Student housing, retail to replace parking lot in downtown Lincoln

By: Lauren Fabrizi

What used to be a hot spot for Husker tailgating, is now the site of demolition.

“I really have just no idea what's going in there or what it's about,” Katie McWain, who lives nearby, said.

“What they've done is fascinating to watch the process,” Kent Heikes of Lincoln added.

A six–story building that will include student housing and retail is in the process of being built between 10th and 11th and M and N Streets.

Two developing companies based out of Chicago are teaming up for the $45 million project. It'll be paid through private funding and tax–increment financing.

David Landis of Lincoln's Urban Development Department said it's all in response to student demand for housing in that area.

“They are responding to a known commodity, a market that's out there ready to live in these conditions,” Landis said.

But Landis said the building won't be limited to just students. He said it's designed to target young professionals as well, but anyone can live there.

It will house between 400 and 500 people. There will be stores lining the ground floor, as well as an outdoor pool and an indoor gym on the second floor. There will also be surface parking in addition to an underground parking lot that, together, will fit about 300 cars.

“If you're in downtown, a surface parking lot that generates no density, doesn't add rooftops, doesn't create synergy of housing,” Landis said. “It's much less valuable to a city than six floors of significant investment in density.”

Construction is underway. Officials said the project is expected to be completed by August 2015.