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City Hall: Lied Place construction means work for Que Place garage, too
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City Hall: Lied Place construction means work for Que Place garage, too

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Work is underway to build the skyline-changing Lied Place Residences, and the city could soon begin work of its own on the parking garage adjoining the high-rise.

Lincoln's Parking Services has asked for bids to fill in the open panels on the north side of the eight-floor Que Place Garage. 

Parking Services Manager Wayne Mixdorf said the concrete infill project, estimated to cost $250,000, will wall off the garage, eliminating any risks posed by a 6-inch gap between the parking facility and the new condominium and office tower.

The project will be done on the city's dime, Mixdorf said, without drawing from the $5 million in tax-increment financing approved for the $31 million Lied Place Residences project. 

Most of the TIF funds will go to pay for the building's glass façade and for site acquisition. 

When it's complete, Lied Place will have 37 condos on 15 floors, with a restaurant and lobby at street level and four floors of office space. It will be the second-tallest building in Lincoln, next to the Capitol.

A total of 100 parking spaces in the garage will be made available to the building's occupants and will be sold at market rate, Mixdorf said.

Employees and residents of Lied Place will access the parking garage through the existing elevator towers, Mixdorf added.

The $6.6 million, 810-stall garage opened at 11th and Q streets in October 1994.

Mixdorf said work on the infill project could begin in January and should finish by early May.

Raise a glass

A zoning ordinance exemption carved out by the City Council on Monday will allow residential health care facilities and retirement homes to serve beer and liquor to their residents and guests. 

Kent Seacrest, representing the owners of Eastmont, said the zoning change mirrors one in the 1990s to allow alcohol consumption at golf courses if they were in residential-zoned areas.

Eastmont officials want residents to have the opportunity to buy alcohol at its restaurant or take alcohol purchased at the gift shop to their rooms on the expanding campus at 6315 O St., he said.

Making this exemption extends the ability to enjoy a glass of wine, for example, to some of the city's senior population who have trouble getting out into the community, Seacrest added.

No one opposed it at a public hearing last month.

"This, to my mind, is nothing other than drinking in your own home," Councilman Roy Christensen said.

The City Council approved the measure unanimously.

More garage updates

Work has begun to remove asbestos inside the city's newest parking garage. 

The city acquired the privately owned Eagle Parking Garage earlier this year and took over the lease on the land where the 340-stall facility sits at 14th and N streets. 

Only 15 cars park in the garage daily, but it will close by the end of November as a $5.2 million renovation effort picks up steam, Mixdorf said.

This week, designs to enhance the curb appeal of the 1950s garage were vetted by the city's Urban Design Committee. 

Mixdorf describes the design as an updated look featuring more modern panels facing 14th Street.

Eagle Parking Garage

The city acquired the Eagle Parking Garage, once a private parking facility, earlier this year. A $5.2 million renovation effort (proposed image shown) will seek to enhance the curb appeal of the 1950s garage.

"The N Street side is treated in a more traditional pattern, while the 14th Street side has added color and movement to relate to its location within the Downtown Master Plan's envisioned entertainment district," Stacey Hageman, a city planner, wrote in a memo to the committee.

Removing the asbestos and refurbishing the interior of the garage is expected to be a yearlong effort, with plans to reopen the garage to the public in 2021, Mixdorf said.

The search begins

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird has hired a national search firm to assist in finding the city's next fire chief. 

Prothman Group, based in Washington state, conducted two searches that eventually led to the hiring of Chief Micheal Despain, who will retire in March.

Those searches — a finalist offered the job in November 2015 turned down the city's offer — cost $37,000. The city could pay Prothman up to $29,000 this time around.

Despain, who spent most of his career in California, took the helm of Lincoln Fire and Rescue in July 2016. He has served departments for 35 years. 

Prothman is also leading a national search for a permanent director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. In that case, the city has agreed to pay the firm up to $26,700.

Gaylor Baird on Monday told the City Council her search for a permanent director to lead Lincoln Transportation and Utilities is focused on finding someone in the area. 

Interim Director Tom Casady will stay on through Feb. 29.

See what's going up in Lincoln

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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