Hotel will bring high-rise look to Dodge and Saddle Creek

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Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 12:00 am

A new midtown Omaha hotel — seven stories high, with indoor swimming and parking — is slated to rise southeast of Dodge Street and Saddle Creek Road.

Intended to help cater to the growing University of Nebraska Medical Center campus to the south, the 120-room hotel would bring a big change to the intersection surrounded mostly by fast-food restaurants, residences and other low-rise buildings.

“It's a great area because of the relationship with the medical center and the redevelopment they're doing,” said Larry Jobeun, attorney for developer Douglas Street Lodging LLC. “It's a good fit.”

Still in early stages, the Saddle Creek Midtown project likely will request tax-increment financing, Jobeun said, although he wasn't sure of the amount. Yet to be approved by the City Council, the project has the Planning Board's blessing, contingent on recommendations by city planners that Jobeun said will be accommodated.

No price tag has been made public. As laid out in city records, the hotel would be built on a nearly one-acre site bounded by Dodge Street on the north, Saddle Creek Road on the west and Douglas Street on the south. A remodeled King Kong restaurant and a residential neighborhood make up the eastern border.

One house and a vacant retail Premier bank building are to be razed to make way for the 83,000-square-foot hotel. Its three lower levels would contain a lobby area, offices, a swimming pool and about 125 parking stalls. The remaining floors would be guest rooms.

Holland Basham Architects worked into its design the steep grade change that falls from Dodge Street, the site's northern edge, toward Douglas Street.

“It's a difficult site in the sense that the elevation was pretty tricky,” Jobeun said.

Guests would enter and exit the hotel from Douglas Street. The plan on file with the city notes that direct vehicular access would not be allowed to Saddle Creek Road or Dodge Street, which would be buffered by landscaping.

Final colors and details on the facade of the contemporary style structure will depend on the hotel brand. A spokesman for the developer declined to identify the hotel chain with which it is working.

It would be a limited-services hotel, Jobeun said, and would serve visitors to the Omaha metro area and especially the expanding UNMC campus, which in 2017 is set to open the more than $320 million Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

Said Jobeun: “We have a very innovative, cool design and plan that will be a great addition to Dodge Street and that area.”

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