Lincoln’s planned downtown skyscraper would grow taller than Lied Place
MATT OLBERDING Lincoln Journal Star
The 20-story Lied Place Residences, which last year peaked at 250 feet, making it the second-tallest building in the city after the State Capitol, may not retain that title for long.
The developers propose a 22-story building at Ninth and P Streets that would likely eclipse Lied Place by a few feet.
The building, which will be built on the northwest corner of the intersection, where Melichar’s 66 Sales & Service has been for more than five decades, would combine offices, rental apartments and condominium units.
According to plans submitted to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department, the building would have 36,000 square feet of office space on floors two through five, 70 luxury apartments on floors seven through 15, and 33 condo units on floors seven through 15. floors 16 to 21.
Steve Glenn, one of the development partners, called it a “very dynamic building” that is going to be “transformative for Lincoln”.
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“There’s nothing quite like it between Chicago and Denver,” said Glenn, owner of Lincoln-based Executive Travel and several other companies.
Planned amenities include a members-only club on the building’s rooftop and a host of amenities on the sixth floor for apartment renters that will include a swimming pool, fitness center, co-working suites and laundry station. for pets, he said.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $87 million, including approximately $23 million in tax increment funding, which allows developers to use future property taxes generated by the project to pay for some upfront costs.
A good chunk of the TIF money would likely go towards demolition and site remediation, as underground fuel tanks will need to be removed and any contamination cleaned up before construction begins.
If the project comes to fruition, it will spell the end of Melichar’s – at least in its iconic downtown location – where it has been operated as a family business since its construction in 1969.
Bruce Melichar, whose father was involved in opening the location and whose son, Jeff, now runs day-to-day operations, said he was given a January or February deadline for when the developers will take a final decision on whether the project will go ahead and was told demolition work could begin as early as May.
Although he doesn’t want to leave downtown, where he said the station is “probably doing more business than we’ve ever done,” he has struck a deal to take over the operation of a another Phillips 66 station in Lincoln.
“At least we have a plan that Melichar will still do business in Lincoln, Nebraska,” he said.
If built, the new skyscraper will join a number of other projects that add hundreds of living units to downtown, most in the area bounded by Eighth, 11th, N and Q streets.
They include Atmosphere Lincoln, a 13-story, 320-unit student apartment complex slated to open next summer at the former Journal Star site at 926 P St.; WD Brock Lofts, a 70-unit apartment development at 1030 O St. that is in the planning stage; a redevelopment of the terminal building at 10th and O streets that adds 30 condo units to its upper floors; and the redevelopment of the former Lincoln Electric System headquarters building at 11th and O streets into approximately 20 condos.
Todd Ogden, president and CEO of the Downtown Lincoln Association, said there was strong demand to absorb another 100 downtown residential units.
“Our occupancy rates are always very high, so we more than welcome this type of development in downtown Lincoln,” Ogden said in an email. “More inventory in the market will lead to more competitive prices and attract more people to an area that continues to thrive thanks to its rapid transformation into a 24/7 urban neighborhood.”
He called Glenn a “downtown champion” who, along with his partners, has “put a lot of thought into this development.”
Among Glenn’s partners are his son, Paul; Mike Weatherl, who founded Silverhawk Aviation and now owns a company that provides security and concierge services; and Alexander Carlson, whose family owns ARYSE, a startup that makes high-tech braces.
Glenn said there were a number of other partners in the project, but he declined to name them.
He said the group had been working on development for over five years, and he was careful to note that there was still a lot of work to be done to make this a reality.
“We don’t want to show that it’s a done deal,” he said.
But Glenn said he was optimistic. The development group has secured funding and has 40% of pre-sold condo units, he said, close to its 50% target to begin construction.
The city’s approval process is tentatively set to begin Nov. 2 with a public hearing before the Planning Commission, likely followed later that month by a hearing before City Council.
If all goes according to plan, Glenn said he hopes to be able to start construction next spring, with an expected construction schedule of 24 months.
“We are very excited,” he said. “We want this building to be a catalyst for the city.”
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