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Editorial, 2/17: Gold's plan a positive sign for downtown Lincoln

Editorial, 2/17: Gold's plan a positive sign for downtown Lincoln

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Golds Building

Updated plans for redevelopment of the Golds Building, shown looking northwest from 11th and N, call for 183 apartments on the renovated upper floors. 

The latest development in the redevelopment of the Gold’s Building in downtown Lincoln in a positive one, indeed.

The newest plans, reported earlier this week in the Journal Star, call for the renovation of the upper floors, resulting in roughly 183 apartment units. The first floor would be set aside for commercial usage, and the basement would be for storage for building residents or others businesses and downtown residents.

Jeff McMahon, former managing partner of the development group that owns SouthPointe Pavilions, leads the group buying the building from Keating Resources, which bought the building for $2.3 million late in 2019 with plans to turn part of the building into a hotel and keep part for existing tenants, who include state workers.

But COVID – and its impact on travel and tourism – forced a change in plans, especially for those involved in hotel development.

McMahon is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln grad, and he told the Journal Star’s Matt Olberding, “I can’t see Lincoln without a healthy Gold’s Building. I’m looking forward to giving it new life and being a major part of downtown Lincoln’s future.”

The Gold’s Building is iconic. Its stature does go beyond its six-story height. And a healthy Gold’s building, filled with studio, and one- to three-bedroom units, would bring more to downtown than a spruced-up building.

For one, McMahon’s group wants to buy an abandoned building adjacent to the Gold’s Building to demolish it and create a small open space. For another, Olberding reported, more than $5 million in tax-increment funding would foot the bill for other improvements.

And then there are the people who would fill those 183 units – people dining, shopping and adding vitality to our downtown. President and CEO of the Downtown Lincoln Association Todd Ogden noted in an email that additional residential use fulfills part of the 2018 Master Plan for downtown and will only make for a “more affordable and accessible urban neighborhood.”

As we’ve seen with many a downtown project, it’s rarely a straight line from concept to construction. There are hurdles in form of local business conditions, the national economy, rising construction costs, even pandemics. But through it all, it’s important to note our downtown has remained a work in progress. And progress has been made.

This new plan for the Gold’s Building is ambitious. And its economic and demographic impact would be a shot in the arm for other downtown development, which remains the heart of Lincoln and a bellwether of our community.

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