Mayor Don Wesely today announced that NuStyle Development Corporation of Omaha has been selected to redevelop the Old Federal Building on "P" Street between 9th and 10th streets. The plan by NuStyle, which has extensive experience in the Omaha’s downtown and Old Market areas, was unanimously recommended by a citizen review committee.
NuStyle’s proposal calls for developing the first floor of the building into office and retail uses. The upper floors will be developed into 43 apartments. The third floor courtroom will be converted into a community room, and the basement will be converted into 52 parking stalls.
"The NuStyle proposal is the right project at the right time for this landmark building," said Mayor Wesely. "It maintains the historic character of the building, while creating commercial and residential space that complements the downtown and Haymarket areas. This $7 million investment will also place the property on the tax rolls for the first time."
The redevelopment project also includes the smaller building on the northeast corner of 9 th and "O" streets. The Old City Hall at 920 "O" Street will remain in city ownership. The space just north of these two buildings and south of the Old Federal Building will become pedestrian space with a restaurant.
The city will enter into negotiations with NuStyle and prepare a redevelopment agreement for approval by the City Council. NuStyle hopes to begin construction in January 2003.
The Old Federal Building was built in several phases beginning in 1905, and is considered to be eligible for placement on the National Registrar of Historic Places. It was used as the post office and federal office space until 1969, when the new post office at 7th and "R" and the new federal building at 15th and "O" were completed. The building was then acquired by the City of Lincoln, which declared it surplus in 1987, making it eligible for sale and redevelopment.
The County-City Public Building Commission manages the building, which houses two city departments, Urban Development and Aging Services, and three Lancaster County agencies -- the Veterans’ Services Administration, Probation and Child Support.
The options for relocating these agencies include leasing private office and the possibility of relocating to the third floor of the County-City Building, 555 South 10th, which has about 34,000 square feet of partially finished space.
About 35 state employees are also temporarily located in the Old Federal Building while the Tower of the State Capitol is being renovated. They will return to their Capitol offices as the renovation project in their area of the Capitol is completed.
The Old Federal Building was also used temporarily by the court system as the former County-City Building was renovated into the Justice and Law Enforcement Center.
The city and county offices take up about half of the 58,583 usable square feet in the Old Federal Building. State offices occupy about 40 percent, and about 10 percent is vacant. Because of the uncertainty over the building’s future, needed improvements to the building have been deferred. The cost of making these improvements is at least $2.2 million.
A 1998 study of downtown Lincoln identified the redevelopment of the Old Federal Building as a priority project. In January 2000, the city Urban Development Department and the Downtown Lincoln Association commissioned Leland Consulting Group of Denver, Colorado to study the redevelopment of the building. The Public Building Commission participated in the study. A request for proposals was issued earlier this year, and NuStyle’s proposal was chosen over two others.