A Lincoln-based hotel developer has plans to redevelop the site of a former Walmart store in Columbus.

WHO Development wants to build a hotel, apartments and commercial and office space on a 12.2-acre tract on the west side of Columbus that has been vacant for much of the past decade since the giant retailer moved out in the spring of 2005.

The Columbus Planning Commission on Monday gave the green light to the $25 million redevelopment plan by approving an amendment to a previous redevelopment plan that serves as city guide for meeting proposed land uses and building requirements at the site.

The Columbus City Council will consider the proposal at its April 2 meeting.

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The plan will require demolishing a portion of the former Wal-Mart building and repurposing the rest of the structure.

Projections call for the project to consist of multiple phases, including a 75-to-85-room hotel, an approximately 3,000-square-foot commercial space to serve as a bank or other service business, a 55,000-square-foot commercial building, multifamily residential buildings and 40-80 apartment units, an 8,000-square-foot restaurant, office space and a more than 38,000-square-foot indoor storage facility.

The plan as proposed would qualify for $3.2 million in tax-increment financing, which uses the increased property taxes generated by the development to be collateralized into bonds to help pay for portions of the project that have a public benefit.

According to the Nebraska Secretary of State's Office, WHO Development is a new company formed in January by Mike Works, who has developed several hotel projects in Lincoln and elsewhere in the Midwest.

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The Columbus Telegram contributed to this report.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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