Pacific Life leaving downtown Omaha for Aksarben Village, planning $33M, 5-story office building

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Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 12:00 am

A new $33 million, five-story office building is to rise next year at Aksarben Village, and it will become the new home for Pacific Life Insurance Co. of Omaha.

Currently at 1299 Farnam St., Pacific Life's more than 350 employees are outgrowing their space and approaching an expiration on a lease.

The Aksarben Village campus, company officials said, allows for growth as well as a shorter commute for most of the workforce.

“The new office will help employees enjoy work-life balance by providing a location closer to a majority of their residences,” said Carol Sudbeck, senior vice president of human resources and public affairs. “Employees will be able to enjoy a number of amenities, including restaurants, shops, a health club and Aksarben Cinema, all within walking distance.”

Pacific Life will be the anchor tenant of the 125,000-square-foot structure to be constructed on the northeast corner of Mercy Road and Aksarben Drive. It will contain nearly 20,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level for restaurants and shops. Upper office floors will connect by a sky bridge to a new four-story 880-stall parking structure.

“The interesting thing about this geographically is that it will be slightly elevated so it will offer nice vistas over Stinson Park,” said Curt Witzenburg, who with Kurt Cisar designed the structure. Both are with Holland Basham Architects.

The building will be a joint venture of Magnum Development Corp. and McNeil Co., majority owners that previously partnered on the 82,000-square-foot Aksarben Cinema building that McNeil constructed in 2009.

John Hughes of Magnum said the new retail space will allow room for shops and restaurants that have been looking to move to the village.

He estimated that by 2015, there will be more than 6,500 people working in the village daily.

Aksarben now is the headquarters for Omaha employers including First Data Resources, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, DLR Group, Olsson Associates and Gordmans.

“The addition of Pacific Life will further enhance the 'live-work-play' environment of the Village,” Hughes said. The office structure is to be completed in the fall of 2015.

Pacific Life Insurance is a subsidiary of Pacific Mutual Holding Co., headquartered in Newport Beach, Calif. Nationally, the network has more than 2,800 employees. The Omaha office serves as a regional business center that supports Pacific Life's retirement solutions and life insurance divisions.

Pacific Mutual was attracted to Nebraska when the Legislature changed state law so that insurance holding companies could shift domiciles to the state to lower their taxes. Pacific Mutual pledged 250 jobs at the time.

“Pacific Life has enjoyed being part of the Omaha community for almost 10 years,” said Jim Morris, CEO and chairman. “We are committed to maintaining our regional business center operations in the city of Omaha and are pleased to have found a great location for our employees."

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