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.
At a glance: 11 key developments around the Omaha metro area
ONYX Automotive in January became the first business to launch operations on the 500-acre redevelopment site poised to become a mecca of office, housing and entertainment venues. Under construction are office campuses for local business biggies including Applied Underwriters, Valmont Industries and The Carson Group. Developers expect the property value of the overall site, bounded generally by 144th, 153rd and Pine Streets and West Dodge Road, to rise by more than $1 billion when completed over 15 or so years.
192 Street & West Dodge Road
Underway are huge projects by two separate real estate developers that will transform some 250 acres around 192nd Street and West Dodge Road. The work, estimated to top $1.5 billion, includes office, commercial and residential venues on the southwest and southeast corners of the intersection. Developer Curt Hofer is leading the Avenue One project, and R&R Realty of West Des Moines is behind two office parks.
Helping to change the downtown Omaha landscape north of Dodge Street are three districts. The $300 million Millwork Commons launched with the (ongoing) restoration of the Ashton warehouse at 12th and Nicholas Streets into a new home for tech company Flywheel. The Builder’s District centers on the rising new worldwide headquarters for Kiewit Corp. near 16th and Burt Streets. The Capitol District entertainment area began years ago but in 2020 is to finish construction of an office and retail building that is the last major structural piece at the site near 10th Street and Capitol Avenue.
Blackstone area of midtown Omaha
A food hall, a resurrected historic hotel and an upscale condo project are poised to be the latest newcomers to the hip and growing Blackstone area that’s anchored along the Farnam corridor near 40th Street. Millions of dollars have been invested in an area buoyed by increased building and growth of the nearby University of Nebraska Medical Center.
La Vista City Centre
Construction continues at the $235 million City Centre campus — a mix of residential, commercial and entertainment uses along the 84th Street corridor in La Vista. Another phase of apartments is to open this summer, and multiple businesses are preparing their spaces. An indoor-outdoor music venue is to break ground as soon as the ground thaws.
Data center central
Sarpy County, in the area of Highway 370 and Highway 50, continues its rise as the state’s data center hub. Google announced its multimillion-dollar facility most recently, making that the county’s eighth data center. Facebook is expanding its data center construction. A recent study by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers found that operation of the county’s largest four data centers (at the time Fidelity, Travelers, Yahoo-turned-Oath and Facebook) had an annual statewide economic impact of $522 million, with an employment impact of nearly 1,900 direct and indirect jobs.
Omaha is in the midst of a nearly $300 million transformation of three downtown parks into The RiverFront, an effort aimed in part at revving up recruitment and retention of workforce talent. Major construction on the Gene Leahy Mall is expected to finish up in late 2021, with work on some amenities stretching into 2024. Work on nearby Lewis & Clark Landing near the foot of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is set to begin in late summer to early fall 2020. Work on Heartland of America Park, which sits between the Conagra campus and the Missouri River, east of Eighth and Douglas Streets, carries into 2024.
Children’s Hospital & Medical Center
Nearly tripling its footprint over the past few years, Children’s has acquired several buildings near 84th Street and West Dodge Road, including the former HDR office campus along Indian Hills Drive. Currently under construction is the nine-story Hubbard Center for Children that’s scheduled to open in 2021 on the northern side of the hospital. Neighboring pockets are seeing their own development bursts, including an office strip to the west. On the north side of West Dodge and Children’s, two mixed-use developments anchored by bank branches have risen.
A corridor near Westroads Mall is seeing a dramatic shift from a car dealership row to a family entertainment zone. Change is led by the new and rising 10-acre Topgolf venue estimated to cost about $23 million and poised to open in late March. Other commercial structures are set to rise, one with a Chipotle restaurant. Joe Ricketts, father of Nebraska’s governor and patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs, also has purchased about 8 acres along that stretch but hasn’t disclosed his plans.
The Omaha Housing Authority’s Southside Terrace complex near 29th and T Streets.
A decaying North Omaha shopping hub near 56th Street and Ames Avenue has been resuscitated with about $18 million in a redevelopment effort led by Omaha’s White Lotus Group. Much of the commercial space on the 14-acre site that dates back 60 years had been condemned before a couple of key structures were revamped and a new row house project built. The latest phase is the former 44,000-square-foot Ames Bowling Center structure that has been re-purposed into the Ames Innovation Center.