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Multiple historic Blackstone homes to be demolished for UNMC student housing

Posted at 9:24 PM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 23:41:14-04
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center is building student housing in place of historic homes
  • Blackstone Neighborhood Association Presidents is happy for new development but doesn't want the area to lose its character
  • Watch to learn more about development coming to Blackstone

Omaha's past and it's future is clashing in Blackstone as the University of Nebraska Medical Center pushes for more student housing in place of historic homes.

Friday the Board of Regents approved the UNMC Residence Hall Project. The hall will stand at 39 Street & Dewey Avenue, in place of 7 homes that are on the National Register of Historic Homes.

"It's hard to lose friends whether it's our human friends or our house friends," said Blackstone Neighborhood Association President Mark Maser.

Construction of the residence hall will begin October 2024 and expected to be ready for students to move-in August 2026.

"UNMC is grateful to the Board of Regents for allowing us to move forward in the planning of a facility that will better accommodate tomorrow’s health care professionals while they are students on campus," said UNMC in a statement to KMTV 3 News Now.

Maser says the neighborhood is excited by the medical schools growth, but do not want to see the character of the neighborhood fade away.

"All of these buildings, whether their the ones the med center is tearing down or the ones that continue to you know exist in the neighborhood, tell the story of our built history in Omaha through the years," said Maser.

Though each of the homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Homes that does not protect them from being demolished. In order to prevent property from being torn down it must be recognized by The City of Omaha.

"UNMC remains committed to working with neighbors and discussing opportunities to honor the history of the all of the surrounding and adjoining properties and to ensure that the design of the structure is complementary to the character of the historic district, as we have done for decades," said UNMC.

According to Maser the Medical Center has reached out about previous projects, however this time around the community was only given a two day notice.

"We would do anything in our power which sometimes is not very much, but whatever we can do to say take a look at what your doing. It may or may not have an effect. But, maybe the next time the med center has to tear down something they'll say maybe we should talk to the neighborhood first," said Maser.

The Board of Regents told the neighborhood they could relocate the homes, however Maser says they won't have enough time before construction begins in October.