Another piece of the emerging Flatiron District is coming together as a developer seeks city assistance for a new $41 million project that is to house renters of mixed incomes.
The five-story structure would include about 120 apartments and rise on what currently is paved parking (1819 Howard St. and 1810 St. Mary's Ave.).
On its street level would be a fitness center and three restaurants focused on healthy eating, says Neeraj Agarwal of 18HowardOwner LLC ownership group.
The project seeks $3.5 million in public tax-increment financing. TIF is an incentive that allows developers to use 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.
The City Planning Board recommended approval last week of the 18th and Howard TIF request. A City Council vote, though not yet scheduled, is expected in the next few weeks.
Agarwal said the project would be the first newly constructed apartment structure in downtown Omaha to cater to residents of mixed incomes. About 60% of the units are to be reserved for income-qualified tenants and financed with low-income housing tax credits.
More affordable rents, Agarwal said, would run between $700 and $800 for studios and one-bedroom units, compared to the market-rate units, whose rents will range from $900 and $1,200.
"One of the best ways to combat the stigma associated with affordable housing is by developing mixed-income projects where a variety of people reside," Agarwal said. He said that, financially speaking, the inclusion of market rate rents allows his team to build higher-end finishes inside and out.
If all goes as planned, Agarwal expects a September construction start and a mid-2023 opening.
The project includes 40 leased parking stalls in an adjacent structure and, according to city documents, another 40 would be provided off-site.
Agarwal's broader vision also includes developing another roughly 60 apartments on the same block. He plans to bring details on that project to the city later.
Agarwal's team is leading other new redevelopment projects in that Flatiron District area, including the rehab of the century-old Redfield warehouse at 1901 Howard St. into offices and a diner, and the century-old historic Standard Oil building at 500 S. 18th St. into commercial bays and mini apartments.