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Nearly a Dozen More Downtown Development Projects Planned for 2024

June 28, 2024
During a press conference called last week to provide streetcar updates, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert shared some interesting information that so far hasn’t garnered much attention.

Eleven significant, but yet-to-be-announced, real estate projects totaling $400 million are now in the active planning stages in the urban core. We expect many, or possibly all, of these projects to be announced by the end of the year.

These mystery projects – known to city officials and the respective developers but not the general public – are part of $1.3 billion in real estate development identified so far that will help pay for the future streetcar system that will connect downtown Omaha to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The streetcar is expected to open in 2028.

If a development within a few blocks of the future streetcar line receives Tax Increment Financing from the city, part of that money will be used to pay for the streetcar. Therefore, in order for the mystery projects to be included, they need to be TIF-eligible and be located close to the line somewhere between the Missouri River and Midtown.

Here’s a generic listing of the projects:

Project 1 – $60 million
Project 2 – $60 million
Project 3 – $50 million
Project 4 – $5 million
Project 5 – $5 million
Project 6 – $7 million
Project 7 – $50 million
Project 8 – $40 million
Project 9 – $30 million
Project 10 – $18 million
Project 11 – $75 million

So, what conclusions can we draw from the limited information we have about these mystery projects? First, exciting days are ahead for the urban core – this is an impressive number of substantial projects.

Second, the future streetcar is already having a positive impact on real estate development even though actual construction is still about a year away. Many of these projects simply would not be built if not for a streetcar, which makes greater urban density possible.

Third, some of these projects are going to be pretty sizable; five of them are $50 million or more. Fifty million won’t build a skyscraper, but it does build an impressive 5-story, apartment-and-retail building.

We do not know what these projects will entail, but it’s a safe bet that most of them will be residential buildings or mixed-use buildings with a residential component.

As far as where the projects will be constructed, rumors have been floating around about more buildings being planned in The Mercantile area, which is the north side of the ConAgra campus. We hear that a hotel might be looking at the grassy lot just north of the downtown Embassy Suites. Additionally, the surface parking on the northwest corner of 10th & Harney Street could be in play.

There’s also plenty of room for development further west along the Harney and Farnam corridors all the way to the Blackstone District. It’s even possible a developer may slip in a multi-family building or two on small parcels very close the recently refurbished Riverfront parks.

By the way, any TIF project in the designated streetcar zone approved since 2022 will contribute toward streetcar construction costs. Here are the already approved projects and their total values. The projects below, along with the mystery projects, constitute the $1.3 billion in total real estate development so far:

Approved in 2022

48th & Dodge (apartments) $82 million
Flats on Howard (apartments) $28 million
1501 Mike Fahey (office) $57 million
Keeline Building (renovation) $7 million
Dizzy Mule (apartments & retail) $43 million
Mutual of Omaha skyscraper $443 million

Approved in 2023

Leavenworth Lofts (apartments) $8 million
Digs Mason Apartments $46 million
Digs Apartments $9 million
Square Apartments $18 million

Approved in 2024 (so far)

Service Life Building (renovation) $3 million
1001 North 12th Street (apartments) $19 million
1508 Marcy Street (apartments) $16 million
The Duo (apartments & retail) $164 million
Millwork Commons Project $19 million

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