Farnam Hill Development sees progress even amid pandemic

Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 11:33 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - What was once known as "Auto Row" is now becoming the new Farnam Hill District.

When you drive west on Farnam Street you may notice new storefronts.

November 1st is opening day for launch brewing, a 1960′s space race-themed bar. And Executive Director Melanie Phelan says this space, about 5,000 square feet, will feature a milky way bar top, seating for more than 110 people, gourmet kitchen and of course - full bar.

“We have 20 taps so beer will be the star of the show,” said Phelan.

The plans have been in the making for years. Not just for launch brewing, but also, the Farnam Hill community. Launch brewing is one of several new businesses in the area between 20th and 28th streets.

Tom McLeay is the president of Clarity Development Companies.

“So, we re-did the apartments, really neat, all loft-style apartments, high ceilings, wood floors, brick walls,” said McLeay.

His company renovated this historic building into 24 apartment units and coming soon to the street level... “So, it’s going to be a hair salon going in, I will let them announce more details, but they are pushing to get open here in the next few months,” said McLeay.

And it's all going to plan according to David Fanslau, the Omaha City Planning Director.

“If we can bring residents to this area, it just supports those businesses even more and brings new businesses, as well,” said Fanslau.

The goal now is to develop more living space in the area making it more walkable and entertaining.

Melanie can’t wait to see it all come together.

“I think the biggest selling point is that we’re bridging a gap. So, Blackstone and Midtown Crossing, they’re super close, super walkable. downtown, The Old Market is super walkable but then there was just this straight that didn’t have food and alcohol and um things that bring people to the neighborhood so we’re excited to help close the gap and make Farnam a really cool place to be,” said Phelan.

Fanslau says city building permits are tracking right around where they were this same time last year. He thinks the city will have more building permits city-wide this year. Last year was a record.

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