Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert praised Omaha Performing Arts officials Thursday for backing off a deal where the city would have given the arts group three century-old buildings near the Holland Center.

"I can't see how anybody would not think that this is positive," Stothert said on The World-Herald's "10 Minutes With the Mayor."

She said she has asked the City Council to place on file, or essentially kill, the redevelopment agreement that would have approved the city spending $11 million for the buildings.

Stothert had backed Omaha Performing Arts' request for the buildings, saying it was necessary for HDR to build a headquarters on a nearby plot of land that the arts group owns.

But the arts group's plan proved to be controversial because of the price tag and the possibility that the arts organization would tear down the three buildings.

The council was scheduled to vote on the agreement Tuesday.

Stothert said the city has been working with HDR, which will buy a nearby parking lot from the arts group for its international headquarters, to find more parking.

The plan for the new headquarters includes a 1,150-stall garage, Stothert said.

But the company needs 250 more stalls for future expansion.

Stothert said the city is discussing changes to a proposed development at 12th Street and Capitol Avenue to add parking for HDR.

"We think we have good alternatives to meet HDR's parking needs," Stothert said.

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