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Mayor's Office

2005 Media Releases


Date:
May 19, 2005
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Jeff Cole, Urban Development, 441-7866


Mayor Seng Receives Offer To Buy Surplus City Building

Mayor Coleen J. Seng announced today that a local development group has approached the City with an offer to purchase the City-owned “K” Street storage building at 440 South 8th Street and is interested in redeveloping it into residential housing.

The Downtown Master Plan being developed identifies the area where the “K” Street building is located as potential future residential urban housing. This building currently serves as a storage facility for City, County and State public records and a police evidence warehouse. It also houses a few small City offices.

“Given the unexpected nature of this offer, I think it is only fair that the City examine the private offer and find out if there are others who may have an interest in purchasing the ‘K’ Street building for a use that would be compatible with the residential use envisioned by the proposed Downtown Master Plan currently under discussion,” said Mayor Seng.

The building was built about 1930 and served for 50 years as a power plant. It was decommissioned in 1984. It was declared surplus property in 1987 by the City of Lincoln and sat vacant until 1994. At that time, the building was converted into a warehouse facility when the City, Lancaster County and the State of Nebraska entered into an agreement to use the building as a storage facility for public documents.

“With its distinctive architecture and quality construction, proximity to downtown and the Haymarket, scenic views of the Capitol building and excellent access to the Interstate and airports, I can understand the private interest in redeveloping the building into quality downtown housing,” Seng said.

The Mayor said the offer was made by Heathrow Development, LLC of Lincoln, Nebraska, whose principals are Matt Maude and Katie Halperin. The amount of the offer was not disclosed. The Mayor said the City would maintain the offers as sealed bids to be fair to all those who may want to make an offer. She added that if the City decided to accept any offer, it would have to be for the fair market value of the building as determined by an independent appraisal. The building does not have an assessed value since it is a public building and has never been on the property tax rolls.

If the building were sold to a private developer, it would be added to the property tax base and begin generating property tax revenue for the first time in the building’s history. It could also spur additional private redevelopment that would help kickoff ideas emerging in the proposed Downtown Master Plan currently being discussed.

Mayor Seng indicated that the interest to purchase the building actually comes at an opportune planning moment. Storage at the “K” Street building will reach capacity in the next few years, and a decision will need to be made about accommodating the future storage needs of the City, County and State for public documents. The Mayor said since future needs will need to be addressed, she will convene a panel to develop recommendations on how to meet the long-term record storage needs of the City, County and State.

“The requirements for storing and protecting original public documents have changed since the ‘K’ Street building was converted to a warehouse,” Seng said. “Since there is interest in the current building to put it on the property tax rolls in a higher and better use, it makes financial sense to examine the purchase offers to see if a replacement facility that meets the newer standards and serve future storage needs could be developed with the proceeds of the sale of this building. We don’t know what the outcome will be, but we need to see if it makes financial sense for the taxpayer.”

The Mayor said others with a serious interest in purchasing the building with the intent of redeveloping the “K” Street storage building should submit a formal letter of interest to the City Purchasing Department by Friday, June 24, 2005. Those interested in the building should contact Vince Mejer in the City Purchasing Office.


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