Douglas County rose to the Top 11 in a national study that looked at resilient real estate markets positioned to thrive in the next decade.
The analysis by CBRE, a commercial real estate services and investment firm, said the country's largest cities that led the economic resurgence from the last recession will always be "uniquely positioned as vibrant centers" of talent and innovation.
However, it noted that COVID-related shifts have amplified the need for growth-seeking companies to evaluate location plans from fresh perspectives — beyond the "usual set of location drivers."
So with an eye on factors including population growth, talent pipelines, transportation infrastructure, affordable housing and climate and fiscal risks, the report came up with "less heralded alternatives" to the "superstar" cities of the last decade.
Areas such as Douglas County in the Omaha metro provide "their own advantages," the report said, to businesses considering where to locate or expand.
"These markets are well positioned to be resilient to the challenges of the economy ahead," said the study titled, Rethinking Resilience: Location Drivers in a Shifting Market Landscape.
In addition to Douglas, others that rose to the top are: Ada, Idaho (in the Boise metro area); Franklin, Ohio (Columbus area); Polk, Iowa (Des Moines); Kent, Michigan (Grand Rapids); Greenville, South Carolina (Greenville); Hamilton, Indiana (Indianapolis); Johnson, Kansas, (Kansas City); Knox, Tennessee (Knoxville); Davis, Utah (Ogden); and Spokane Washington (Spokane).
CBRE said Douglas County had the second-densest population among the finalists, lending it a more urban feel that balances big-city amenities with the accessibility and lower costs of a smaller market.
Bennett Ginsberg of the CBRE Omaha office said he was not surprised at Douglas County's showing.
"It's in our nature to be resilient," he said of the area. "I've always told people that Omaha is a hidden gem."