The latest redevelopment proposed for north downtown Omaha calls for building more than 200 apartments on the Micklin Lumber/Ace Hardware Store site at 20th and Izard Streets.

College students, mainly from Creighton University, would be the target market for The Muse apartments, according to city documents.

It would be another part of the neighborhood’s conversion away from its historic roots. Micklin Lumber is liquidating after 97 years of business.

“This is a huge infusion of investment in this area that hasn’t seen it in decades,” Bridget Hadley, a City of Omaha economic development planner, told the city’s Planning Board last week.

The apartments would be about two blocks northwest of the new Creighton dental school, which is being built at 21st and Cuming Streets.

The developer is the Vecino Group, based in Springfield, Missouri. The company specializes in affordable housing and student housing.

Vecino proposes to demolish the Micklin Lumber/Ace Hardware buildings and erect a four-story apartment complex.

It would boast 240 apartments, according to city documents. That could include about 100 one-bedroom apartments, 60 two-bedroom units, more than 60 studio apartments and 20 four-bedroom apartments. Rents would range from $885 a month for a studio to $2,500 for a four-bedroom.

It would be a “lease-by-the-bed” operation, city documents said. Each roommate would sign a lease for his or her portion of the rent. The leases are typically guaranteed by students’ parents.

There would be a pool, outdoor recreation area and bike storage. The complex would also include space for startup businesses, which could be generated by Creighton’s business school, Hadley said.

There would be surface parking lots to the north, across Nicholas Street, and to the east, across Florence Boulevard.

The development would cost about $31 million. The Vecino Group is seeking up to $5.4 million in tax-increment financing.

The Planning Board voted Wednesday to recommend that the Omaha City Council approve a redevelopment plan and the tax-increment financing for the project.

The name of the development may ring a bell with people who have been around Omaha for a while. It caused a degree of mirth at the Planning Board’s pre-meeting. Longtime Omahans may recall The Muse Theater, which provided entertainment at 24th and Farnam Streets for many years, until closing in 1984. In the 1960s, ’70s and early ’80s, it showed adult films.

The TIF would go toward site acquisition and environmental, architectural and engineering costs. Part of the site operated as the Omaha Motor Railroad Co. in the 1890s, the city documents say. An environmental study found various contaminants in the soil that would require remediation.

The site is about a mile from the Creighton University Medical Center, which another developer plans to turn into 700-plus apartments after the hospital relocates this year.

Omaha Planning Director James Thele said real estate developers’ market studies indicate demand for more housing in the area.

“We’re glad to see investment occurring in the area,” Thele said.

Chris Burbach covers the Douglas County Board, Planning Board and other local government bodies, as well as local neighborhood issues. Follow him on Twitter @chrisburbach. Phone: 402-444-1057.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.