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O'Keefe Elevator building in downtown Omaha rises to another occasion: condos and retail

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The changing face of 16th Street in downtown Omaha

A 100-year-old downtown Omaha building that for decades was the corporate headquarters of O'Keefe Elevator is poised for conversion into high-end condos and retail space.

At almost 80,000 square feet, the future O'Keefe Lofts structure at 1402 Jones St. will include 14 homes, 40 or so underground parking spots and a rooftop terrace and clubhouse.

The project cost is almost $12 million, which includes purchase price and renovation expenses. City officials have approved a request for $1.7 million in public tax-increment financing.

Connor Lund, leader of the development team, said the time was ripe for new downtown condo projects, adding that condo sales were extraordinary last year in the Midtown Crossing development.

Last week in the downtown 68102 ZIP code, only about 10 condos between $100,000 and $700,000 were up for sale, said Tasha Moss, an agent of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Ambassador Real Estate who has worked in that market for many years.

At the O'Keefe Lofts site, condo shells will average 2,100 square feet and sell for about $520,000 each, Lund said. Buyers would build out and customize their own space, he said. He expects the value of a finished condo to be between $800,000 and $1 million.

For the street-level commercial space, the development team is seeking retailers and creative office users that will complement condo living. Amenities also include a fitness center on the top floor and storage space in the garage.

O'Keefe Elevator sold its operation two years ago to former supplier, thyssenkrupp, which has since moved the Nebraska business to Sarpy County.

O'Keefe had been headquartered since the early 1980s in the four-story brick structure on 14th and Jones Streets, which was built for the Pittsburgh Plate and Glass Company. Lund said the facility was extensively renovated in 2001 and has been "meticulously maintained."

Connor Lund is part of the Lund family whose members have helped lead the transformation of the midtown Blackstone District. He counts O'Keefe Lofts, located in the historic Omaha Rail and Commerce District, as his first major development project and hopes that it will spur more change in that pocket near the Old Market.

The project team also includes Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, Lueder Construction and jh Interior Design.




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