Third Time’s a Charm

October 8, 2013 at 2:22pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I was drafting a post about the absence of news from 10th and M, a block that has seen a couple interesting proposals in the past decade but zero actual action. Instead the block, which sits just south of the Gold’s building, remains a boring ol’ surface parking lot.

And then I saw that news that a new development has been proposed for the block. This time a group from Chicago wants to build underground parking, first floor retail, and student housing. Odds of it actually coming to fruition? Mediocre, if history is any guide.

I’m no developer, but I would suggest a tweak to the plan if they want it to be successful. In addition to the retail space, I would add office space on the second floor. Maybe even on the third, depending on the height of the buildings. 10th and M isn’t exactly a prime destination right now so the retail businesses would get a nice boost from office activity, both from the employees and the customers/clients/whatever. The more people who get drawn to the area to conduct business, the better. The residential tenants aren’t going to generate enough traffic to be of much use. Maybe there would be enough draw from the City-County Building, but I’m skeptical.

That’s all assuming the project moves forward, of course. We’ll see. South Downtown could use the boost, what with the Haymarket and P Street stealing all the attention.

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The Comments

Fletch October 9, 2013 at 4:15pm

Jon Camp is already against it. Of course he seems against most things in recent years. Too long on the council? Too protective of his own interests in the Haymarket? Who knows. It’s tiresome.

Would that be a good location for student housing? I know that’s what they are targeting.

Just Thinkin' October 9, 2013 at 4:55pm

I think the project would get more public support if they weren’t marketing the student housing aspect. I’ve lived in Lincoln a long time and I can’t remember a time when the city was so financially involved with student housing or any other kind of housing project. Aren’t private developers willing and able to move this project along without city financial support? If not, is it a good idea?

Mr. Wilson October 9, 2013 at 5:54pm

It seems like a poor location for student housing to me, but what do I know. Regardless, how is it Camp’s business to second-guess the developer’s market studies? Nobody’s going to spend millions on a project without some sense that it can be successful.

Mr. Wilson October 9, 2013 at 6:04pm

TIF is free money in Lincoln. We’ve thrown TIF at all kinds of projects. Occasionally the funding makes sense; often it’s little more than a handout. Regardless of a developer’s ability to fund a project on their own, they’d be stupid not to at least try for TIF. A project like this is, historically, a sure bet for TIF. Empty parking lot or fancy new buildings and an infusion of new activity Downtown? It’s a no-brainer ... again, from a historical perspective.

Now is TIF actually worth it in the long run? Does Lincoln’s use of TIF make financial sense? I don’t have good answers to those questions.

Mr. T October 11, 2013 at 12:50pm

It sounds like a good idea to me, so long as there is proper flow from the parking garage onto the adjacent streets, particularly 10th. I think the idea is much better than the empty lot the place is now.

Keep in mind, for Camp “animal house” is a code word for “poor young people.” I’m sure whatever apartment is built there will have somewhat steeper rents than other places. Certain there will be some student partying there, but that’s par for the course in a university neighborhood.

I don’t think Camp is a bad guy, but he comes across like the stuffy reverend in the original “Footloose” movie on this one.

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