Insurance giant Mutual of Omaha not only intends to relocate its corporate headquarters to the downtown site currently occupied by the W. Dale Clark Library, but it also plans to acquire the city-owned block of land to the east.
Lately, that spot — bounded by 13th, 14th, Farnam and Douglas Streets — has been used to park construction equipment and store material used for the redo of the Gene Leahy Mall.
Under a just-released proposed agreement with the City of Omaha, Mutual would acquire the additional land at “fair market value” and use it as a staging area during construction of its planned $443 million, 800,000-square-foot Mutual office tower.
Mutual has agreed, upon completion of the tower, to landscape and maintain the property across the street in a way that complements the Gene Leahy Mall, according to a spokesperson for Mayor Jean Stothert. The tower is to be built at 215 S. 15th St. by the end of 2026.
City to buy midtown parking garages
In the past, city and business officials have called that city land east of the library a prime spot for business, commerce or other activity to fit in with the remake of that area of downtown Omaha.
Details on the land transaction are among others laid out in the proposed agreement that will be on next week’s Omaha City Council agenda. A public hearing is to be held May 10. The council vote on accepting the agreement is scheduled for May 17.
Also included in the document is the city’s intent to buy Mutual’s existing three parking garages on its midtown Omaha campus for $15,000 a stall — which equates to about $53 million.
The Mayor’s Office said in a statement that the three garages would be operated by the city and help facilitate the reuse of Mutual’s existing buildings and redevelopment around them.
Turner Park, TIF, streetcar
The city is to be responsible for Turner Park, the green space in Mutual’s Midtown Crossing retail and residential campus.
Confirmed also in the agreement is the city’s intent to:
- Operate and own the 2,200-stall parking garage that will be part of the new Mutual downtown office tower.
- Swap the library block with land owned by Mutual developer Lanoha Real Estate on the northwest corner of 14th and Dodge Streets.
- Construct and operate the streetcar, which was a pivotal reason Mutual officials said they wanted to relocate its headquarters and about 4,000 Omaha-area employees downtown.
- Authorize up to $68.6 million in tax-increment financing for the Mutual headquarters project.
Destruction and relocation of the library from the central point of the business district has been controversial. The city is moving forward with plans to move the downtown library services to a building at 14th and Jones Streets and will use a building near 84th and Frederick Streets for administrative services.
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