102-year-old Omaha home being turned into startup space, offices

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 3:12 pm, Tue Mar 25, 2014.

The old 4,200-square-foot Katelman's Antiques was sold in November and is being renovated to turn it into 10 small offices for startups and other small businesses. 

Over the course of its 102-year existence, 144 S. 39th Street in Omaha's Blackstone neighborhood has seen four generations of a family and 36 years as an antique showroom. Soon it will become a workspace for tech entrepreneurs and other small businesses.

The home is a small piece of the larger neighborhood landscape being crafted by developers Jay Lund and Matt Dwyer of Green Slate Development, but aims to have a big impact on the city's startup community.

Among the other improvements to the intersection at 39th and Farnam streets, the pair is bringing in a high-end coffee shop, a Mexican restaurant, yoga studio, brewery and apartments above some of the businesses.

"We've been very deliberate about our choices," Lund (right) told Silicon Prairie News. "We want to help create culture and community. We want this to be a 24/7 neighborhood.

"We want you to be able to work, play, live, eat and drink all within a few blocks. This space for offices help keep the area lively during the day."

The neighborhood improvements will be underway this spring and the house is currently under renovation with hopes to be completed by early fall. 

The property will have 10 office spaces of varying size, and Lund says prices will range from about $500 to $1,000 per month depending on size. Lund plans to provide office furniture and Wi-Fi along with the price of rent. 

The renovated house also will feature an industrial kitchen, eating area and conference room with flat screen TV for presentations.

While this is a new type of venture for Lund, he says he saw an unexpectedly depressed area with potential for the neighborhood, which is close by other up-and-coming neighborhoods and the Midtown Crossing retail area.

"We had a lot of ideas, from a bed and breakfast to a fraternity house for the nearby Univeristy of Nebraska Medical Center to turning it into apartments, but offices seemed like an in-demand need right now," Lund said.

The developers see anyone from new startups to an independent coder to graphic designers to attorneys filling the space. He sees it almost as a pseudo-incubator space for startups to grow, but without the mentors.

"We want that diverse mix of people to get those great collisions and collaborations that happen when they are all in one space," Lund said.

He says the house itself is in great shape with near flawless wood floors, tall baseboards and other unique architectural features like a large staircase with a fanned half-circle window above it. The stairwell was once a showroom for chandeliers, with dozens of holes remaining in the ceiling from its past as the antique store.

The house was built in 1912 and was a single-family home before it was sold to Katelman's in 1977. The adjoining warehouse was built in 1986 after the antique store outgrew the residential space. The owners retired recently and sold the home to Lund in November.

The house and adjoining warehouse sold for $860,000, according to the Douglas County Assessor's records. 

 

Credit: Photo from Douglas County Assessor's Office. Jay Lund photo from Lund Company website.

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