OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Wednesday, Mayor Jean Stothert announced that Mutual of Omaha would be moving into the space where the current downtown library sits.
After months of questions, the fate of the W.Dale Clark Library is a little clearer.
Mutual of Omaha says they’ll be moving their headquarters onto the coveted lot, building a skyscraper that could be the tallest in the Omaha skyline.
"It’s so important with their 4,000 plus employees that they are keeping that business and that employment in the downtown core," Stothert said. "It’s closer to North Omaha. It’s closer to South Omaha, that’s why that development of the urban core is so important.”
Mutual of Omaha CEO James Blackledge said the company plans to keep the land where their current headquarters sit as well as a nearby piece of property, for future development in the Midtown area.
Blackledge said a big part of their decision was the announcement that a streetcar would be coming to the area.
“These plans represent kind of a rare win-win for the city, a significant investment in the vitality of the downtown urban core, as well as the ongoing development in Midtown," Blackledge.
Mayor Stothert described the deal with Mutual of Omaha as a land swap for a plot of land at 14th and Dodge St.
"We estimate that those two properties are going to be essentially the same in value, and we’re going to do a land swap," Stothert said. "We’ll give Mutual the Dale Clark Library site, which we own, and then the City of Omaha will get back - that we had before- the old U.P. site.”
But what will happen to the library currently across the street from the Gene Leahy Mall?
City council will likely be voting on moving the downtown branch to a new location on Jones St. come next Tuesday.
Councilmember Danny Begley said he’s excited about bringing Mutual of Omaha to the Downtown area but isn’t sold on moving the library to Jones street.
"I’m not going to be rushed, because I’m excited," Begley said. "I want to make the right decisions, something we can do better. We can do great with this library, and I think we’ve got to be patient find where that spot is.”
The timeline now is to have the library moved out by September, and have the building torn down by December.
Mutual hopes to break ground in January of 2023 and by in their new skyscraper by 2026.
The city council is scheduled to vote on whether or not to move the downtown library to Jones St. next Tuesday.