As travel tech company Sojern settles atop a new office building southwest of 180th Street and West Dodge Road, construction work has begun next door on a sibling structure that will be even taller.

Yards away, ground is being readied for a hotel-condo project. Farther east along the West Dodge corridor, at about 125th Street, a retail center is under construction and is to feature stores including a Pasadena, California-based Blaze Pizza.

A 301-unit luxury apartment complex is to be a future neighbor of the pizzeria.

The projects are among those helping to fill gaps along or just off Omaha’s busy West Dodge thoroughfare.

At the 18125 Burke St. building, where Sojern just moved, a 40,000-square-foot space on the third floor provides more than enough room for the travel data firm’s 150 or so local employees.

Vice President Brent Brummer said the office layout actually allows for 325 people — a number his company hopes to reach within five years.

“We’re very focused on recruiting and hiring — we have big plans for Omaha,” Brummer said. Part of that focus, he said, is on building relationships with area universities and community organizations that can be pipelines for the expanded workforce.

Sojern officially christened its new offices last week. Later this year, the worldwide headquarters of Lindsay Corp. is to move to the same building, which spans 115,000 square feet. With about 94 percent of the building’s space leased, developer Ron Cizek just started construction of another West Dodge Hills office structure.

That sibling building at 18205 Capitol Ave. will be about the same square footage, but one floor taller, rising to four stories. Dale Scott of CBRE/Mega Real Estate, who represents Cizek, said about 10,000 square feet of that second building is committed to a still-to-be-identified company.

The two buildings will share a conference center and fitness area.

“The Omaha growth pattern continues to stay along West Dodge Road and we are excited to be part of that,” said Scott, executive vice president of office brokerage for the local CBRE/Mega.

On about three acres just east of Cizek’s property, Anant Enterprises is working on its Aloft Hotel, 215 S. 181st St., that will include a sports bar and restaurant and private condos on the fifth floor.

A four-story, 60,000-square-foot office building to be anchored by Core Bank is nearing completion on the east side of 180th Street near West Dodge.

Farther east, near 168th and West Dodge, passers-by should soon notice more activity at new car dealership buildings. In early October, Baxter Auto Group plans to move vehicles from its Audi and Volkswagen locations at Westroads to their new homes at the West Dodge Pointe business park north of Village Pointe shopping center.

In addition to building three dealership structures at that site, Baxter will move its corporate headquarters to a four-story office building projected to be complete late next year there.

Going eastward, at a long-vacant site near 125th Street and West Dodge Road just west of the Costco store, a retail center is on track to be completed later this year, said Lockwood Development’s Bob Begley.

Tenants include T-Mobile, Blaze Pizza and a Panera Bread with a drive-through lane. A three-story office building to the north, behind the retail center, is likely to be built in the future, Begley said, but only after an anchor tenant comes forward.

Lockwood sold ground just west of the retail center to McNeil Co., which plans a 301-unit luxury apartment community called Park125 W. Dodge.

Expected to start construction next spring, the project is to feature a resort-style pool, dog park and wash area and large common gathering area, said McNeil spokesman Kent Rasmussen. It’s to be a gated community.

Development of the 27 acres (known as the second phase of Candlewood Hills commercial development) has been delayed for years, in part because of a government-protected drainage corridor and wetlands that prompted a redesign.

Historically, the broader site was purchased in 1948 by Rose Blumkin, founder of Nebraska Furniture Mart. After Mrs. B died in 1998, the land was held by four trusts that benefit the families of her four children.

Costco was erected after the Blumkin “big house,” as the family called it, was torn down in April 2007.

Begley said the site has garnered much attention from potential tenants because of its spot along busy Dodge . He said a few retail bays remain available in the under-construction strip center.

While the area presented some challenges, including how to incorporate the protected wetlands, Rasmussen said that his company was excited to tackle them.

“It was a great site for our end users which provides quick access to West Dodge, extensive shopping nearby and mature trees with great views of Candlewood Lake.”

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