In a recent study done my the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA), the city of Omaha will need to double the size of its industrial market of just under 70 million square feet by the year 2035 in order to meet the increasing demand for industrial product in the 9 county metro area.
With easy access to two of the most traveled interstate arteries, Interstate 80 and Interstate 29, and its central location (2 day drive to both coasts, 1 day drive to Canada and Mexico), Omaha should be prime choice for companies looking to locate new distribution centers and manufacturers. The only problem: it isn’t.
With a major lack of shovel ready industrial sites, Omaha is missing a major opportunity to attract new industrial users to the market. In an article published Sunday, The Omaha World-Herald outlined a new plan to use an $835 million federal grant to provide environmental assessments on currently vacant, decrepit, and underutilized industrial sites in South Omaha.
Currently these sites offer potential users a myriad of challenges: environmental contamination, unabated industrial waste, vacant and antiquated buildings, and an overall lack of necessary utilities. This project provides a great opportunity for Omaha to research what needs to be done to make this location a more viable prospect for industrial tenants. Since South Omaha is located at the cusp of I-80, I-480, and I-29, this location has some serious potential to be a top choice for new to the market or relocating users.
In order for the city of Omaha to remain competitive both nationally and locally (vs. suburban sites), it must find a way to make these sites more attractive and “shovel ready.” In doing so, hopefully one day it will reap the benefits of job growth and help bring a breath of fresh air into a once vibrant area of town.