Apartments with a view toward the home of the College World Series could be in store for a patch of city-owned land once embroiled in controversy.
Two local companies, Alchemy Development and Lanoha Development, have submitted proposals to develop the site at 12th and Cass Streets.
The last structure on the 33,600-square-foot area was a now-dismantled condo showroom and office for the failed WallStreet Tower project. The city had to turn to the courts to regain control of the Cass Street parcel after it sat idle for years as an out-of-town developer’s dream for the tower at 14th and Dodge Streets never got off the ground.
City officials recently put out a request for proposals to develop the 12th and Cass Streets site valued now at $910,000. The candidates are to be interviewed by a committee of various city department heads in early October. The top choice is to be approved by the mayor and City Council.
City Attorney Paul Kratz said factors beyond price will be considered when choosing the winner.
Among the city’s objectives, according to public documents, is for the project to encourage a lively, pedestrian-oriented urban neighborhood that expands jobs and residential opportunities.
Both proposals offer residential living as a focus, but they look different and offer contrasting amenities.
Alchemy’s plan is primarily housing, calling for construction of a five-story, L-shaped structure with 78 apartments and indoor parking.
A rooftop deck would be carved out of a top-floor space, offering a view of TD Ameritrade Park and the CenturyLink Center.
The $10.8 million project would seek $1.2 million in tax-increment financing and be called Factory 12 — a nod to the Old Mattress Factory restaurant across the street and to 12th Street, said Alchemy’s Bert Hancock.
Owners of the Old Mattress Factory are signed on as co-developers. Also involved in Factory 12 are Holland Basham Architects and Dicon Construction.
While the Alchemy project won’t offer retail space, its street level will feature big glass windows through which pedestrians can see fitness and community rooms. “It gives it some liveliness at the ground-floor level,” Hancock said.
Competitor Lanoha proposes a four-story complex with fewer apartments, 45, but with office and retail space as well.
The first floor would contain retail and office bays, a lobby and 50 parking stalls. The second level would be made up of offices and a covered terrace, and the third and fourth floors would contain apartments.
Lanoha’s design by Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture also features a third-floor deck and a community space.
Jason Lanoha of Lanoha Development declined to disclose the project’s price tag. He said his firm chose a mixed-use approach to add around-the-clock action that he said would move north downtown forward.
“When office workers are leaving, residents are arriving back home,” Lanoha said.
Hancock said he and his partners were attracted to the growing area of north downtown, even with the challenges associated with the property’s proximity to the Interstate.
“We love the idea of being a part of what is happening on the north side of downtown,” Hancock said, citing the nearby CenturyLink Center, TD Ameritrade Park, Creighton University, the Slowdown and future development planned for the Yard parking site.
“All of that points toward a direction of making the north side much more exciting, not just for entertainment, but as a place to live,” he said.
Kratz declined to provide any detail on the two plans, calling such details potentially proprietary information and part of an ongoing real estate deal.
He said that although the request for proposals process has long been a way that the city sells or develops property, the improved economy and commercial market has led to increased interest in downtown parcels. Among recent higher-profile deals by the city:
» Last year, the city picked Tetrad Property Group over a Minnesota-based group to redevelop the old Civic Auditorium downtown.
» In late 2011, the city chose Mike Moylan’s Shamrock Development over another bidder to develop the intersection of 10th Street and Capitol Avenue. Construction work on the Capitol District project began this year.
» The Lerner building at 16th and Harney Streets was sold in 2012 for $157,500 to Dicon Corp. and Seldin Co., which completed rehabilitation and additions to the structure in 2014. The owners of what is now called the Limelight Urban Apartment Lofts building were under a two-year deadline to start the project, or the structure was to revert back to the city.
The city included that two-year-deadline following the failure of the WallStreet Tower project, which saw the city lose ownership of the former Union Pacific headquarters site at 14th and Dodge with no development to show for it.
Two developers had offered choices for the reuse of the former U.P. land. Kansas City-based Townsend Inc. was selected by the Mike Fahey administration, paid $1 for the property and later paid to demolish the U.P. structure.
Lanoha Development last year bought that block from Townsend for $2.75 million. It hasn’t secured tenants but envisions sometime in the future a high-rise tower with housing, office, retail and parking.
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