A once bustling part of Omaha has lost its luster. South 13th street was a major cultural hub known as Little Bohemia, but now a construction project is underway to bring back the area to its glory days.
“What we're hoping to do is definitely slow down the traffic, the traffic really does fly past these businesses,” said Colleen Mason with P.J. Morgan Real Estate, “What we really hope to see is a neighborhood activated.”
The plan is to narrow down the busy road to two lanes and a turning lane, add more lighting at night and create more murals and art to create that community feel.
“There's been murals and art here for decades and we just want to build on it,” said Mason.
Mason said there's 33-thousand square feet of retail in this project and it's filling up fast with Archetype Coffee going into one of the buildings, two restaurants, a barber shop, salon moving into some of the other buildings. The Bohemian Café will be spilt into three different businesses.
The goal is to also make this corridor pedestrian friendly.
“We have the wide sidewalks but it would be easy to put in nice bike paths and that would be a positive for the Old Market and all of this area ties together,” said CEO of P.J. Morgan Real Estate, P.J. Morgan.
It’s creating that foot traffic currently missing which provides the bread and butter for some of the current businesses feeling the pinch.
“We put a lot of stuff on the sidewalk to get people's attention, sometimes they will stop to because they see something on the sidewalk,” said Terry Bennett, owner of BTR Antiques.
Some other businesses rely on word of mouth like the Ethnic Sandwhich Shop making homemade food for 40 years.
“I'm really excited that the development is finally coming this way I wish it would move a little bit quicker,” said owner Tracy Kyler who is not only excited for new neighbors but how it affects her bottom line.
“I'm excited that other places will come so I can open my hours later and weekends," said Kyler.
This entire project consists of 11 different buildings. The hope is to have this done by this coming Spring.