City of Lincoln
2005 Media Releases
Mayor Coleen J. Seng announced today that an agreement has been reached on a $10 million redevelopment project for the south side of “O” Street between 48th and 50th streets. The proposal calls for the construction of a West Gate Bank, a Braeda® Fresh Express Café and a Walgreen’s store. The businesses would employ a total of about 100 people.
“My goal to have this area restored to a bustling retail center is becoming reality,” said Mayor Seng. “I am very pleased to see the City move forward on plans for this prime retail and commercial property in the center of our community. This private investment will create new jobs, increase sales tax revenue and restore vitality to this area.”
A 14,000-square-foot Walgreen’s would be built on the southeast corner of 48th and “O” and would employ about 35 people. A 7,000-square-foot Braeda® Fresh Express Café would be built east of the Walgreen’s and would employ about 50 people. A 6,000-square-foot West Gate Bank and office building would be built on the southwest corner of 50th and “O” and would employ about 12 people.
“All three companies are local and have long track records of quality developments in Lincoln and the State of Nebraska,” said Carl Sjulin, President of West Gate Bank and spokesperson for the development group. “We appreciate the City’s leadership in spearheading this project and overcoming a number of difficult issues that the redevelopment of this property presented. We hope this deal leads to additional private investment and redevelopment of this important area of our City.”
The development will be under construction at the same time the City is widening “O” Street from 45th to 52nd Street. That stretch of “O” will close in March 2006 for the one-year project. The street and the new development both are scheduled to open in the spring of 2007. “The 48th and ‘O’ Street intersection is the second-busiest in Lincoln, which is why it is important to minimize inconvenience to the public and area businesses,” said Mayor Seng.
The 42-acre area bounded by 48th, 52nd, “R” and “N” streets was declared blighted, making potential developers eligible for tax-increment financing (TIF). A request for proposals was issued last spring, and Mayor Seng appointed a citizen committee to review the proposals. The project includes about $500,000 in public site improvements that will be financed by TIF. No City general fund dollars will be used for the development.
“The City negotiated with the property owners and reached agreement to acquire the property without using eminent domain,” said Mayor Seng. “I am very pleased that the agreement includes green space on all sides of the development to buffer the new commercial activity from the adjoining neighborhood.”
Seng said negotiations continue on a redevelopment agreement for the area north of “O” Street. The redevelopment agreement for the south side will be forwarded to the City Council for approval. The agreement will be introduced on the Council agenda Monday, November 14, with a public hearing scheduled for the November 28 Council meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the City a $128,200 assessment grant in September of 2004. The funds will be used for environmental testing, site planning and development of a clean-up plan if hazardous substances are found. The site was the location of an auto dealership and associated uses. The City is working with the EPA on a date for the City to receive the funds.
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