Mayor Chris Beutler announced today that a partnership among the City, Windstream and the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD) has created a rare opportunity to make about seven contiguous acres of property in east downtown available for redevelopment. The Mayor said development of the area near 21st and "N" streets will put property back on the tax rolls, promote job growth and create another economic catalyst for the City.
"The redevelopment project has its roots in the Antelope Valley project, started nearly 15 years ago," Beutler said. "The project has pulled acres of valuable property out of the flood plain and improved traffic flow in the area, a great asset to attracting new investment. The proposed project area has investment potential largely because of the public investment made in Antelope Valley."
The Mayor said the creation of the City's Municipal Services Center (MSC) in the former Experian building also played a role. The Parks and Recreation Department will move some maintenance shops in the project area to the MSC. He said that allows the public property to become private taxable property, easing the property tax burden.
Developers have until November 1 to respond to an invitation for redevelopment proposals (IFRP) for the area, and information is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: 21n). In addition to City buildings, the site includes the former Williamson building owned by the LPSNRD and a Windstream warehouse on the northeast corner of 21st and "L" streets that is no longer heavily used. (The website includes information on Windstream property adjacent to the project site that also is for sale.)
The Mayor credited City Council member Gene Carroll with seeing the potential of partnering with Windstream to create an "unparalleled opportunity."
"Windstream has long been a good corporate citizen in Lincoln and saw the potential benefit to create a really special project in east downtown," Beutler said. "They agreed to allow the City to market their properties together with the City and NRD land. We are grateful for their participation."
Beutler said the process emphasizes historic preservation. The City facilities include the old municipal pool bath house, a 1920s building designed by Lincoln architects Fisk and Meginnis. The Windstream warehouse also is a historic structure. The Mayor said the IFRP strongly encourages preservation and helps potential developers find the economic resources that allow preservation to contribute to the financing of a project. The Mayor also has committed to giving one seat on the project selection committee to a member of the Preservation Association of Lincoln.