Tag Archives: Retail

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 7-Lerner Building Rising to New Heights

A rendering of The District and its 3 story addition to the Lerner Building.

A rendering of The District

Few properties have gone through as many redevelopment proposals as the Lerner Building has.  Since 1995 when the City of Omaha took ownership of the property, the building has been a target for redevelopment.  The only problem?  It took almost 15 years to find one that would stick.

Bought for the price of just $157,500 in May of 2012, the District, as the project is being called, will take the corner of 16th and Harney to new heights, literally.  With plans to create over 4,000 square feet of retail space and 36-38 multifamily apartment units, the 16,000 square foot structure will be expanded to accommodate these ideas.  Whats interesting though, is that the expansion isn’t horizontal, its vertical.  The development team, which is a partnership between Dicon Corp. and Seldin Company, intend to add 3 stories to the top of the existing two-story structure.

At a price tag close to $6 million, the project will serve as a starting off point for the revitalization of 16th Street.  Dormant for years, the once bustling heart of the city has been relegated into a gathering point for many of Omaha’s economically disenfranchised.  Popular for almost a century, 16th Street was once the place to be in downtown.  But in the wake of the post war 50s and the dawn of a new sprawling society, urban malls no longer had their place in Omaha.  Once Brandies closed in 1980, the wide pedestrian corridors that lined 16th Street became a hindrance to parking as opposed to a guide for pedestrian traffic.  One by one businesses closed and the street began to decline.

Soon though, 16th Street will carry with it a different legacy.  As the city continues to work on plans to create angled street parking, remove unsightly bus shelters, and reroute bus traffic away from 16th Street, more developers like Dicon and Seldin will be attracted to the area.  Although it may never again live up to the reputation of the retail heartbeat of the city, it is about to enter a new stage in its life, starting with The District.

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