It’s huge: nearly 500 acres. It’s a landscape-changer: nearly $1.2 billion of investment is expected. And the spark that charged this so-called West Farm development project in Omaha is Berkshire Hathaway’s Applied Underwriters Inc.
Applied Underwriters purchased the sprawling land — considered a rare catch of green space surrounded by bustling development — as an investment opportunity and updated digs for its main business operation, which has been in Omaha since 1998, developer Jay Noddle has said. Noddle Cos. was tapped to be master developer of the overall project.
Construction on the Applied Underwriters 55-acre office anchor is to begin this summer and will house a local workforce of between 650 and 700. (Applied Underwriters will retain an executive headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area.)
Slated to join the Berkshire affiliate at the expansive site west of Omaha’s historic Boys Town, near 144th Street and West Dodge Road, are high-end retailers, restaurants, about 2,000 housing units, hotel rooms, offices, bike and walk trails and more.
Noddle estimates the build out of the entire village to be spread over as long as 20 years.
The just-getting-started West Farm is among the metro area’s largest developments in the works. Here is a sampling of other projects or proposals closer to downtown, where Berkshire Hathaway shareholders gather for their annual meeting this weekend:
Capitol District (Mostly done.) The $205 million campus recently opened its entertainment plaza area between the 218-unit apartment building and full-service Marriott Hotel. Some taverns have opened; Shamrock Development seeks more bar and retail tenants to fill out other bays. Still to be built is a planned office and retail building.
Capitol Place mixed-use building (Underway.) The multimillion-dollar project rising adjacent to the Marriott Hotel will feature apartments and retail space developed by AmeriSphere Properties.
The Council Bluffs side of the riverfront (Underway.) The River’s Edge mixed-use campus is under construction and expected to bring up to $170 million in public and private investment in condos, apartments, offices and entertainment venues.
The Omaha side of the riverfront (In discussion.) A group of business leaders continues to hold meetings to imagine how to revitalize the riverfront corridor, including possible extension of the Gene Leahy Mall east to the Missouri River, and a children’s museum overlooking the river.
Lot B near CenturyLink Center (In discussion.) The 8-acre lot serves as parking for sporting and convention activities, but is envisioned as a $125 million mixed-use site with restaurants, stores, apartments, open spaces and a hotel.
Conagra campus (Plan unveiled.) Expected to start next year, a proposed $500 million project led by Conagra Brands and a Houston developer calls for nine new buildings that add office, retail, housing and a hotel. It would be built mostly on green space not occupied currently by Conagra’s downsized operation. Conagra moved its headquarters to Chicago in 2016.
Makerhood District (Underway.) A Peter Kiewit Foundation-led group continues to transform a former industrial tract north of Cuming Street into a “makers district” for arts and trades. The group is looking for “creative” tenants for warehouses it has been buying and renovating.
Kiewit campus (Property being cleared.) Construction on Kiewit Corp.’s proposed new headquarters could start this fall on a site bounded by 15th, 16th, Cuming and Mike Fahey Streets. The roughly $75 million project for the Fortune 500 company is to be done as early as 2020.
Alvine Engineering mixed-use complex (Just finished.) Alvine employees have started to move into the new $15.5 million structure at 12th and Cass Streets. Apartment dwellers should follow soon. Ground floor retail space has yet to be filled.
The Atlas mixed-use campus (Underway.) The first wave of apartments is set to open this summer at a former hospital site near 30th and California Streets. The $108 million project is to include 732 apartments and retailers. A pedestrian overpass to Creighton University is being installed.
HDR headquarters (Underway.) By the year’s end, more than 1,000 Omaha-area employees of engineering and architecture firm HDR are to move into a new $113 million, 10-story headquarters building rising at 67th and Frances Streets in the Aksarben Village development. (An earlier plan to build downtown was derailed by a conflict over parking spaces and other issues.)
Turner Park East (Plan unveiled.) Just east of Midtown Crossing, a Minneapolis developer working with Mutual of Omaha has announced a plan but has no start date set for building a mixed-use development of offices, hotel rooms and a city-owned parking structure.
14th and Dodge block (Stalled.) The former Union Pacific headquarters site has been an empty field for a decade. Lanoha Development bought the property in 2014, after a different developer failed, but hopes for a building as high as 25 stories with condos, office and retail have not moved forward without anchor tenants.