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OMAHA-Midtown Crossing at Turner Park, a $250-million mixed-use development by Mutual of Omaha, is slated for occupancy in the summer of 2009. It is the first major initiative tied to the Destination Midtown project.

The development, which will be anchored by an expanded and revitalized Turner Park, comprises seven buildings totaling more than one million sf. Plans call for approximately 200,000 sf of space for retail, restaurants and entertainment venues, 300 condos, 300 apartments and corporate extended stay residences, and approximately 2,200 parking spaces.

Chicago-based ECI Investment Advisors Inc. has been tapped as the project developer, and Keith Bawolek, executive vice president, is head of the firm’s newly opened Omaha office. Other members of the project team include Cope Linder Architects of Philadelphia and Holland Basham Architects of Omaha.

Bawolek says that the rejuvenated park, and the retail, residential and entertainment opportunities offered by Midtown Crossing would help shape the future of Midtown Omaha. “We’re confident that Midtown Crossing will be a vibrant, urban neighborhood that not only provides a great environment for its residents, but also is a destination for people from throughout the area.”

The proposed retail mix includes a grocery store, multiple screen movie theater and health club, as well as a mix of destination and casual dining restaurants. Bawolek says the development team is currently developing its retail leasing strategy for the project. “We’ve been actively talking to a lot of local operators, and we are trying to decide if we should enlist the help of a national firm.”

The development site, which is bordered by 31st, 33rd, Dodge and Harney streets, primarily consists of vacant office buildings and underutilized parking lots. Preparation of the site, owned by Mutual of Omaha, will begin this fall. Construction will begin in the spring. Bawolek says that project financing would come from a variety of sources, including a significant investment by Mutual of Omaha and tax increment financing.

The Destination Midtown Study Area comprises 3.6 square miles bordered on the north by Cuming Street, the south by Center Street, the east by 24th Street and the west by Saddle Creek Road. A master plan for the area was released in 2004. In May 2005, Mutual of Omaha launched a feasibility study to assess the potential for development at the Midtown Crossing site.

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