The future is coming to 72nd and Dodge. Omaha’s Crossroads Mall is heading for a $400 million renovation that will transform the shopworn mall into Crossroads Village, featuring retailers, luxury loft residential units, office space, a hotel and more.
The future is expected to arrive in June, 2016. That’s the target date for the grand opening.
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and OTB Destination founder Rod Yates have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch the development.
Most of the money for the project will come from the developer. The city will support the rebuild with a combination of Tax Increment Financing, General Obligations Bonds and sales tax revenue.
The mayor said, “The City has agreed to this unique financing plan to make this development possible.”
The Omaha City Council will consider putting a $50 million bond issue on the May ballot to bankroll public infrastructure work. That would include things like street, sewers, sidewalks, utilities and parking. The city says that such a bond issue would not increase property tax rates.
Additional funding could come from a sales tax that would apply only to products purchased at Crossroads Village. The legislature cleared the way for that idea. An additional 1.95% sales tax could be added to those items.
Council President Pete Festersen says, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to redevelop one of the most significant commercial properties in the city. It will revitalize the traditional heart of Omaha.”
The Crossroads Mall District was blighted by the City of Omaha in August 2011. That set the stage for OTB and the City of Omaha to use incentives for development of the proposal.
OTB Destination says Crossroads Village, “will become a world-class property.”
Here are some of the key components on the table for the site transformation:
Inside the mall, current business owners can't look past the lack of foot traffic.
"All I ever do see is people walking around exercising," said Shenita Smith-Meeks. She is the owner of Star Studio Portrait. It's a new business set to open their doors on February 1st.
Meeks believes the redevelopment is a good idea.
"I believe it will get the store back busy, and back popular, and get people to start coming," said Meeks.
Yates said he is willing to work with any business that wants to transition with the new development. Barnes and Nobles will be making the transition. Sears is currently in negotiations.
The developer says the digital platform will anchor everything in the design, ranging from WiFi to ultra-fast networks aimed at connecting people to other people, technology and products they want. The developer says that could include everything from quickly tracking down a product you want to buy to downloading a movie to watch while you lounge in the park.
According to Yates, the shopping center industry is on the verge of a rebirth. He said, “With the pie being shared with e-commerce we believe the consumer is looking for more than just a mall destination to spend.”
Mayor Stothert sees the ambitious plan as an economic boon for the community. She said, “This project will provide thousands of jobs. Crossroads Village is good for the city, business and consumers.”
Construction is expected to begin this June. The grand opening is scheduled two years later. That’s on the calendar for June 8, 2016.