About the Civic Center Site . . .

27 Mar

On March 20th, Omaha World Herald announced that Tetrad Property Group was pulling out of redeveloping site of the former Civic Auditorium.  The developer was asking for about $90 million in incentives and the Mayor decided that was a price beyond what the city has offered to other developers.

Google Satellite image of the area being redeveloped.

Before cancelling the deal, Tetrad and the city planned to build a parking garage in addition to the garage already on the property. Please note that there are two parking garages adjacent to the site, as well, plus the numerous surface lots beneath the I-480. This type of planning does not demonstrate any vision for the transportation future of Omaha.

With the expansion of Creighton University, the continued development of North Downtown, and the on going efforts to revitalize our downtown as more than a commuter destination, we have an opportunity with the civic center site. We can create a four-square-block mega development that begins with the assumption that the site will be accessed predominantly be single occupancy automobiles, or we can develop the site in a manner that increases connectivity, values and accommodates all modes of transportation.

We’d like to know what YOU think! Removing all barriers of budget, profitability, TIF, practicality, current zoning, past efforts, and conventional wisdom, let us know what would YOU want to see at the site of the civic auditorium. Your only limits are the current streets bounding the site — within those boundaries, you can do anything. What would you do? Send your ideas to info@modeshiftomaha.org . Drawings, land use proposals, animations, text descriptions, poems, images of foam-board models or sculpted mashed potatoes. You decide what goes between 17th and 19th, Capitol and Chicago in downtown Omaha. Let us know why your idea is valuable — not profitable, but how does it add value to the immediate and broader community? We will publish the best ideas on this blog.

6 Responses to “About the Civic Center Site . . .”

  1. Charles W. Martens March 27, 2018 at 6:17 pm #

    Well, we definitely don’t need a new library on that site! And we don’t need a grocery store that would fill the site with parking spots!

  2. Nick March 27, 2018 at 10:50 pm #

    I would love to see them return this to a 4 block street grid and split those blocks in to individual plots. Allow some townhouse/rowhouses/duplexes to be built along side some 2-4 story office/retail space.

    Being so close to 480 and on the edge of downtown makes this location pretty undesireable.

  3. bsknoelk March 28, 2018 at 7:50 am #

    The only thing this city needs is a parking garage. Please put 8000 spots here, 15 stories tall!

  4. DerekBabb March 28, 2018 at 8:13 am #

    Relying on a single developer is dangerous not to mention it usually comes with a huge give-away by the city. TIF, subsidies, or other breaks to lure developers to a project of this size.

    We should break this into four sites, reconnect 18th and Davenport as through streets and let smaller developers take each of the sites. This could be a great mixed-use area in 3-5 story buildings with ground floor retail. Doesn’t need to be one big thing.

  5. Marty Hosking April 7, 2018 at 1:43 pm #

    Thanks to you guys for posting and blogging this!! I knew this was going to happen–Tetrad played the city. They made the city scramble with the hopes of them doing something. Tetrad was smart–there was never a contract (I did the FOIA investigation) They made the city dip into funds for demolition and asbestos removal ($3,000,000). Then they made a huge demand. That’s not nice is it? And There was a lack of creativity and will on part of the city–and lack of strong negotiation. Maybe we could have saved that $3,000,000s. And maybe we could. have repurposed the Civic that had been completely renovated. Enough about lemons! Let’s make lemonade! Let’s focus on the potential of a much more walkable area, mixed office and townhouse as Derek (above) suggests. There IS plenty of parking as we know from the HDR study that was done. BIG need for developing a true downtown community is grocery and pharmacy. This would be a very good spot for an urban grocery. (I know what you mean Charles–but this is integrated into residential building–see Safeway in Pearl District in Portland and Hyvee in Downtown Des Moines.) This would also be only a block from ORBT. Creighton students would be shoppers there–and would begin to stitch together North Omaha/ North Downtown into the mainstream fabric of the city. I agree, library?? What? I also see condos–there is growing need. THANKS

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