It's being called the first step to building a new UNO. Friday, a letter of intent was signed with developers in charge of the project and approved by the Board of Regents.
The letter of intent signals the start of a process that's been in the works for years.
Chancellor John Christensen said, "It has been our goal to have a campus home for athletic events, the decision moves us closer to that dream."
While some businesses said they were excited for the prospect of a boost in sales, others hoped they didn’t get wiped off the map.
A packed house Friday tonight at Mojos Smokehouse and Ales Restaurant in Aksarben Village was music to owner Reynold McMeen’s ears. Soon, it might not just be Friday night’s McMeen could expect a busy dinner rush.
There's a new arena coming to the neighborhood.
"That's one of the reasons we set up business here, as we knew Trev was going to take UNO to Division 1. There are a lot of great things happening to UNO and this new arena is just one more thing that we were counting on to make this part of the town, pop,” McMeen said.
An artist’s rendering of the $76 million arena should what the streetscape could look like at Aksarben Village. The arena would seat 7,500 and would become the new home to UNO's hockey team, men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams, as well. The proposed site is just south of Aksarben, east of the Papio Creek.
That's where you could find Nils Erickson and his 12,000 square foot sound shop called Rainbow Recording Studios.
After the artist rendition was released, Erickson received phone calls wondering if the new arena would be built on his land. Erickson hadn’t heard.
"We are still just going to keep cranking out the tunes and sell sound and lighting until someone tells me I have to stop,” Erickson said. Erickson was excited for the new arena and his prospects of finding the next major Grammy winner from Omaha. "Maybe they'll all want to come in and cut a hit record,” Erickson said.
UNO basketball is contracted four years to play inside the Ralston Arena, after that point, they can move out.
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