Tag Archives: Marriott

Part 10-Capitol District Ready to Launch

An artists rendering of the Capitol District, looking South

An artists rendering of the Capitol District, looking South

There have been many moments in Omaha’s history that have been described as turning points.  There was, Thomas Cuming’s decision as territorial Acting Governor of Nebraska to name Omaha the capitol of the territory, rather than Bellevue, Florence, or Nebraska City.  There was the ensuing decision by President Abraham Lincoln to have the Union Pacific Railroad cross the Missouri River from its Transfer Depot in Council Bluffs into Omaha, again, as opposed to other communities dotting the Mighty Mo.  These decisions, although remedial, were monumental in the creation of the City of Omaha.  Jump ahead 150 years, Omaha taxpayers usher in an entirely new era for the tired and underutilized riverfront by the passage of a bond issue to build the arena and convention center now know as the CenturyLink Center Omaha.  That decision almost single-handedly was responsible for a ripple effect of $2 billion plus in public and private investment the downtown and riverfront areas, making it the place that Omahans not only work, but live and play.  Ten years later, the stage has been set for a project that will take downtown Omaha to the next level.  Recently announced by Shamrock Development, the Capitol District, as it is being called, might very well be the next key turning point for downtown Omaha.

Bound by Capitol Street, Interstate 480, 10th Street, and 12th Street, the site of the Capitol District and its success is absolutely pivotal to the success of Downtown Omaha.  Currently a series of CenturyLink Center Parking Lots, the site is the main connector between the Old Market/Central Business District and the emerging North Downtown area.  Additionally, the site is one of the first thing drivers see (well right now, don’t see), when crossing the Interstate 480 bridge into the city.  Lastly, the site serves as a gateway into downtown for all travelers arriving via rental car or cab from nearby Eppley Airfield.  Needless to say, the future of this currently underutilized 6 block site is critical.

That’s where the vision of Shamrock Development comes in.  The proven downtown development group envisions a mixed use site that includes a 350 room Marriott Hotel, 140,000 Square Feet of Office, 100,000 Square Feet of Retail and Entertainment space, a public square, and over 200 apartment units.  To simplify it, the site will include a hotel larger than the new Hyatt Place in the Old Market, about as much office space as the new Gavilon Headquarters, more apartment units than the newly completed Highline Apartments and about 2/3 the retail space of Midtown Crossing.  To put it lightly, this project is several projects rolled into one.

With a price tag of over $200 Million, the project is slated to start construction on the new hotel in early 2014.  The entire project is expected to be completed by 2017.  Only time will tell what ramifications this project will have on its surrounding neighborhood.  Currently, many parking lots and underutilized properties surround the development site.  Hopefully, in several years, we will look back on the decisions made today by Shamrock and city leaders as a turning point that took Downtown Omaha into the future.  Only time will tell, but with the vision, team, and plan in place, this project is destined to become an immense success.

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Part 4-Reviving Kimball’s Legacy at 15th and Dodge

An architect’s rendering of the redeveloped Old Federal Building (courtesy of the Omaha World-Herald and Alley Poyner Macchietto)

It was 1878 when a young Thomas Kimball and his family moved to the banks of the muddy Missouri River to the bustling railroad town of Omaha, Nebraska.  At the time, his current neighbors likely could not fathom the role that the young 16-year-old Kimball would have in shaping the architectural landscape of Omaha.  The future graduate of MIT aided in the creation of local icons such as the Hotel Fontenelle, the Medical Arts Building, Omaha Public Library, Burlington Station, St. Cecilia Cathedral, and campus of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition.  In all, he was responsible for the design of over 25 buildings across town, few of which are still in existence today.  Built in 1933, the Old Federal Building on 15th and Dodge Streets remains one of the few existing Omaha landmarks designed by Kimball.

Constructed as a part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the 12 story 105,000 square foot building was home to several federal agencies, including, the US Weather Bureau, the Internal Revenue Services, US Department of Agriculture, and most recently the Army Corps of Engineers.  For the past few years though, the once bustling legacy of Kimball has been relegated the status of just another vacant building in Downtown Omaha.

In December of 2011 that changed when First OFB, a joint venture between Iowa based Nelson Development and Rosemont, Illinois’ First Hospitality Group acquired the property for $2.375 million.  The group intends to bring the property to new life with a 152 room Residence Inn by Marriott.

The approximately $23 million redevelopment will create an estimated 50 full-time and 25 part-time hospitality jobs and is slated to open in the Spring of 2013.  The hotel will feature amenities such as Wi-Fi, a fitness center, meeting space, and will serve as a great compliment to the sculpture park located just west of the property.

The project will help meet the demands of the currently undeserved Downtown Omaha hotel market.  With just under 2,400 rooms currently, the 152 rooms created by this project is among the over 600 units either planned or under construction in downtown.  Worth noting, the building is located in an area not widely utilized by tourists.  Most other projects are taking place in either the Old Market or North Downtown neighborhoods.  This project speaks volumes of the level of confidence out-of-town developers and investors are seeing in Downtown’s core.  Additionally, the hotel will greatly serve neighboring corporate giants including First National Bank, Union Pacific, and Woodman of the World.

Currently under construction, it will be exciting to see another great piece of Omaha’s history saved.  With the proud legacy of one of Omaha’s great architects at stake, the hotel project will be a wonderful reminder of the many contributions made by Thomas Kimball to the Omaha landscape.

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Filed under Building Omaha: Downtown Development Top 10, Commercial Real Estate