After 15 years of deterioration and thwarted plans for revival, a historic fixture on Omaha’s most prominent corridor finally could see a $21 million resurrection.
Hotel rooms, condos, retailers and a so-called speakeasy bar would fill the century-old Logan building at 1802 Dodge St. if a Lincoln-based group called Logan Hospitality has its way.
Developer Mike Works said he and fellow investors were attracted to the Logan’s storied past and prime location across from busy St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church and a block from both Central High School and the cleared Civic Auditorium site.
They foresee the new activity on that corner as giving a boost to development north of Dodge and to connecting various and growing parts of the downtown area.
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“There has to be well over 1,000 residents within walking distance,” said Works, who has had a hand in developing other Omaha hotels. “We definitely need to bridge those gaps.”
A different set of investors, 1802 Acquisition LLC, bought the Logan in 2017 and repeatedly declined to divulge a detailed plan. New public documents reveal that those owners now want to sell to Works’ group, which first seeks assurance that Omaha officials will approve public incentives.
The Omaha City Planning Board this month is to consider a request for nearly $2.8 million in tax-increment financing. The developer also plans to request approval to levy an occupation tax. Works said the additional tax would affect guests in the hotel rooms, a vast majority of whom would be from out of town.
Spanning more than 80,000 square feet and rising seven stories, the Logan has deteriorated and currently is flagged with a city-issued “Danger — Closed” placard. Still, Works raved over features such as lots of windows and concrete pillars and an interior courtyard.
The Logan’s past uses include as a hotel, apartments and a pawnshop.
On the National Register of Historic Places since 2005, the structure was deemed significant for its association with changes in Omaha’s street elevation (aimed at making the city more accessible to automobile owners), and with the city’s post World War I building boom and rental housing market.
The massive regrading of that part of Dodge Street hadn’t yet started when the Logan was built in 1918 for Fireproof Building Co., and it opened with a single entrance on Dodge. Major renovations related to the street-reshaping project soon led to another prominent entry on the east side of the building, on 18th, and expanded street-level storefront space.
Under the new proposal, the Logan would become four distinct areas: the boutique hotel; office and retail space; residential condos; and the speakeasy bar.
Upscale hotel rooms with the Indigo brand would number about 90 on the first through sixth floors. A restaurant and bar, meeting space and fitness center would be part of the hotel.
The ground floor area facing 18th Street would be converted to about 4,800 square feet of office and retail space.
The top floor would contain up to a half-dozen residential condos with ceilings 14 feet high and “great views of the city” in all four directions, Works said.
Mezzanine space on the second floor is to transform to the speakeasy, which would be in addition to the hotel bar.
Works said his group would maintain ownership of the hotel but anticipates selling the residential condos, retail and office space, and speakeasy bar to unaffiliated owners after the project is complete.
Most of the renovation would be inside, but landscaping, sidewalk and lighting improvements are to occur outside.
In addition to TIF, financing sources include historic tax credits and owner equity. The hospitality group estimates the value of the renovated property to rise to $14.3 million, up from the 2018 assessed value of $754,000.
Construction and rehabilitation could begin as early as February, provided that the city approves incentives, and could be done by summer 2020. Up to 45 employees would be employed by the hotel.
Logan Hospitality’s TIF application said the property, as is, serves no useful purpose despite occupying a “prime location in the city.”
In 2008, a Kansas City-based developer had hoped to convert the Logan into affordable apartments, but that plan collapsed. The economy has since revved up, and numerous housing and other projects have sprouted in Omaha’s downtown area, including NuStyle Development’s market-rate apartment complexes, the Wire and the Slate, which are neighbors to the Logan.
Works said he is optimistic that something will materialize there. “The civic site will be redeveloped in the future and we’re looking forward to that.”
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There was plan after plan to renovate the Logan Hotel, a historic building at 18th and Dodge Streets. A local architectural firm worked 15 years to see the structure survive.
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