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Blackstone Plaza seeks nearly $6 million in TIF

Blackstone Plaza seeks nearly $6 million in TIF

The Cottonwood Hotel in Omaha's Blackstone district.

Owners of midtown Omaha's Blackstone Plaza are seeking city assistance to renovate the 15-story office structure formerly known as Kiewit Plaza.

The request for nearly $6 million in public tax-increment financing would help cover eligible costs of the overall $37.7 million project at 3555 Farnam St.

TIF is an incentive that allows developers to use a portion of future increased property taxes generated by their projects to pay for certain upfront development costs. It’s designed to boost blighted areas and go toward projects that wouldn’t happen without the incentive.

Blackstone Plaza has retained a few tenants — including Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway corporate office — after Kiewit Corp. sold the property and ended a six-decade run there.

Kiewit now is settled into its newly built worldwide headquarters in north downtown Omaha.

Renovations have started at the Blackstone Plaza, built in 1961. The new ownership group, led by John Lund of the Lund Co., plans a complete modernization to usher in Class A office space with new windows, interior redesign, an open lobby and new public spaces including restaurants and retailers on the ground floor.

The group expects about 40 employees at the retail and event services, in addition to 10 full-time building management staff. 

According to city planning documents, the ownership group hopes to attract a new-to-Omaha anchor employer as well as other business tenants.

Of the $37.7 million project cost, $16 million was for the purchase of the property. The tax-increment financing request is for $5.99 million.

The City Planning Board last week gave its green light to the TIF proposal, which now goes to the City Council.

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Reporter - Money

Cindy covers housing, commercial real estate development and more for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @cgonzalez_owh. Phone: 402-444-1224.

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