West Haymarket JPA is purchasing 215 S. Seventh St. from the owners of WRK. The JPA plans to demolish the existing building and build a park, plaza and trail hub in hopes of spurring redevelopment to the south.
A land swap in the West Haymarket is likely to result in a new building project and additional green space.
At a special meeting Tuesday, the West Haymarket Joint Public Agency announced a sale agreement for the vacant lot directly north of the Hudl building.
WRK LLC, which has been involved in several of the building projects in the West Haymarket, has agreed to buy the lot for $1.55 million and plans to construct a mixed-use building at the site.
The 32,400-square-foot lot, which is on the corner of Canopy and Q streets, has an assessed value of $972,000, which is double what it was worth in 2015, according to the Lancaster County Assessor's Office.
The seven-story Hudl headquarters building opened in 2017. When plans for it were announced in 2015, developers at the time said the lot to the north would remain open for development.
The lot has remained vacant while the area around it has developed. South of the Hudl building is the Olsson headquarters building, and Olsson is building a second building to the south. To the north of the vacant lot is the Hobson Place building, which houses a Hyatt Place hotel and condos.
WRK did not have a representative at Tuesday's meeting, and officials could not be reached for comment.
Mayor Chris Beutler said details of what would be built at the site have not been worked out yet, but he said he envisions a building with some mix of retail on the first floor along with office and/or residential space on upper floors.
He said the project is likely to use tax-increment funding.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, the JPA announced plans to purchase the property at 215 S. Seventh St. from the owners of WRK.
The 17,700-square-foot building is the former home of Jacobson Cold Storage and the Demma Fruit Co. It sits on about half an acre of land and is across the street from the Canopy Row building.
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South Canopy LLC, a company owned by WRK partners Robert and Will Scott, bought the former cold-storage building last year for $2 million, although it is only assessed at $727,300.
The JPA is paying just more than $2 million for the property, with plans to demolish the existing building and build a park, plaza and trail hub in hopes of spurring redevelopment to the south.
The property is in the area of a proposed 10-acre "West Park" that the city has designated as one of seven catalyst projects in its 2018 Downtown Master Plan, and buying it "helps us to jump-start the first of those catalyst projects," said City Councilman Carl Eskridge, one of the members of the JPA.
Beutler, in a news release, said the two projects "represent the continuation of the successful West Haymarket buildout and critical first step for the future of the area south of N Street."
"We have found our past success through public-private partnerships, and this is the model we feel is the best way to meet our community vision," he said.
He also pointed out that if the two projects come to fruition it would mean the three blocks south of Pinnacle Bank Arena would be completely built out.
The JPA will hold a public hearing on the proposals at its Dec. 27 meeting, although Beutler said the meeting may be postponed depending on feedback the JPA receives.
Beutler, Eskridge and the other JPA member, University of Nebraska Regent Tim Clare, said they called Tuesday's special meeting/news conference to be transparent about the proposal and give the public plenty of time to analyze the proposal and offer comment on it.
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