NuStyle: Riverfront apartments coming to OPPD's original plant site

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:00 am

Omaha's old riverfront power station is destined to become a 135-unit, $30 million apartment building, but there's a lot of work ahead.

“I almost wonder what I'm getting myself into,” said Todd Heistand of NuStyle Development. Thursday, Omaha Public Power District's directors accepted NuStyle's $100,000 bid for the 10-acre site and old Jones Street Station electricity plant.

NuStyle, owned by Heistand and wife Mary, plans a 2016 opening, aiming at young professionals, empty nesters, and others wanting to rent near the Missouri River.

The OPPD property is near ConAgra Foods' headquarters campus, the Old Market and the developing area south of downtown. NuStyle, from Woodbine, Iowa, has converted a dozen old Omaha buildings into residential and commercial space.

The power plant was decommissioned years ago, but OPPD has been paying security and maintenance costs. The power company declared the 10-acre property surplus last February and put it up for sale in August.

Several developers showed interest, but NuStyle submitted the only bid.

OPPD will remove equipment from the plant, and NuStyle will do demolition work this summer and construction next year. “We'll be spending a lot of time to get it ready,” Heistand said. “It needs a lot of work.”

The area also has sewer separation work under way, and OPPD is keeping about 6 acres of its adjacent property with electrical switches, generators and other equipment in place.

Part of the red brick power plant is 10 stories high and other parts lower. The smokestack will be kept for historical purposes.

“It will be pretty cool,” Heistand said, with 12-foot or taller ceilings, industrial-style windows and new units constructed inside. The apartments will rent at market rates, he said. “We'll try to keep them fairly reasonable. They will be nice units, but not super-high-end.”

NuStyle will finish The Wire, a former telephone building at 19th and Dodge Streets, over the coming year, freeing up time for the yet-unnamed power plant project.

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