There is a movement afoot and it's helping revitalize many of Omaha's neighborhoods. More young people are moving into established neighborhoods and downtown Omaha itself. And the supply is increasing due to the demand.
With the snip of a ribbon, L-14 Flats at 14th and Leavenworth opened for business. John Stockton was the first renter here. "I like being downtown close to all the restaurants and being able to go out and walk to places. I don't like to drive around everywhere I need to go."
Stockton is part of the move to downtown apartment living that appeals mainly to younger people.
A few years ago, selling condos in areas like Midtown Crossing didn't quite go as planned, mainly due to a down economy. "But I think even that experience taught us that there was room at the next level down in the market that might not be in an ownership opportunity, but would be a rental opportunity," said David Brown of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.
Dominic Vaccaro manages several downtown apartment projects, including L-14 Flats. He sees this movement continuing. "As more and more residents are moving downtown there are more and more amenities to keep them downtown and really building that sense of community where everything is so walkable."
That's one reason Sara Webster moved downtown two years ago. "Being young and single, the housework just doesn't sound appealing, taxes don't sound appealing, being able to walk out your front door and having something to do somewhere, everywhere you go, is more appealing being close to work. That's why I choose this lifestyle."
Sara says the demand is there and the supply should increase. "Availability, it's abundant, but it goes very quickly. If you see something it's usually gone within the next week."
They may not know it, but these young professionals are helping breathe new life into downtown Omaha. "Right now, downtown fits me better than anywhere else," Sara said.
Most of the 42 units at the L-Flats location have already been rented. Midtown Crossing opened up condominiums, luxury penthouses and patio homes Wednesday as well. Renovations at other older buildings in the downtown area are also underway.