Dirt will fly “very soon” on the new HDR Inc. headquarters, the developer told the Omaha City Council on Tuesday as it approved $15 million in tax-increment financing for the project.

The council voted 7-0 to approve the TIF after praising the project and hearing from developer Jay Noddle and city planner Bridget Hadley.

“I want to congratulate you on a wonderful design,” said Councilman Chris Jerram, who represents the area of Aksarben Village, which will house the new headquarters. “There’s a lot of excitement.”

The council’s vote also rescinded a $20 million TIF agreement for the previously planned HDR headquarters downtown.

HDR’s 10-story office building also will include shops, restaurants and parking.

It’s to be built on Aksarben Village’s zone 6, which is northeast of 67th and Frances Streets, the last of Aksarben Village’s zones to be developed.

The developers would own the property. HDR would lease its headquarters.

The tax-increment financing would offset costs such as land acquisition, architectural and engineering work, common area improvements, special foundations made necessary by the soil conditions and fill dirt to elevate the buildings because they’ll be in the Papillion Creek flood plain.

Tax-increment financing, Omaha’s most-used urban redevelopment incentive, allows developers to use a portion of their future property taxes to cover some upfront costs.

Councilwoman Aimee Melton said she’s heard from constituents who see the TIF agreement as “giving money away.”

She noted that the development is expected to retain and create jobs — a city document says the project will help retain 900 permanent jobs in Omaha, create 200 more and relocate 50 to the city, with an anticipated payroll of $126 million.

Noddle also noted that the project allows the Aksarben Village trust to repay the last $580,000 of several million dollars that the city spent on infrastructure costs, including the sewer separation project in that area.

Construction is expected to be finished in early 2019.

HDR announced last year that it had outgrown its previous headquarters and planned to build a new one at 11th and Dodge Streets.

That plan ultimately fell apart over parking negotiations with Omaha Performing Arts, which owned part of the site.

The company decided instead to move to the Aksarben site for a $113 million project.

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