Business owners give Lincoln City Council an earful on proposed skyscraper

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Strong opposition showed up Monday afternoon as the Lincoln City Council heard public comment on the proposed skyscraper downtown.

“As you deliberate this, please consider that this location is not the best location for this project,” said Russ Bayer of Bayer Family Partnership.

The nearly $90 million Lincoln Bold project would begin construction at Ninth and P Streets this year if it’s approved.

The building would include 33 condos, 77 luxury apartments, four floors of commercial space and a private club.

Steve Glenn, one of the developers, said it will draw people from across the country, bringing business to the area.

“These people that we’re trying to attract are living in New York, Chicago, Silicon Valley and LA,” Glenn said. “They’re well paid, and they’re tremendous people to try to attract to our community. That was our goal, and also to supplement small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

But small business owners in the Haymarket District and the surrounding area were there in opposition.

One of the main concerns was the amount of parking that would be taken from the Haymarket.

Glenn said this wouldn’t be a problem because the developers plan to reserve 200 spots in a parking garage.

“The Haymarket is short of parking today without this building, and we’ve got other residential units going up,” Glenn said. “But this building is 100% valet. If you live in this building, you have to valet your car. We’re not going to allow you to use those street parking.”

Business owners said this won’t help because those 200 spots will take space that could be used by customers.

“Valet won’t matter because they won’t come,” said Kevin Witcher, the owner of Screamers Family Restaurant. “Lincolnites will listen to the news, and they’ll hear of this massive construction project and they’ll just stay home or they’ll go somewhere else.”

Another problem brought up was a lack of communication with the business owners.

Many who came to testify said they weren’t given a say in the plans, which could have made a world of difference.

“Give us a seat at the table,” said Joel Schossow, owner of McKinney’s Irish Pub and Tipsy Tina’s Taco Cantina. “We’re open to suggestions; we’re not just blindly against this project. We think there are things that can be done, and I think if Mr. Glenn sat down with a lot of people in advance, we wouldn’t even be here talking today.”

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