More housing could be coming to the West Haymarket area.
A project that is in the early stages of development would include more than 200 rental units in three buildings, some of which would be subsidized affordable housing.
Lincoln Urban Development Director David Landis said the three buildings would be built on a lot bounded by Canopy, N and O streets that currently serves as a surface parking lot.
Two of the buildings would be built and owned by Speedway Properties and Nelnet, which developed the Canopy Row building, including Canopy Street Market, directly east of the proposed project site.
Those two buildings would include market-rate apartments, along with commercial uses on the first floor.
The other building would be built by the Lincoln Haymarket Development Corp. It would have about 80 units, with a combination of both market-rate and subsidized units.
The buildings, collectively known as Canopy Park, would be built in a "U" shape, with a shared courtyard in the middle, Landis said.
Adding more affordable housing, especially downtown, where housing costs tend to be higher than in the rest of the city, has long been an aim of city officials.
Mayor Chris Beutler in January told the Journal Star that one of his priorities before leaving office is to have the city pay for an affordable-housing study.
The Haymarket Development Corp., which is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing and preserving the Historic Haymarket, is actively involved in affordable housing. It owns both the Grainger Building at Eighth and P streets and the Hardy Building at Eighth and R streets, where one-bedroom units start at less than $400 a month.
Landis said the organization is close to paying off its loans for both of those buildings and is looking to make another investment in affordable housing in the Haymarket area.
Speedway, Nelnet and the Haymarket Development Corp. are "working in concert" as partners on the project, he said.
"We are very excited about the inclusion of a significant number of affordable housing units within this project concept," Landis said. "Building affordable housing in downtown and the Haymarket ensures that everyone benefits from the growth that is happening in our community."
The project is on the agenda for Tuesday's Urban Design Committee meeting. Speedway and Nelnet also are requesting a height waiver to exceed the 75-foot height limit at the site for at least one of their buildings, and that request is tentatively scheduled for the April 17 meeting of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission.
Landis stressed, however, that the project is in its very early stages, and there is still a lot of negotiation going on between developers and the city.
It would likely utilize tax-increment financing, and there are many details to be worked out. Landis did not give an estimate of the project cost or how much TIF it might be eligible for.
"Just because we're taking it to Urban Design doesn't mean we have a deal yet," he said.
Landis did say, however, that the developers have an ambitious timeline.
"We're moving about as quickly as we've ever moved" on a similar project, he said.
The area west of Canopy Park would likely house a public parking garage to mirror the Red 1, Green 2 and Blue 3 garages lining Arena Drive.
The city plans a 10-acre “west park” south of the project site. That park is one of seven "catalysts" identified in the new downtown master plan.