A tired-looking 12 acres in Omaha’s Regency area is headed for a complete makeover, as new owners want to mostly wipe the slate and build a high-end office campus with a hotel and retail space.
The redevelopment team is calling the project — which calls for construction of three buildings and renovation of a fourth — Regency Landing.
They want it to feel urban; they want it filled with workers, shoppers and diners.
And while their vision depends on attracting business and retail tenants, spokesmen for the new ownership group say the project’s central and familiar location near 108th and Pacific Streets offers a “rare opportunity.” They say potential tenants already have started to call.
“There’s a convenience factor,” with quick and easy access to Interstate 680, said Darren Hicks of developer Access Commercial. “Yet it has this almost neighborhood quality to it at the same time.”
For Hicks and business partner Kirk Hanson, assembling all the pieces necessary to recharge what they describe as “an increasingly obsolete” business area is a feat that was 10 years in the making.
It started by buying the Regency Lodge, a low-rise, 150-room hotel and event space that had operated under various names for more than 40 years. Demolition of that property, which is the bulk of the 12-acre site, already has begun.
Earlier this month, the Access team, acting on behalf of the local investor partnership, finalized the purchase of two Shaker Place buildings. They also are buying the gas station at the entrance of the campus.
“Persistence pays off,” said Hicks.
A price tag for the overall redevelopment venture has not been determined. Developers said final building designs and configurations will be driven by businesses yet to come forward to claim a spot.
But the projected investment for the initial phase is estimated at $20 million.
That launch includes rehabbing about 66,000 square feet in the bigger Shaker Place structure. Lobbies, mechanical systems, elevators and the façade are to be replaced starting next year.
Some tenants, such as the Twisted Cork Bistro, will stay, developers said, and they’re also seeking new dining, retail and fitness businesses, along with professional firms and small office users.
The second phase calls for a hotel of about 160 rooms to begin construction by the end of 2020. Hicks said it would rise at least twice as high as the former Regency Lodge, which closed a year ago. A brand has yet to be decided.
Hanson said that, even with the proliferation of hotels in the metro area, he foresees plenty of demand from travelers doing business with area companies and hospitals.
The acquisition of nearby TD Ameritrade by an out-of-town competitor could hurt overall hotel and office occupancy in the area if downsizing occurs, Hicks said. The Fortune 1000 company, which opened its 12-story, ticker tape-designed headquarters tower in 2013, employs about 2,300 people locally.
But, Hicks said, the shift shouldn’t derail Regency Landing plans.
“I don’t think it is going to deter us from our path that we’ve been on for some time,” Hicks said. “These short-term adjustments, although impactful in the near term, aren’t going to deter us from our long-term plans.”
The later phases of Regency Landing would bring up to 250,000 square feet of high-end office space in the form of two buildings. One of those is envisioned as a glassy high-rise.
In the end, Hanson and Hicks said, the goal is a dense, more vertical and modern campus where office users, for instance, won’t need in-house cafeterias because they’ll want to eat and be entertained at places in the neighboring retail strip.
It has, within a 5-mile radius, about 115,000 households with an average income nearly 70% higher than the metro area.
Those demographics, the developers said, give them reason to believe they’ll find tenants to fulfill their vision.
“It’s just been a forgotten piece for a long time,” Hanson said.