Developers to create 20-acre telegraph district

Posted by: Marlenia Thornton

Mayor Chris Beutler unveiled a major plan to keep Lincoln vital.

It's a new development near 21st and n spearheaded by Nelnet and Speedway Properties.

"The project will transform the eastern side of downtown to into a vibrant city community and is intended to be catalyst for additional investment all along the Antelope Valley,” Nelnet’s Jeff Noordhoek said.

It will be known as the Telegraph District. The new area will honor that section's long history with telephone companies.

"The entire area will visibly cohesive and gracefully blend Lincoln's past with Lincoln's future,” Mayor Chris Beutler said.

The plan is to turn an aging industrial area into a 20–acre district, full of employment, housing and retail opportunities.

Developers say the project will be twice the size of the West Haymarket.

They believe the transformation is necessary to grow Lincoln.

"The vision for the investment speedway and Nelnet are making in the telegraph district are to help create a community in which the best group of young professionals want to live, raise a family and pursue a meaningful career, Noordhoek said.

The joint venture will bring old buildings back to life as well as construct more than a dozen new ones.

As part of that, Nelnet plans to expand, by moving hundreds of jobs to the old Windstream building.

The price tag on the renovation isn't cheap.

The district is expected to cost more than 50–million dollars, but most of that will come from private funding.

"We love Lincoln. This is our hometown and we want to reinvest here to see Lincoln grow and prosper,” Speedway Properties' Clay Smith said.

Investors hope the area will breathe new life in the east part of town.

The district will be developed in phases and will eventually extend all the way down Antelope Valley Parkway.

Developers plan to have it done with three  to five years.


By: KLKN Newsroom

Press Release: Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that a venture owned by Nelnet and Speedway Properties has been chosen to redevelop the area of 21st and “N” streets.  The proposal by East Downtown Development Corporation, known as EaDo, will create a new 20-acre neighborhood called the Telegraph District to honor the impact of the area’s telephone companies on the local economy for more than 100 years.   Nelnet plans to move hundreds of jobs into the former Windstream office building.  The “live-work” development will also include a variety of housing options, retail space and office facilities, and will be attractive to those who like to use alternative transportation.

“The community’s investment in the Antelope Valley Project and the “N” Street Bikeway are keys to this new development,” Mayor Beutler said.  “New roads and  bridges, new trails and Union Plaza have made the area an attractive option to local entrepreneurs, resulting in this $50 million private sector investment.  This is exactly the kind of investment that was envisioned in the third leg of the Antelope Valley Project – community revitalization.

“The Telegraph District will revitalize an aging industrial area and continue to build Lincoln’s surging economy,” he said.  “The project exemplifies what we can accomplish when the private and public sector work together for the benefit of the community.  The proposed Telegraph District is another demonstration that our vision for Lincoln is working.”

EaDo was chosen as the developer by a selection committee that reviewed two plans submitted in response to the City’s Invitation for Redevelopment Proposals (IFRP).   The Telegraph District proposal goes beyond the 5.3 acres included in the IFRP and extends all the way to Antelope Valley Parkway (19th Street), “K” Street to “O” Street.  The project will be developed in phases and will total about 650,000 square feet when completed.  Design work will begin immediately, with construction on some elements beginning later this year.

Beutler said the Nelnet jobs will create a strong employment base to fuel demand for the project’s housing and retail services.  More than 300 new residential units will be developed, including owner-occupied town homes, rental apartments, lofts and live-work spaces.   The project will restore and repurpose existing historic buildings and add new complementary structures to house  office, housing and retail spaces.