Crossroads Village project eyes first REI store for Nebraska

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Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014 12:00 am

Crossroads Village, the redevelopment project proposed for 72nd and Dodge Streets, has zeroed in on its first retail tenant — Recreational Equipment Inc., better known as REI, the outdoor hiking and camping outfitter.

REI is in negotiations to build a 24,000-square-foot store that would serve as one of the center’s anchors, said Rod Yates, head of OTB Destination who is developing the mall with property owner Frank Krejci.

“Our core strategy is to bring in retailers without a presence in the state,” Yates said Friday. “REI ... sets the tone for the kind of destination development we are striving for.”

The Seattle-based retailer offers apparel and equipment for outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, skiers, bicyclists, campers, rock climbers, backpackers, kayakers and other fans of the so-called “self-propelled” sports. REI does not sell firearms or ammunition. The nearest REI stores are located in Overland Park, Kan., and Denver.

REI is organized as a consumer cooperative and offers a $20 lifetime membership. Members receive, on average, a 10 percent refund annually on eligible purchases, and the cooperative has more than 5 million members. Consumers, however, don’t have to be a member to shop REI or its e-commerce site.

REI operates 131 stores in 33 states and plans to open new stores this spring in Flagstaff, Ariz.; Salem, Ore.; Fairbanks, Alaska; and Columbus, Ohio.

Crossroads Village, a $400million open-air redevelopment, would be built from the ground up. Everything west of the existing parking garage and Target store, which will remain open during all phases, will be torn down. Crossroads would offer 400,000 square feet of retail space and an equal amount of office space, along with 400 residential units, a 135-room hotel, grocery store and 50,000-square-foot fitness club.

The development’s first phase could open as early as June 2016 if Omaha voters approve a $50million general obligation bond issue that would help pay for infrastructure improvements. Developers are seeking a $161 million package of city incentives, including the $50million bond issue that will appear on the May ballot.

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