An eight-story apartment building proposed for Omaha’s Dundee area would add a few hundred more housing units and further change the face of a midtown stretch of busy Dodge Street.
The 46 Dodge Apartments project calls for clearing eight aging structures on a 1.4-acre spot southwest of 46th and Dodge Streets to make way for 278 market-rate units.
The project cost, said Kansas City-based developer Gary Hassenflu, is $52 million.
Hassenflu said he was drawn to Omaha because of the growing University of Nebraska Medical Center — and the thirst the campus has created for housing. His interest mounted after learning that the project site was near a future station for Omaha’s Rapid Bus Transit route.
He said his market research shows continued demand for apartments in that area.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on downtown and midtown Omaha for years,” said Hassenflu, of MW Development Enterprises. “We’re excited about being part of that area and sharing economic development.”
He’s not alone. Soon to open just west of the proposed 46 Dodge Apartments is the Dundee Flats, 65 market-rate apartments and ground-floor commercial space that replaced four worn structures.
To the north is the 283-unit Duke complex, which is opening in phases and stretches along the east side of 46th Street from Dodge to California Streets. The first two of five Duke buildings are finished; a third is set to open in May. That 8-acre project is on a former industrial site.
Hundreds of other market-rate apartments are rising in the nearby Blackstone and Aksarben neighborhoods. The Bos project near Saddle Creek Road and Pacific Street will also add 134 units to the market.
The city’s Planning Department has recommended approval of the 46 Dodge project, which will go before the Planning Board on Wednesday. The plan then goes to the City Council, which is being asked to approve up to $9.9 million in tax-increment financing.
Planning Director Dave Fanslau said additional housing along and near Dodge Street is key to the success of the city’s rapid bus system. The Metro transit agency hopes to launch the service by the end of 2020, promising faster travel along the Dodge corridor on sleek new buses that stop at high-tech stations every 10 minutes during rush hours.
Judging from other apartment projects in that area, Fanslau said, city planners foresee no problem filling the new batch of apartments.
“There is a lot going on in this area,” he said. “The economic engine is the medical center; we don’t have any reason to believe the demand (for housing) has gone away.”
While the Saddle Creek Corridor Neighborhood Association favors more housing within its borders, it does not see the 46 Dodge project, as proposed, to be a good fit for their area, said President Alex O’Hanlon.
O’Hanlon said the group would like to see street-level commercial space along Dodge (the project has none) and more sustainable design elements such as green roofs.
In addition, she said, the neighborhood “is rapidly becoming less affordable,” and the association believes that projects benefiting from public incentives should strive to include at least some units at a lesser rent.
Rents at the complex are expected to be $900 to $1,575, depending on unit sizes ranging from studio to two bedrooms, Hassenflu said.
The project contains three floors of indoor parking and a total of 295 stalls. Amenities including a fitness center, theater room and main lobby on street level to help connect with Dodge Street activity, said Jon Waynick of the Kansas City-based Clockwork architecture and design firm.
An outdoor pool and deck area would be built atop the parking structure facing Douglas Street, where residents will enter and exit the garage. Waynick said architects aimed for the garage to look “tucked within the building.”
“That was very important for us,” he said. “Nobody really wants to stare at the side of a parking garage.”
Also on site will be a 72-stall bike rack. Each unit would have a washer and dryer, high ceilings and high-end appliances.
“We have everything from the swimming pool, fire pit, outdoor kitchen, dog park area,” Hassenflu said.
He said 46 Dodge would be his debut project in Omaha, though his company has developed an apartment building in Wahoo, Nebraska. Hassenflu’s portfolio includes Cold Storage Lofts in Kansas City and the Harvester Lofts in Wichita, Kansas.