- At a Tuesday meeting of the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA) board in Omaha, Nebraska, members voted unanimously to hire Kiewit Building Group as construction manager for a $260 million to $290 million downtown riverfront renovation project, The Omaha World-Herald reported.
- Kiewit will oversee the renovation of a 90-acre piece of downtown along the city’s riverfront, which includes the Gene Leahy Pedestrian Mall and two existing park areas. The city will contribute $50 million toward the project and private donors have reportedly raised $210 million.
- Kiewit will receive 7.2% of the as-yet-undisclosed total construction costs, less architectural and engineering fees, and must put any scope of work valued at $20,000 or more out to bid. If the firm wants to self-perform work on the project, it must also submit a bid.
MECA plans on hiring a vice president to help the board supervise the construction process. Work at the mall includes construction of a street-level sculpture garden, dog park, children’s play area, restaurant and event pavilion surrounding a 65,000-square-foot performance lawn. Kiewit will also oversee the addition of multi-use spaces, a beach and sports complex, volleyball and pickleball courts, an ice skating/rollerblade rink and bike and pedestrian paths to the two existing parks.
The construction activity underway and in the planning stages for Omaha proves that contractors don’t have to be in huge metros like New York City or Los Angeles in order to take advantage of a robust market.
Also along the Omaha riverfront, Conagra Brands, which announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters from Omaha to Chicago in 2017, is getting ready to kick off a $500 million redevelopment of its campus. The packaged foods company has hired Houston-based developer Hines to lead the effort. Construction for the necessary infrastructure should start this year in the fall, and the first component of the mixed-use project to be built will be a five-story building with 375 apartments and pedestrian-accessible retail.
The first four-acre phase of the 23-acre project, which currently goes by the working name of River Crossing, will also include a two-lane plaza — lined with retail, office and residential space — that will extend to a nearby park and man-made lake. Altogether, the project will feature 900 new residences, up to 200 hotel rooms, 500,000 square feet of office space and 80,000 square feet of retail across seven new buildings.
It was also reported last year that Omaha has been a hot spot for hotel construction during the last several years. In fact, for the five-year period ending in June 2018, Omaha added the most hotel rooms of any metro, increasing its inventory by 16% versus the nationwide average of 7%.