OMAHA, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) — Editor’s note: This has been updated to revise the cost of the project.
After sitting vacant and in disrepair for four years, a former 24 Hour Fitness in northwest Omaha is poised to bounce back as a $35 million apartment complex.
In its new form, the obsolete health club will gain heft and height: A single story is to grow into six, and new wings are to be built in the parking lot.
Old parts will be fine-tuned as well, with an indoor pool revamped and an airy lobby retooled as a main entrance for residents of the 150-unit market-rate project.
‘Could be a prototype’
The repurposing of the structure northeast of 120th and Blondo Streets has received a preliminary thumbs up from City of Omaha planning officials, who see it as a good re-use of a derelict infill property.
And while transformation of old office buildings and warehouses into trendy housing has become rather commonplace, a spokesman for the development team said he’s unaware of another health club in the area that has shifted to use as apartments.
“We think it makes a lot of sense,” said J.F. Carter of Omaha-based CFM Realty. “We’re really happy with the plan, and if it goes right, we think this could be a prototype that could be used elsewhere.”
Carter said his team was the original developer and owner of the structure at 2718 N. 118th St., which opened in 1999 with 24 Hour Fitness as its first tenant. AVG Partners of Beverly Hills, California, eventually bought the property.
North Park commercial area
For the past four years or so, the structure has sat empty and grew to be an eyesore at the North Park office and retail park. AVG tapped CFM to redevelop the property, Carter said.
CFM looked at various uses and became intrigued with the apartment idea after seeing a repurposed furniture store that Holland Basham Architects worked on near 72nd and Dodge Streets, Carter said.
That project, the Swivel Apartments, features dwellings built on top of and around the former retail space.
Carter said a market study also showed demand for more apartments in the North Park area.
Yet to be named, the new apartment project will be a combination of brand-new and renovated space. Holland Basham Architects is working on its design, also.
Carter said the footprint of the 40,000-square-foot health club structure will double, with new construction spreading into the parking lot.
Pool, dog park, pickleball
Amenities are to include indoor parking, fitness center, indoor pool, movie room, business center and two clubhouses.
Passers-by along 120th Street will see an outdoor pool, dog park and pickleball court.
The project requires rezoning from its current light industrial use, but the City Planning Board has recommended approval to the City Council.
Eric Englund, assistant planning director, said he expects the transformation to be challenging, but he called it a “great reuse” of an infill property that has sat vacant for years.
Carter put the estimated price tag at $35 million on Wednesday and called it a “win-win” for the North Park office campus and the city tax rolls.
“We love turning a property you don’t know what to do with into a really positive asset,” he said.
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