Changes are coming to 74 Dodge, the commercial plaza at 74th and Dodge Streets that is across from the Crossroads Mall.
A restaurant with a drive-through lane and renovated retail space are parts of a major face-lift that would physically split one of the plaza's two main buildings. A second building and its current tenant lineup would remain.
“We're trying to catch the wave of redevelopment going on in that whole area,” said William Stott of Architectural Offices in Omaha, which is working for plaza owner Bourn Advisory Services of Tucson, Ariz.
The 74 Dodge plaza rehabilitation comes as Crossroads Mall redevelopers step up discussions for the proposed $400 million redo of that dying shopping center. The Crossroads' open-air design plan calls for a new lineup of retailers as well as features such as an urban park, above-store offices and luxury loft residences and a hotel.
Currently, the 74 Dodge plaza is made up of primarily two main structures: 7415 Dodge and 7425 Dodge. Stott said no changes currently are planned for the 7425 structure, where tenants include LongHorn Steakhouse, Stereo West Autotoys and Sakura Bana Japanese restaurant.
Along with a new facade, the 7415 property would be reconfigured into two sections to accommodate a drive-through lane for the new eatery. Right now, 7415 is occupied mostly by a Chinese restaurant.
Under the redesign proposed to the Omaha Planning Department, the Chinese restaurant would leave and a regional or national retailer would move in to remodeled space. Discussions have taken place, but no leases have been finalized, Stott said.
The new stand-alone restaurant, which also would have outdoor seating, would be built on the western edge of 7415, and eventually get its own address. About 2,500 square feet would remain in 7415 for office use.
The Planning Board has recommended approval of a special-use permit allowing the restaurant-related and retail renovations and a slight reduction in parking spaces for plaza customers. Off-street parking would decline by eight spaces, for a total of 199 stalls. While the amount is slightly under the required number, the application notes that parking demand is spaced throughout the day as different businesses have different peaks.
Also, Stott said in the planning request, the nearby Lowe's store has a contiguous parking lot with more than its required number of stalls, and many users of both properties access and exit through the adjacent property.
Stott said that under the new configuration of 7415, restaurant use would be dramatically smaller and retail would be larger. “Due to the smaller restaurant with an emphasis on the drive-through, we foresee the actual parking needs within the complex decreasing, with increased traffic during traditional meal times as drivers drive through.”
The City Council must sign off on the changes.