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Anchor of UNMC's Saddle Creek redevelopment to start rising next year

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Final Renderingsaddlecreek

A rendering of UNMC’s proposed administration facility southwest of Saddle Creek Road and Farnam Street. The complex could take up to four years to complete, a UNMC official said.

Later this spring, University of Nebraska Medical Center officials expect to choose a developer to renovate a historic industrial property on the west side of Saddle Creek Road, creating an “innovation hub” where researchers could transform ideas into new ventures.

The biggest piece of midtown Omaha’s new Saddle Creek redevelopment site should start rising as early as next spring: a 350,000-square-foot administration facility serving the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Planned for the southwest corner of Saddle Creek Road and Farnam Street, the tiered complex could stretch as high as 17 floors and will house work and office space for clinical faculty as well as shops and retail bays.

Perhaps the most notable feature: The roof of the low-rise parking garage will resemble a small park that extends east and over busy Saddle Creek Road. Serving as a pedestrian crossing, the landscaped bridge could be as wide as 60 feet, and will link the new development to the existing UNMC campus.

There had been talk about relocating the four-lane Saddle Creek arterial to the west and creating a grassy flood-preventing valley, but UNMC has since indicated that was improbable.

When the overall, sprawling Saddle Creek redevelopment site is completely built out — that could take a decade or two — it should contain about 1.75 million square feet of building space, said Brian Spencer, director of facilities and clinical space planning for UNMC and Nebraska Medicine. That adds to the 9 million square feet of buildings already at the medical campus.

“Super meaningful campus growth,” said Spencer.

Earlier this year, UNMC officials outlined another piece in store for the Saddle Creek redevelopment tract, which formerly was home to the Omaha Steel Castings operation. The “innovation hub” involves repurposing a couple of existing steel mill structures into 140,000 square feet of space where researchers can transform ideas into new ventures. A food hall, event center and more also are planned.

The price tag of the administrative facility has yet to be finalized, Spencer said. The City of Omaha will own the parking garage; developer T&G Investments (Tetrad Property Group and Goldenrod Cos.) and UNMC likely will share ownership of the office structure, he said.

Also working on the administrative complex: Leo A Daly as lead designer, McCarthy Building Cos. as general contractor, and BranchPattern to help meet sustainability goals.

“Delivering a world-class facility that represents UNMC and the community while providing amenities for future generations is a scenario we are excited to invest in,” said Chad Beeson, president of Tetrad Property Group.

Spencer expects the administrative complex to take up to 48 months to complete. A deteriorating industrial building is to be demolished to make way for the facility.

Passersby in the Saddle Creek area might notice a dirt construction area on the northwest corner of Saddle Creek and Farnam. That corner also is controlled by UNMC, Spencer said, but plans for what might rise there have yet to be made public.

He said UNMC is working to assemble other commercial property along the Saddle Creek corridor that could contribute to the expansion of the medical campus.

The growth not only solidifies the medical center campus as a great place to work, Spencer said, “but makes midtown Omaha the best place to live, work and play.”

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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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