Good News at 48th and O

November 11, 2005 at 3:32pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Finally some good news at 48th & O: the city has helped to broker a deal that will put a Walgreens, West Gate Bank, Braeda, and Runza on the southeast corner of the troubled intersection. The city will pay $4.5 million to buy the property from Julius Misle, then sell it to the developers for around $4 million. The $500,000 difference is accounted for by a strip of land retained by the city that will act as a buffer between the development and abutting houses.

On the one hand this development is a trifle disappointing. This new development will just help 48th & O to look like every other commercial development built in Lincoln in the past five years. In that regard this news is newsworthy only for its utter blandness.

The fact remains, however, that the intersection of 48th & O is—or was—going nowhere. I may find it annoying that every strip mall in Lincoln looks the same and includes the same businesses, but that’s no justification for considering this news as anything short of a success for the city. I’m sure neighboring Lincolnites will appreciate the convenience of new places to bank, buy convenience items and drugs, and eat. And surely we all agree that fresh development at the corner is better for the city than the stark, crumbling, empty parking lots currently found there.

I wonder: who from the city was responsible for helping to assemble this deal? The article linked above doesn’t say. Nor does the printed version of the story (which is slightly different). Was it Mayor Colleen Seng? Her photo accompanies the online article, but the only mention of her involvement is that “Mayor Coleen Seng said the $10 million project will bring life back to the area, which has deteriorated into vacant, crumbling expanses peppered with light poles.” Does that mean that she was directly involved in t

he deal, or was she on the sidelines? It is important that Lincolnites know what our mayor is up to. If Mayor Seng did play a critical role in the deal, we need to know so that we can praise her. And if she wasn’t, why the heck not?

Addendum: One thing about Mayor Seng’s role is certain: she has made 48th & O a priority. She has sicced Urban Development and others upon the intersection. She deserves kudos for pushing the issue. I would just like to know how much her involvement went beyond that. I think there’s an important difference between a mayor who pushes an issue indirectly (“You guys go fix this and report back to me when you’re done”), versus one who leads the charge directly. My impression of Mayor Seng is that she more often uses the former technique than the latter. In my opinion she is passive to a fault. I’m curious, however, if she was more active in this particular situation. If so, I would like to give her the credit she is due.

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The Comments

D.M.B. November 11, 2005 at 9:11pm

You’re right, she has made this a priority and it’s really rare to see a large physical connection in a city connected to a public official.  To me, sometimes it’s very hard to see things that were acomplished in a public officials term that will effect me.  And yes the choice of business is a bit dissapointing but, at least something is going up there.  My question is…what about the OTHER corner of 48th & O.  The northeast corner and even further down is just as bad as the southeast corner.  Why not make a plan for both corners?

Mr. Wilson November 11, 2005 at 10:17pm

A deal is still being hamered out on the northeast corner. Hy-Vee was involved in the talks, the last I heard. Sounds like my dream of an urban village isn’t going to happen, not that I expected it to.

Steve November 12, 2005 at 4:26am

I think I’ve mentioned before the problems with access to that piece of land and I don’t think sticking something people can find in much more covenient locations will help.  Walgreens and Runza/Breda haven’t been shy before about shutting down underperforming stores.  I wish they could have found more of a destination-type business for that location.  My vote is for Dave & Buster’s.

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