The former downtown Omaha headquarters of Warren Distribution is being demolished, and the company has no plan yet to redevelop the site at 727 S. 13th St., Senior Vice President Jim Douglas said.
Warren moved its corporate operation (and about 110 people) earlier this year to the newly renovated Rail and Commerce Building at 950 S. 10th St.
The company had no luck finding a short-term tenant for its old digs, and costs were mounting to keep the 1942 structure up to par.
“The building had enough issues that it was going to cost us more to keep it watertight and maintained than just to tear it down now,” Douglas said. “It made the most sense.”
Douglas expects the former headquarters to be cleared by the end of the year. While demolition began earlier this month, crews are taking extra precautions to not disturb the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, which is next door to the east.
Warren does not intend to sell the site, which spans about an acre on 13th Street, from Leavenworth to Jones. It will wait to determine its next life until further development takes hold in the area, which includes the Kaneko and other arts- and restaurant-focused spaces.
Douglas envisions, in perhaps a few years, a project with mixed uses to be built. Until then, the land will be green space.
“We’re just going to seed it,” he said.
Founded in 1922, Warren is known for products such as Polar antifreeze and Mag1 automotive lubricants. Its workforce of about 620 is spread among four states; most are in Omaha and Council Bluffs.
Warren earlier had weighed redeveloping the 13th Street structure, where it had been based since the mid-1960s, but that threatened to be too disruptive to business. The company’s leadership wanted to remain in the downtown area, and chose to lease new offices in the historic Rail and Commerce building on the nearby 10th Street corridor.