Demolition of WallStreet Tower condo showroom frees prime downtown spot

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Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013 12:00 am

The City of Omaha is dismantling the former WallStreet Tower showroom in north downtown and will put the city-owned land up for sale, expecting a restaurant, retail store or some other use to occupy the prime real estate west of the CenturyLink Center Omaha.

City government officials leased the parcel of land at 13th and Cass Streets to Kansas-based developer Townsend Inc., which in 2005 envisioned building a 32-story condo and commercial building a few blocks away at 14th and Dodge Streets. That project, however, never got off the ground, and the showroom that was used for marketing the condos sat idle for years.

City Attorney Paul Kratz said there was no doubt the city owned the land, but the question was whether the developer, also known as WallStreet Tower Omaha LLC, had any right to the structure it built.

The City Law Department turned to the courts after the WallStreet group did not respond and recently got a court order affirming the city's control.

Before the start of demolition, the WallStreet Tower group auctioned off contents of the showroom and marketing office, said Julia Roberts of NAI NP Dodge, which had tried to find a tenant for the building in the hope of working out something with the city. Sinks, heating and air-conditioning units and everything removable were sold, leaving the shell, Roberts said.

Kratz said there are “always dreams” but currently no definite vision for the parcel. Possibly an apartment building, retail space or a combination of both could fit well in the developing north downtown area, said Kratz.

Meanwhile, Omaha's Lanoha Development is pursuing the purchase of the 14th and Dodge Streets block from the WallStreet Tower group. Lanoha has said it envisions a high-rise office, housing and retail complex on the former Union Pacific headquarters site.

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