Over the past several years, most new developments in Downtown Omaha have seemed like more of the same: a historic rehab, a new apartment building, a new hotel, or a new restaurant. That all changed a few weeks ago when Gavilon, an Omaha based commodities trading firm, announced publically its intentions to move into a new, state of the art office building and trading floor on the site of the former Omaha World-Herald building at 14thand Dodge Streets.
Opus Group, a Twin Cities based real estate company, has been hired as the developer for this build-to-suit project. Official terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Regardless, the $44 million, 5 story, 131,225 square-foot office building marks the first significant new office development in downtown Omaha since Union Pacific Center opened in 2004.
First and foremost, this deal is as exciting for the city of Omaha as it is for Downtown Omaha. Recently acquired by Japan based Marubeni Corp., Gavilon will be cementing its home in the heart of Omaha for years to come. Additionally, it shows both the health and strength of a company with Omaha roots and serves as yet another Omaha business success story.
For Downtown Omaha, this means several things. It was able to out compete suburbia. Gavilon could have gone the route of CSG International, TD Ameritrade, or Blue Cross Blue Shield and build out West. But they decided to expand and maintain their presence in Downtown Omaha. This deal will also help bring vibrancy to a long vacant corner of downtown Omaha. Torn down in 2008, the site sits across the street from the former Union Pacific Headquarters, which was demolished to make way for the now defunct Wallstreet Tower project. Lastly, the development could mean a ripple effect throughout downtown. As best stated by David G. Brown, President and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, in the Omaha World-Herald on September 5, 2012, “Once construction starts, I wouldn’t be surprised to see other lots around it develop, too.”
Site work on the former World-Herald Square Plaza appears to already be underway. The property should be ready for occupancy by December of 2013.
The momentum is building. Let’s hope there’s more to come.