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High tech innovation center planned for North Omaha

Posted: 5:47 PM, Jan 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-08 14:03:10Z
High tech workspace planned for North Omaha

For years, North Omaha has been mostly ignored by developers, but recently, one part of the community near 56th and Ames, has gotten some attention.

"This was just an area that needed something and we were able to come in and do that," says PR Manager for White Lotus, Delaney Nelson.

Developer White Lotus started by renovating Ames Plaza, a former retail mall that now has three tenants including planet fitness. Then, they were on to housing, building 12 family sized apartments to the north of the plaza.

Now they're converting an old bowling alley into a high tech office building.

"How can we create kind of an innovation hub here, so something bright, airy, some place people are excited to go to work, whether that's a call center or a tech center," says Nelson.

One major hope for the project is that it's going to bring good jobs to North Omaha. So for somebody that already lives here, they're not going to have drive downtown just to work.

"We want the people in this area to work here and not have to drive 30 minutes or sit on a bus for 30 minutes to get to where they need to go," says Nelson.

Heartland Workforce Solutions could be considered an early success story in the development in North Omaha.

"We are one positive effect as they have rehabbed this building for us," says Executive Director Erin Porterfield.

Porterfield is working towards not just bringing good jobs to North Omaha, but also for those businesses to provide hands on training. The hope is the new innovation center will do just that.

“The more that we can link businesses looking for talent, build those skills close in proximity, make it easy for the business, make it easy for the job seekers to connect, than it's a win for our community," says Porterfield.

White Lotus is still looking for a couple of tenants that would be the right fit for the high-tech workspace, with an express DMV already planned to open there when the building is done in April.

They’re asking the city council for over $486,000 in TIF financing, which the council will vote on Tuesday.