Transformation of a familiar Old Market warehouse is complete — and now there’s room for more than just retailers, bars and restaurants at the 133-year-old Woolworth building.
Apartment-dwellers have just started to move into the 44 residences carved out of the top three floors of the five-story structure on the northeast corner of 12th and Howard Streets.
On the second floor, 15,000 square feet of new office space was created with an industrial feel, arched entryways and wood floors.
While the Woolworth’s street-level bays for years have been active and occupied — currently with businesses including Stokes and Billy Frog’s — the top floors for decades sat mostly idle except for storage.
Before the $14 million renovation project, upper floors did not meet modern code requirements for commercial and residential users, a city planning report said. The overall project was assisted by state and federal historic tax credits and tax-increment financing.
Kristi Andersen and Chris Mensinger of Colliers International, who are seeking tenants for the commercial space, said it stands out as a completely rehabbed home in a historic district.
“This is as urban an environment as we provide in Omaha,” Mensinger said. “It’s the Old Market, an iconic address.”
The upgrade offers a “big-city feel” with a concierge who will guide visitors and assist residents, Andersen said. Other amenities include fitness, bike and conference rooms and a gathering place illuminated by a skylight atrium that cuts through the building’s core.
“It’s a part of our city’s history,” he said. “To office in a space like this, with views of the Old Market below and (nearby) services in terms of restaurants and shops, is unique and really neat.”
The office floor can be divided into three worksites and house roughly 120 workers.
Renovations began three years ago at the 87,000-square-foot building named after a prominent lawyer and real estate investor who erected it in the 1880s on the site of his former residence.
Current owner John Mahmoud Feddin has said that he viewed the previously inactive space on upper floors as “such a waste.” He said the rehabilitation of the inside and outside was his way of leaving a mark on a city to which he has formed a special bond.