grace university administration building

Urban Village Development closed Friday on the sale of Grace University's former administration building, at 1311 S. Ninth St.

Neighbors of a proposed 167-unit apartment project south of downtown Omaha voiced concerns Monday about potential parking and traffic woes.

But a spokesman for Urban Village Development said after meeting with them that the organization is “not giving up” on winning support for converting part of the Grace University campus into market-rate apartments.

“We have more work to do,” Scott Semrad said following the neighborhood meeting that drew about 25 area residents to the property, 1311 S. Ninth St. “The last thing we want is a parking problem; it would hurt us filling up the building.”

The Urban Village plan calls for converting a 142,000-square-foot administration/dorm building into efficiency units and one-bedroom units that would rent for upward of $800.

The site has 119 parking spots, Semrad said. He said the developer plans to gain about 55 spaces from surrounding city streets, in some cases by converting stretches to angled parking. A parking waiver would be required from the City of Omaha. Neighborhood parking would be open to the public, too.

Many of those attending said they would prefer fewer apartments and more common amenity spaces. Others questioned why Urban Village doesn’t build a parking structure.

“You’ve already got a parking problem here, before you even start,” said Jeff West, who lives across the street.

Semrad said the developer had looked at those options but found them financially unfeasible.

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