Retailers take interest in North Omaha as Walmart takes shape

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Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 12:00 am

I was up at the Heartland Workforce Solutions career center this week and on the way back checked out the site of the new Walmart SuperCenter going up at 50th and Ames Streets. There's been major progress on the store, expected to open this coming spring.

The project is drawing interest from other retailers who want to be located near Walmart, said Jeff Keating, vice president of PDM, owner of the strip center next door to the west, where four retail bays are available for lease through The Lerner Co. at $18 to $20 per square foot per year. Keating said there's no question that the presence of the Walmart drives up the rates for retail space around it.

Keating said he's not ready to announce any tenants but is seeing interest from national retail tenants that tend to follow Walmart.

“We've got a lot of activity,” he said. “We have intentionally kind of postponed marketing that property until the Walmart got a little further along so people can really see that it's going to be reality.”

Three of PDM's existing four tenants in the strip -- a payday loan shop, an H&R Block and a kidney dialysis center -- will stay, Keating said. The fourth, the NorthStar Foundation, will move into the new Omaha Home for Boys it is building nearby.

The Walmart property used to be home to a Baker's supermarket and a Walgreens, and later a SuperSaver, Keating said.

Now that shoppers have to leave that part of town for groceries, “Every day you can almost hear a sucking sound of customers,” Keating said. The Walmart is “exactly what's needed.”

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