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Could big new brands come to a Gretna entertainment district? Nebraska bill aims to attract development

Posted at 7:24 PM, Mar 10, 2023

GRETNA, Neb. (KMTV) — Ikea, Crate and Barrel and Restoration Hardware are the kind of destination brands not yet available in the area that developers are dreaming about in Gretna, Nebraska State Sen. Lou Ann Linehan says.

Linehan, of Elkhorn, said she drives by Nebraska Crossing at the intersection of Interstate 80 and Highway 31 every day she heads to Lincoln.

She says she's seen the area "come from someplace that was basically abandoned and an eyesore to a very successful shopping center."

"Those same developers want to turn that into a huge tourist destination area," she said, "And I think it would be amazing, plus there would be hotels, there would be sports complexes, similar to Legends in Kansas City."

Linehan introduced LB 692, the "Good Life Transformational Projects Act," which would make it possible to divert a portion of Nebraska's 5.5% sales tax in new development areas to support new development in the same area. She said the details are in the works, but as introduced, the bill has requirements for a project to qualify, including the expectation that the project would create a certain number of jobs depending on the size of the city and that 20% of sales would come from outside Nebraska.

"We have people going to Kansas City, Denver, Chicago, Des Moines to do shopping," Linehan said.

The bill would help attract businesses that could change that, she said. It would apply to any qualifying project in Nebraska, not just those in Gretna, but that has been the focus.

Mayor Mike Evans testified in support. He said the bill could support the entire state, turning Nebraska from a "drive through" state to a "drive to" state.

"Other states in the country are using these incentive packages to lure these kind of destinations," he said.

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