One of the authors of a midtown Omaha neighborhood’s nascent rebirth hopes his next project will help the area take its next step, toward adding more homeownership.
Real estate developer Jerry Reimer plans to renovate nine rundown, vacant rowhouses at 33rd and Marcy Streets, in the Leavenworth neighborhood, and offer them for sale at about $215,000 a unit.
Reimer plans the same complete rehabilitations that, as a principal in Urban Village, he has used to redevelop hundreds of apartments in old buildings in the area, which is west of downtown Omaha and a few blocks south of Midtown Crossing.
He also plans to renovate a duplex at 3101 Marcy St. and a 12-unit apartment building at 3070 Mason St.
The Omaha Planning Board on Wednesday voted to recommend that the City Council approve $220,000 in tax-increment financing for the $3.1 million project.
The board also gave a thumbs-up Wednesday to another developer’s plan to build townhomes in the area. Steven Held and Little Marcy Redevelopment LLC propose to construct three townhouses at 3036 Marcy St. on vacant land where dilapidated buildings once stood.
Longtime observers see the developments as another step in an upswing that the area has been on since Mutual of Omaha launched Midtown Crossing.
“I lived and redeveloped some buildings in the 30th and Pacific Streets area in the 1980s,” board Chairman R.J. Neary said. “We’ve seen that neighborhood have a rise before, then go down again. This feels completely different.”
Reimer and Urban Village hitched their wagon to Midtown Crossing’s momentum, working within six blocks of that large office, retail, residential and entertainment redevelopment.
They’ve redone several old buildings near Park Avenue and Leavenworth Street, which had become an area where developers feared to tread.
Other developers have gotten in on the area, too. Reimer estimated that there are 1,000 more Class A, or high quality, apartments within a six-block radius of Midtown Crossing than there were before Mutual of Omaha launched the development.
Developer Christian Christensen, noted for redevelopments in downtown Omaha, is building a 154-unit apartment building at Park and Dewey Avenues.
The apartments are working out, Reimer said. Now the area needs more single-family homes. He wants to show other developers it can be done and encourage more to do it.
At Wednesday’s Planning Board meeting, city planner Bridget Hadley said Leavenworth neighborhood housing is 83 percent rental and 17 percent owner-occupied.
The Reimer Properties LLC rowhouses are in two buildings, each two stories tall and about 100 years old. The three-bedroom homes will have such old features as wood floors and exposed brick interior walls, plus all new wiring, plumbing, energy-efficient windows, 2½ or three bathrooms and other modern amenities.
“If nobody will buy them, I’m pretty sure I can rent them,” Reimer said.