Revitalizing Omaha's Core

Development in Omaha has historically been concentrated along the city’s western edge, stretching the city’s boundaries. With the increase of redevelopment within the city in recent years, many opportunities have emerged for rethinking our older parts of town. While these sites bring with them a mixed bag of pre-existing site conditions, the possibilities are exciting. The Duke of Omaha is a perfect example of this.

Revitalizing Omaha's Core

Kyle Haase, Planning Services Assistant Manager

I remember hearing that The Giddings Group, out of Augusta, Georgia, had chosen E&A for their first project in Omaha. They recognized the growth and strong economy in the city and knew that they wanted their next major project to be here. They envisioned a gated luxury apartment community with a clubhouse, pool, dog park, yoga room and sky lounge, along with easy pedestrian access to surrounding businesses.

They acquired a site just north of Dodge, on 46th Street. It was an ideal location, given plans for development at UNMC and ongoing growth in the Blackstone district.

But, it had more than its share of challenges. It was zoned industrial and almost entirely paved, having most recently served as a concrete processing facility. It was very long and narrow, with 58’ of grade change, as shown in the photo below. It also had numerous existing easements and underground tunnels.

One of these constraints ended up creating an unexpected amenity for the project. We were able to use the extreme grade change across the site to position the apartment doors right up against 46th Street and still have parking garages in the back. The result reminds me of a brownstone neighborhood. The Duke’s relation to 46th Street was an important consideration in the design, as it needed to feel as if it had always been a part of the historic Dundee neighborhood. The grade change also allowed me to create an elevated pool off of the clubhouse with pool deck views of downtown Omaha.

Working with the client and the architect, we provided a gated site plan that included 283 residential units, a leasing office, clubhouse and external amenities including a pool, grill areas, outdoor fireplace and a dog park.

E&A provided numerous disciplines necessary for the project, including land surveying, environmental, site planning, landscaping, amenity design, visioning, entitlements and civil services. Having all of these disciplines in-house helped to streamline communication throughout the project.

Creating a vision and amenity package for The Duke was a highlight of the job for me, personally. Along with my team, I got to be involved with the design, visioning and landscaping of the elevated pool, grill areas and dog park.

Being able to take a client’s vision and help them turn that into a reality is one of the highlights of my job at E&A.