NuStyle Development is poised to convert another downtown Omaha building into housing — replacing much of the Wells Fargo Bank center with about 200 apartments and indoor parking.
Todd Heistand, co-owner of NuStyle, expects to complete the purchase this week of the roughly 160,000-square-foot complex at 1919 Douglas St.
The $5 million transaction includes office space and almost 80 covered parking stalls. It also includes a surface parking lot on the northwest corner of 20th and Farnam Streets that has about 170 spaces; on that lot, an ATM would remain. The lot could be the site of future development, Heistand said.
Wells Fargo will keep a bank branch on the street level of the building, the bank said. It will lease about 5,000 square feet back from Heistand’s NuStyle.
The change continues NuStyle’s pattern of repurposing old buildings into urban residential living — a trend that included the same developer’s 2011 conversion of the 11-story former Farm Credit building at 19th and Douglas Streets, next to the Wells Fargo center.
Indeed, Heistand said, apartment residents of the former Farm Credit Building (now called The Bank) will benefit from the Wells Fargo center acquisition because, as neighbors, they’ll gain amenities such as indoor parking.
Much work is ahead, he said, including a request to the city for tax-increment financing to assist the conversion project. Design work also is to be done, and the name and other branding touches could be connected to The Bank, Heistand said. If all goes as planned, renovation work could begin this summer on the apartments, and rentals could be available in 2020.
Why this building, at this time? Heistand said the structure, built in 1969, had been on the market a few years and had been only partially occupied. He had been working with the bank and others to plot out a possible path. He said “it was a puzzle,” for example, to figure out how to keep the bank operational while renovating such a structure.
“Wells Fargo wanted to make sure it kept a downtown presence,” Heistand said.
A bank spokeswoman said a “stipulation of the sale” was that Wells would lease back a portion of the building for its branch, though she said it probably would be in a different configuration .
One of NuStyle’s most recent conversion projects last year turned an old power plant near the riverfront into 217 apartments now called The Breakers.
Among other downtown properties it turned into housing are the former 12-story headquarters of the Northwestern Bell telephone company at 19th and Dodge Streets, now a 290-apartment development called the Wire. NuStyle converted the former 19-story headquarters of Northern Natural Gas at 23rd and Dodge Streets into the Highline, with 194 rental units.
World-Herald staff writer Steve Jordon contributed to this report.