Nebraska Bookstore

Plans to bring a Nike store to half of the former Nebraska Bookstore at 13th and Q streets have fallen through.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln walked away from negotiations with TFL Development Inc. earlier this month, effectively ending plans to bring a Nike store to downtown Lincoln.

Months of talks between UNL and the company launched by former Husker star Ndamukong Suh failed to produce an agreement for a retail store in the former Nebraska Bookstore space, the university said Tuesday.

In a March 17 letter to A’Jene M. Maxwell, a Detroit-area attorney representing TFL Development, UNL said it will not move forward with the proposed development.

“The University has elected not to move forward with the … project in the manner originally described due to the inability of the parties to come to mutually agreeable terms,” the letter states.

Maxwell did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

UNL spokesman Steve Smith said the university is not pursuing additional negotiations with Suh's company.

“We are evaluating the next steps for that portion of the property,” Smith said.

Nebraska Bookstore closed in June 2015 after the university bought the property at the corner of 13th and Q streets from Neebo Inc. for $4.75 million.

Last October, the NU Board of Regents approved a $1.25 million agreement with TFL Development to buy 17,000 to 19,000 square feet of space within the building.

TFL’s proposal was one of two considered by UNL to bring a “nationally or globally visible retail store” specializing in clothing or footwear to the Lincoln campus.

The university chose TFL’s proposal over one submitted by Tetrad Property Group, which is run by another former Nebraska player, Zack Wiegert.

Tetrad, which is the lead designer of UNL’s research park, Nebraska Innovation Campus, did not disclose in its proposal which retail store it planned to bring to Lincoln.

As part of the initial proposal, Suh’s company agreed to pay a $100,000 deposit to begin redevelopment of the space, plus a monthly fee of $1,000 for 20 years, on top of the $1.25 million purchase price.

But because no agreement was reached, no money changed hands.

Suh, who signed an endorsement contract with Nike shortly after his playing career at Nebraska ended in 2010, appeared at the Niketown in New York City in 2012 to launch sales of the new NFL uniform. He played five NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions before signing a six-year, $114.3 million contract with the Miami Dolphins in 2015.

His off-the-field dealings include real estate, aviation and a friendship with Omaha investor Warren Buffett.

While the Nike store is out, the remainder of the former Nebraska Bookstore is still on track to become the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts.

Announced last November, the 30,000-square-foot facility will expand programs for students interested in filmmaking, game design, television production, theater, advertising, social media, business, architecture and other skills.

The Carson Center, created through a $20 million gift from the late “Tonight Show” host’s foundation, is scheduled to open in 2018.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.


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