OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The former Westmost Inn & Suites at 109th and M Streets in southwest Omaha has sat vacant for more than five years.
But that's changing. Under a new owner, early work has begun to renovate it into a senior living center. 3 News Now saw remains from the old business — such as furniture — being thrown out of windows, collected, and hauled off.
"This is the first thing I heard about when I took office," said Omaha City Councilmember Don Rowe, who was elected roughly a year ago.
His district includes the abandoned hotel.
Rowe received calls for something to be done to the property, which neighbors complained was an eyesore and the cause of other issues.
"It's been sitting here, really as an eyesore," Rowe said. "It's an attractive place for the transient population to come...The fire department's been out here numerous times. Police have been out here numerous times."
The nearly 4-acre property was purchased for $3.75 million last fall by Carlisle Senior Living. Northcon, a construction contractor in Hayden, Idaho, is performing the renovation. Its president, Randy Smith, is also a partial owner of the property, he told 3 News Now in an email. Omaha City Councilmember Don Rowe and Chief Housing Inspector Scott Lane believe it will be a senior living center.
Before a sale, Rowe said he worked to see if anything could be done by the city.
"I seriously thought, maybe it was time for the city to condemn it and bulldoze it," Rowe said. "Problem with that was it would take our whole demolition budget in one year, on one project."
The building was condemned after it was abandoned, says Lane, the chief building inspector. According to the Omaha Planning Department, it does not have a building permit in place for the project yet.
Omaha Police found three police reports at the address dating back to early 2017. They cited at least three people for trespassing and investigated a report of stolen copper.