As a sub-consultant to HDR, for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, SB Friedman helped prepare the plan for “North Downtown: Omaha’s New Urban Neighborhood.” The 180-acre, 80-block area was a depressed former railyard and industrial district, but demonstrated strong redevelopment potential given its convenient location relative to Creighton University, the downtown center, and the primary route serving the airport. The firm’s role included review of market conditions based on secondary sources, evaluation of the types of real estate products both prevalent in and missing from the Omaha market, and identification of retail opportunities and their relationship to the Old Market area south of NODO.
We then worked closely with HDR to create a development plan that took advantage of the site’s strategic location between the Qwest Center - Omaha (convention center), Gallup University Campus, and Creighton University. Development concepts were formulated with and without anchors, including the potential for a minor-league baseball stadium.
The Plan recommended a variety of urban housing types targeting the young professional, university-related, and empty-nester markets. Recommendations also included retail and restaurant uses serving those markets as well as the broader potential demand created by the convention center. The neighborhood would be characterized by mid-rise buildings whereby the buildings and their uses addressed the street and activated the sidewalk. A variety of uses were encouraged, both horizontally and vertically.
Results: A comprehensive implementation strategy was included allowing for a phased approach by the City and the private sector and encompassing two intersecting, mixed-use development corridors comprised of four unique sub-districts. Active redevelopment within NODO was underway shortly after the release of the Plan. To date, this includes the headquarters of Saddle Creek Records, TD Ameritrade Park (home of the College World Series), Urban Outfitters, The Ruth Sokolof Theater, housing for Creighton University students, and four hotels. Other elements of the Plan are being actively pursued and a 10- to 15-year build-out is contemplated.