In coming months, development will bring drastic change to the area of 21st and N streets.
The Exchange at Antelope Valley, named after the historic telephone company buildings nearby, will bring 150 to 180 residents closer to downtown.
The $27.6 million project, made attractive to developers because of the recent Antelope Valley revitalization, is unique in its large size.
Fred Hoppe, the developer with Hoppe Brothers, said he thinks it will change the face of east downtown. The rowhouses planned are the first of their kind in Lincoln, he said.
“There isn’t going to be that suburbia feel with this development,” Hoppe said, “but you will have those nice amenities of suburbia.
“While you don’t have a yard, we have rooftop decks that will make for great outdoor living spaces and the trail to Union Plaza will be great for walks on summer nights. It’s going to have a very distinct and unique atmosphere."
The project calls for 63 rowhouses to be marketed to millennial professionals. Another multi-use building will house a restaurant, coffee shop, salon and fitness center on the first floor with 30 large studio apartments above.
Construction begins this spring with completion by summer 2015.
A grocery store, at Antelope Valley Parkway and K Street, is still in the plans and should be completed by the end of July 2015 with a $7.5 million construction cost.
Hoppe said he is confident those plans will come together, and the grocery store will become a hot spot for downtown commuters he expects will shop before and after work. It will also be a welcome addition for new residents to the area and other Near South neighbors, he said.
The rowhouses will be phased in based on owner interest. But at least six units are to be substantially completed by Nov. 1. All units, which should appeal to singles or two people living together, are to be finished by no later than 2018, according to an agreement with the city.
The influx of residents could mean even more redevelopment in the area.
“It will be right off Antelope Valley, a main arterial for Innovation Campus once it's complete,” Hoppe said. “I think this will bring even more to the area.”
Dave Landis, the city’s Urban Development Director, said he thinks the influx of residents will positively affect the nearby neighborhood.
“There’s still a buffer between those folks and neighborhoods as commercial areas still surround (the development),” he said. “In a sense it will create its own atmosphere by taking that former commercial area and turning it into mixed use.”
It’s this kind of infill and building up, not out, that Landis likes to see.
“You want people to use your downtown areas more than from 8 to 5,” he said. “Downtowns that have people leave at 5 lack vitality and investment.
“You want retail, entertainment and activity and reasons for people to gather there and have fun and live in the middle of all that.”
It’s happened at places like the Larson Building and other new student housing projects in the works at 18th and Q streets and near the Gold’s building at 10th and N streets.
Like the Exchange at Antelope Valley, the Fallbrook development off U.S. 34 was a master-planned community, and it took density to attract businesses, says Phil Wenta of NEBCO. Northwest Lincoln’s growth has driven more commercial opportunity, and the area is still growing, he said.
Wenta said he’s seen a “halo effect” of more growth not only in Fallbrook but all of north Lincoln because of the 5- to 7-minute drive and easy access to the booming West Haymarket and downtown.
Landis, the Urban Development Director, said he hopes to see similar growth happen on the east edge of downtown. But it’s more of a challenge to grow in a contained area.
“It’s easier to do that at the edge of the city, but it’s extremely rare to see it being done in a contiguous 5 to 7 acres in east downtown,” Landis said.