City Council hears plans for Bishop Heights Mall renovation | local government

The developers want to transform the old Shopko that anchored the Bishop Heights mall at 27th Street and Nebraska 2 for years into a new retail space, possibly complete with a 150-room hotel.

It is part of plans to redevelop the now nearly vacant center which will eventually include 230 luxury apartments, new office space and some major pathway improvements along the cycle paths that run along the eastern and northern parts of the property.

“The site’s vision is to create a revitalized, pedestrian-focused neighborhood destination that offers a mix of amenities for nearby residents,” DaNay Kalkowski, the attorney representing three developers involved in the project, told City Council on Monday.

Council is considering zoning changes and whether the redevelopment plan conforms to the overall Lincoln-Lancaster County plan. They will vote at the June 20 meeting.

The mall has remained nearly vacant since Shopko closed in 2019 and the retailer filed for bankruptcy. A Wells Fargo bank branch and an Arby’s remain there, and the fast food restaurant wants to modernize the building.

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RED Development, owner of the building that once housed Shopko and other businesses, plans to tear it down and develop either 70,000 square feet of commercial space with retail stores, restaurants and offices, or 50,000 square feet of commercial space. commercial space and a hotel.

EPC Real Estate Group, a company based in Overland Park, Kansas, plans to build a five-story, 230-unit luxury apartment complex.

White Development Co. owns the former US Bank branch building in the northwest part of the site, which it plans to demolish and convert into one larger office building or two smaller ones, with a maximum of 45,000 square feet of space.

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Two bike lanes run along the grounds, and Kalkowski told council developers they plan to significantly improve the lanes.

Kalkowski said that because the development has 1,474 linear feet along the trails, there will be parking lots adjoining those trails, but the developer will include berms as barriers. Developers will also encourage tenants to add patios and decks.

Trail improvements include the addition of three new sidewalk connections to the Helen Boosalis and Rock Island trails from apartments and commercial areas, additional landscaping, and the construction of shared parking spaces at the trailhead and installation of bike racks along the south side of the property, where the Rock Island Trail passes along Nebraska 2.

Some neighbors have expressed concerns about the potential for increased traffic, but a traffic study submitted with the plans shows that while traffic would increase in the morning, it would decrease by 28% in the evening and 18% overall.

Developers also hope the opening of the South Beltway will reduce truck traffic along Nebraska 2, Kalkowski said. The existing 27th Street – which has never been widened – creates a situation that the developer must circumvent.

“I think we’re just dealing with an existing situation and there’s not much we can do at this point to improve it,” she said. “We work in a built environment and community decisions are made to ensure that it is.”

The cost of the development is estimated at nearly $90 million, with nearly $78 million coming from developers and between $9 and $11 million coming from the city in the form of tax increase funding, which allows developers to use the future property taxes generated. by projects to pay some initial costs.

City Council previously approved a plague designation for the center, making it eligible for TIF, and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission voted unanimously to find the plan consistent with the city’s overall plan. and county.

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Contact the writer at 402-473-7226 or [email protected]

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