The city received four very different proposals for redeveloping six blocks near downtown Lincoln, ranging from the exotic -- a botanical garden -- to a super-sized version of the city’s original plan.
Mayor Chris Beutler announced in May that the city had created a land package and was looking for a creative developer to redevelop 5 to 7 acres near the Antelope Valley project, around 21st and N streets.
Three of the plans, offered by the Nov. 1 deadline, came from local developers who have previously worked with the city. One came from a nonprofit group that has been hoping to create a botanical garden in Lincoln for several years.
“These are very credible, interesting and exciting proposals," said Wynn Hjermstad, community development manager for the Urban Development Department.
It appears that the developers have put together good development teams with a lot of experience, she said.
“They did think out of the box on what they could do to continue to enhance Antelope Valley,” she said.
“This would not be happening if we had not gotten rid of the flood plain. That is now a prime location, near downtown and adjacent to the channel.”
The land, owned by the city, the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District and Windstream, is along the redeveloped Antelope Creek channel and one block south of the new Union Plaza.
It includes the former Williamson Honda dealership, a Windstream warehouse and some city-owned land, including the historic Muni Pool bathhouse.
The city’s Urban Development Department released portions of the four proposals this week.
A 12-member selection committee picked by the mayor will review the proposals and offer its advice to the mayor, according to Hjermstad. A final proposal could be selected by early next year.
Developer: Plant Oasis Group, a nonprofit affiliated with Lincoln Parks and Recreation and the Lincoln Parks Foundation.
The plan: The north half of the site would be developed as a botanical garden, serving as a center for education, conservation and recreation for the public. There would be a plant conservatory, a year-round structure for rare and exotic plants.
The historic Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph building would be rehabilitated for accessory uses to the conservatory, including administrative offices, public meeting and conference rooms, a café, gift shop, library and classrooms.
The Windstream building's second floor would be considered for mixed use lease space, for office, retail and public meetings.
The bathhouse would be converted into an event building available for rentals and use by the botanical garden.
The site would include two parking lots and would tie into Antelope Valley, the Sunken Gardens and the Children’s Zoo via Capital Parkway and the bike trail.
Funding: Estimates of $10 million to $20 million are very preliminary, said Hjermstad. The group indicates it would have a fund drive.
Lincoln Town Center Redevelopment
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Developers: Team includes Ridge Development, ZSA Realty Group LLC, BVH Architects, Brager Construction Company, Olsson Associates, Seacrest and Kalkowski law firm and Pinnacle Bank.
The plan: This team would like to expand beyond the 5.2 acres owned by the city, incorporating another 18 acres to create a much larger redevelopment district that would be developed over a longer time period.
The developer is proposing a mixed-use urban district "that can set the tone for the entire area and maximize the public’s Antelope Valley investment."
The plan is fairly general but would combine different forms of residential living units with retail and office space. It also would coordinate design, materials, lighting and landscaping within the area.
Funding: Very preliminary estimates indicate there would be around $67 million in private investment with $6 million of city funding through tax increment financing, said Hjermstad.
21st & N Street Redevelopment
Developers: Hoppe Brothers LLC, Hoppe Homes LP and Meadowgreen LLC.
The plan: A mixed use project with retail, including a grocery store; homes and moderate income housing.
It would include a three-story building with 10,800 square feet of retail and commercial space on the ground level and 24 two-bedroom apartments on the upper levels.
The developers intend that a restaurant would be located in the east side of the building with patio dining overlooking Antelope Creek.
The developers also are proposing construction of 64 three-story row houses, sold to market-rate buyers. Each row house would have a two-stall garage. The row houses would be three bedroom units or come with two bedrooms with a den.
The developer plans to renovate the telephone company warehouse into 34 apartments and construct an additional 32 units in a separate building. These apartments would be designated for people with incomes less than 60 percent of the median income and 22 units would be designated for people with severe mental illness. There would be space for a caseworker from CenterPointe Inc. to provide support services.
The proposal includes construction of a 32,000-foot grocery store on the block between 19th and 20th, K to L.
Funding: An estimated $25.9 million in private investment would be combined with about $4.5 million in TIF funding.
Developer: Brookside Partners include Concorde Management & Development and Tallgrass Development.
The plan: The project would include five apartment buildings, each with 22 apartments on three levels, using the land owned by the city and the Lower Platte Natural Resources District, but not the telephone company warehouse.
The upscale apartments, with a range of sizes and configurations, would be designed to appeal to families, young professionals and empty nesters.
Plans also include an outdoor community center with a play structure, shelter and fireplace, and an indoor community center.
The poolhouse would be retained for city offices.
Funding: Developers estimate about $10 million in private investment and $900,000 in TIF funding.
Reach Nancy Hicks at 402-473-7250 or email@example.com.
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