In late 2015, Omaha Performing Arts and HDR announced plans for millions of dollars in new downtown development. OPA planned an expansion of the Holland Performing Arts Center at 11th and Douglas Streets. That site contains three century-old buildings whose possible demolition sparked controversy. The project would be built at the same time as HDR’s high-rise headquarters on land the performing arts group now owns just north of the Holland. In February OPA announced it backed off from the plan.

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Thrusting Alvine into the news was that its home of three decades was one of the century-old buildings targeted for demolition in a plan tied to expansion of Omaha Performing Arts’ Holland Center campus and proposed downtown HDR high-rise. Though OPA and HDR both scrapped their visions, Alvine has decided to stay the course that those plans set into motion for the company.

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HDR would use $3 million to buy the headquarters site, now a parking lot, from the nonprofit Omaha Performing Arts. Other TIF expenses would include $7.9 million in design fees, $5.5 million for special building foundations made necessary by the water table at the site and $1.6 million for improvements to surrounding public streets, sidewalks, parking and landscaping.

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After last year’s demolition of the Clarinda and Page apartments in midtown Omaha, preservation advocates are stinging over the possibility of losing downtown’s Christian Specht Building and two other century-old buildings.

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Plans show two new buildings that would attach to the existing Holland Center, the first a mixed-use facility on the east end of the property, with classrooms, administrative offices, parking and other spaces. The second, between the other two, most likely would provide additional performance space.

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The nonprofit arts organization still will sell the parking lot it owns to HDR Inc. for the architecture and engineering firm's new downtown Omaha headquarters. But the city’s controversial proposal to use $11 million in taxpayer-funded bonds to buy three century-old buildings for Omaha Performing Arts is off.

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