A $6.3 million pair of three-story commercial buildings would rise near downtown Elkhorn under a plan presented to the City of Omaha. The Elkhorn Landing project atNorth 206th Street and Elkhorn Drive calls for offices, retailers and parking on the lower and first floors of each structure.
A total of 14 residential units - mostly apartments, but also two for-sale condos -would fill the upper floors.
Rent would run $1,400 to $1,800 a month. A house would be demolished to make way for the project. And developer Elkhorn Landing LLC has requested $985,609 in tax-increment financing to help cover eligible costs.
Jason Gillman, an Elkhorn Landing partner with Chad Bumsted and Josh Eriksen, said they all have families and a vested interest in the Elkhorn area.
"We thought it'd be a nice addition to the downtown community and bring new growth to the area," Gillman said.
Located a block east of Main Street in Elkhorn, the two similarly designed buildings would be adjacent to the $16 million Elkhorn Station, a separate development project by a different developer involving construction of two four-story buildings with apartments, retailers and offices. Both projects are near a still-to-be-built recreational trail connection that appears on the city's trail master plan.
According to documents submitted to the Planning Department, Elkhorn Landing LLC anticipates construction to start early next year on its first building that would be completed by mid2022. The second building is to be built in a later phase and perhaps finished by 2024.
Tyler Curnes of Main Street Studios & Gallery told Planning Board members last week that he was concerned about the already scarce parking situation in downtown Elkhorn and additional stress expected by Elkhorn Landing.
Jim Lang, attorney for the Elkhorn Station project, addressed the board to urge that the Elkhorn Landing team share in the cost of public improvements to 206th Street.
Planning Board members, after hearing concerns, delayed a vote on Elkhorn Landing's TIF redevelopment project plan until next month.
Meanwhile, developers plan to meet further with area business groups and city officials.
MEDICAL STAFFING COMPANY TO BUILD NEW $18 MILLION HQ
A Fremont-based company that for two decades has connected traveling medical professionals to job sites nationwide is building a new $18 million headquarters in the town where it grew up.
RTG Medical broke ground last week on a 54,000-square-foot home near Highway 275 and Highway 30.
The new space more than triples the size of the old, and will give employees a view of a lake. RTG secured rights to an adjacent lot for future expansion in the Gallery 23 East development.
RTG launched in 2001 with two employees in an apartment. Three years later, the business had grown to a dozen employees in a commercial location in Fremont.
Today, there are nearly 100, and officials expect to grow to beyond 225 full-time employees with benefits within three to five years.
Jeremy Guenthner, chief operating officer, said a majority of those new jobs will earn six-figure incomes.
"In addition to creating Nebraska jobs, we plan to connect thousands of health care professionals to crucial job openings in all 50 states and assist in the health care shortage crisis," said Guenthner, noting demand driven by COVID-19.
Lead developer for the construction project is White Lotus Group of Omaha. Other partners include CRESA, DLR Group, Olsson and Ronco Construction.
"This catalytic project will help attract and retain talent in both the Fremont and neighboring communities for years to come," said White Lotus' Arun Agarwal.
The Fremont City Council approved a $700,000 forgivable economic development (LB 840) loan to support the project, which also received new market federal tax credits to provide jobs in non-metro Fremont.
Guenthner said nearly half the RTG employees commute from Omaha, but the company knew from the get-go it wanted to expand in Fremont.
"The community remains welcoming and able to provide the workforce we need both locally and via commute," he said.
SWATH OF LAND NEAR FURNITURE MART WOULD BE TRANSFORMED
A swath of Nebraska Furniture Mart-owned land near 77th and Dodge Streets could be transformed into new commercial, restaurant and residential uses.
The Mart has asked the City of Omaha to rezone about 26 acres west of the Lowe's store and along the east bank of the Little Papillion Creek, from Dodge southeast to just west of Rose Blumkin Drive and 72nd Street.
However, only about 8 acres of that stretch would see new tenants, said Ryan Blumkin, who handles real estate matters for the Mart. He said the rest would stay essentially as is.
Additionally, a separate 5 acres owned by the Mart behind the McDonald's restaurant could sprout apartments, Blumkin said. That land is not part of the current rezoning request, and any transformation is likely years away, he said.
Any redevelopment in that vicinity would not involve expansion of the Mart store, he said.
Why now? Up until a few years ago, the project area was occupied in part by a warehouse that has been torn down, Blumkin said. He said the Mart currently uses some of the overall property to park semitrailer trucks on.
He believes the site has potential for higher and better use.
One possible tenant is a home improvement store that would employ up to 50 people. Plans submitted to the Planning Department show possible construction of an 80,133-square-foot structure with a parking lot and loading dock. (The applicant for the proposed Floor & Decor store asked that its special use permit request be laid over until January.)
Other possible tenants, Blumkin said, include a few fast-food restaurants.
OMAHA RENTS ON UPWARD TREND, WHILE LINCOLN SEES DIP
Of 100 large U.S. markets, Omaha and Lincoln ranked among the 25 least expensive to rent an apartment, according to Zumper's latest rent report. Zumper.com, a privately held rental marketplace, looked at asking rents and found that the median one-bedroom rent in Omaha was $830 last month, up 3.8% over last year at the same time. The median two-bedroom unit rent was about $1,090, an increase of about 11% compared to this time last year.
Lincoln, on the other hand, saw a 2.5% dip in one-bedroom rents in November compared to the year before. Median rent for single bedroom units last month was a reported $790.
For two-bedroom units in Lincoln, Zumper said that median rent of $920 last month remained flat compared to the same month in 2019.