A Chicago-area development company is working with the city on a plan to build on the surface parking lot at 10th and M streets.
Argent Group, which has offices in Chicago and Arlington Heights, Ill., will give a presentation to the Urban Design Committee on Wednesday.
David Landis, head of the city's Urban Development Department, said details still are very preliminary, but the project as proposed would have underground parking, first-floor retail and several floors of rental housing targeted at students.
The city long has sought some kind of development on the site, which is directly south of the Gold's building.
A plan floated in 2006 proposed an above-ground parking garage, retail, offices and housing, but it never went beyond the drawing board.
In 2009, a Beatrice developer floated a $45 million plan that included a hotel, apartments, a restaurant and parking. That proposal ran into opposition and was scaled down. It eventually was approved by the City Council, but it died quietly after the developers failed to secure financing.
Landis said the 10th and M site is one of several on which the city has a standing invitation for request for proposals, and Argent approached the city through that process.
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The parking lot is owned by Randy Acher, who owns the Acher Arms pawn shop, and Landis said he is on board and involved with the proposed development.
According to its website, Argent has developed a variety of projects in the Chicago area, including commercial, retail, luxury high-rise condominiums and student housing.
Mark Hunzeker, a Lincoln attorney representing Argent, said it would be premature to discuss the project in detail at this point.
He said Argent and the city are in the middle of negotiations on the site. Because it is downtown, the site is eligible for tax-increment financing, which could help pay for certain costs of the development, such as demolition, moving utilities and street and sidewalk improvements.
Hunzeker said Wednesday's presentation would give members of the Urban Design Committee a chance to acquaint themselves with the project and raise concerns and offer suggestions.
He said the developers then would bring a more formal plan forward for the November meeting.
"A lot more information will be available fairly soon," Hunzeker said.
He said that, assuming Argent and the city can come to a deal, the company's goal would be to have the housing portion of the development open in time for the start of fall classes in 2015.
"We're trying to move it along at a fairly quick pace," Hunzeker said.
Reach Matt Olberding at 402-473-2647 or email@example.com.