Developer opts to 'go vertical,' adds 3 stories to create more downtown housing

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Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:00 am

The old two-floor Lerner building has grown up — into a taller, five-story structure set to open in late summer as a mix of new retail and residential space.

On Tuesday, the final truss was hoisted to the highest point of what now is called the Limelight Urban Apartment Homes.

That beam brought to an end the framing portion of the $6 million project at 16th and Harney Streets. Workers now will enclose the structure and complete the interior of 40 apartments and 4,000 square feet of main-floor commercial space.

The Ted Seldin Family Trust, which is developing the project with Dicon Corp. as general contractor, said the Limelight is the first downtown Omaha building in recent memory to have floors added on top.

The long-vacant building got its “lift” because key factors fell in place, said Dicon's Royce Maynard and Seldin's Randy Lenhoff.

Built in 1947, the original two-story cement structure was strong enough that workers could build a whole new foundation, a cement footing system, on the existing roof. Said Lenhoff: “The original design was very good — they may have overdesigned it.”

Workers also have reinforced columns with additional structural steel and expanded basement footings to carry the new weight.

Maynard said increased demand for downtown living has boosted rents and made such a project feasible. “There hasn't been a real need to go up before, but as the population density gets higher downtown, you see a need to go vertical.”

The Limelight name recently was changed from “The District” to avoid confusion with another redevelopment area that is referred to as the Capitol District.

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