranch because the land is way too valuable not to be put to use," Mayor Bob Scott said.

The new Sioux City franchise will be owned by Jarrod DeGeorgia, Brad Cleveringa and Tyler Sickles. They are involved with the only current metro area Pizza Ranch, in the Pioneer Mall in Sergeant Bluff.

Pizza Ranch had a Sioux City location in the late 1980s and early 1990s that later closed.

"We're excited to be back," DeGeorgia said. "It's about time."

Construction on the Sioux City restaurant, which will seat about 224 people, is expected to begin this fall, with an opening anticipated for March or April, Cleveringa said.

Founded in 1981 in Hull, Iowa, Pizza Ranch has been opening new restaurants at a rapid pace in recent years. The chain currently has about 170 locations in 10 states.