When Don Linscott found out that the northeast corner of 48th and Holdrege streets was going to be available for redevelopment, he thought it was a perfect site for his friend, Brad Schafer.
Schafer's firm, Schafer Richardson, has been developing apartment and mixed-use projects in its home state of Minnesota for more than 30 years.
Linscott said he thought the site was a good one for a building with retail on the first floor and apartments upstairs. Schafer agreed, and the two men struck a deal to partner on the project.
The result is Square at Forty-Eight, a five-story mixed-use building that Linscott, Schafer and others showed off Tuesday.
The residential portion of the project actually opened Sept. 1, and 29 of the 98 apartments are now leased, said Pamela Flynn with The Lund Co. of Omaha, which is managing the residential part of the building.
Flynn said tenants so far are a mix of graduate students attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, single couples and empty-nesters.
She said the interest and response so far has been good.
"People love the location," Flynn said.
The first-floor commercial spaces are vacant at this point, but Linscott, whose company, Greenleaf Properties, is responsible for the leasing, said he has some deals in the works.
He said he has a signed letter of intent from a nail salon and also is in negotiations with a coffee shop, a sandwich shop, a sit-down restaurant and a walk-in medical clinic.
Linscott said it will probably be early in 2018 before any tenants actually open.
The nearly $20 million project replaced a couple of iconic Lincoln businesses that had been around for decades: Tastee Inn and Murphy's QP.
But both city officials and neighbors are generally happy with the redevelopment.
"We love our old buildings, but we have to grow the city, too," said Mayor Chris Beutler, who noted he was happy to see a city-aided redevelopment project outside the downtown area.
City Councilwoman Cyndi Lamm, who represents northeast Lincoln, said it was exciting to see the project come alive, from planning to demolition to construction and now to an occupied building.
"This is a great project for northeast Lincoln," she said. "It's a great symbol of the growth that's going on here."