Abandoned hotel in southwest Omaha fuel neighbor, city concerns

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 4:38 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The struggle to figure out just what to do about an abandoned hotel in southwest Omaha has the city and neighbors scrambling for answers.

The property is much more than just an eyesore - it’s a dangerous situation waiting to happen.

“It’s a problem, it is a serious problem. We’re having a hard time keeping it secure,” said Omaha City Councilman Don Rowe.

The dilapidated Westmont Inn and Suites near 108th and L Streets is a public eyesore and a magnet for the homeless.

One nearby business owner tells 6 News that the building is one match away from an inferno.

“The city doesn’t own the property, we have to go through the proper steps,” said councilman Rowe.

Don Rowe is the city councilman for the area, he serves District 5 which includes a southwest part of the city and the Millard area.

The property has been on Rowe’s radar since being elected four months ago. But not just for aesthetics and safety - the property is a strain on taxpayer services.

Police, Fire, and Rescue regularly respond to calls at the abandoned property for a variety of reasons. On Thursday, it was an intentionally set small fire. Investigators reported heave damage from vagrants throughout the building.

“It doesn’t take too much to tear a piece of plywood off and gain access,” said councilman Rowe.

However, Rowe says now there is a prospective buyer for the property. So far, they’ve hired a security company.

“They are investing in the building as if they own it already... installing cameras that will be monitored 24/7 on this property so that’s got to help too,” said Rowe.

But both the prospective buyer and the current owner are out of state. Rowe says there are liens against the property that need to be cleared so financing can go forward.

Still, Rowe thinks this might be the most unsafe building in Omaha and says it’s time for action.

Rowe insists the prospective buyer does not plan to knock the building down but instead to rehab it. He says the city has looked at possible demolition of the building if a resolution is not quickly reached.

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