Developers plan to build apartment complex near busy Omaha intersection

Developers want to build a five-story apartment complex near 48th and Dodge.
There are plans to redevelop an area that runs along Omaha’s main drag.
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - There are plans to redevelop an area that runs along Omaha’s main drag.

Developers want to build a five-story apartment complex near 48th and Dodge. That means some old run-down buildings will be demolished to make way for the new apartment complex but some of the old will stand next to the new construction.

The old gas station has become an eye sore. It’s been vacant for years and the plans call for buildings along the block to be knocked down to make way for a five-story apartment building with 329 units.

But there’s one building on this block that developers plan to save.

The building is an Omaha landmark and was once the office of veterinarian Arthur Pittman.

“It was built in 1948 for Arthur Pittman, he was the first African American vet in Omaha and he was also a civic leader in the African American community,” said Shelley McCafferty, city planner and historic preservation administrator.

Dr. Pittman didn’t build a regular building, he built something with style.

“The building itself was designed by John Latenser and sons, they were prominent architects in Omaha in 1948, and it’s designed in the art modern style which is a style we have very few buildings left in Omaha so this is one of the few intact examples that we have of art modern architecture,” said McCafferty.

Justin Kemerling and his family live a block over from the redevelopment site. He’s excited about the city’s growth and he appreciates the fact that developers will keep the landmark building.

“The new plan sounds like they’re going to keep the animal hospital there’s some thoughtfulness around the history of that,” said Kemerling.

Justin Will owns Dry Fire Lazer Shooting Range. His airsoft gun business is right across the street from the development site. He says this talk of growth in the area has him rethinking his future business plans.

“I was thinking about moving to right outside of the city limits so we could have kind of an outdoor field and an indoor field now I’m kind of leaning towards leaving the shop here,” said Will.

Developers will also move blocks over into the residential area. They also plan to take nine houses on Davenport Street, some are already vacant.

“We think is good for other options for housing in midtown like not just all single-family homes, getting housing for more people in the area we think is a good thing as long as it’s done right,” Kemerling.

Connor Mininni lives right across the street from the backside of the proposed project. Connor is concerned about affordable housing in his neighborhood.

“It feels like it’s just going to be another apartment complex where they say its affordable housing but it’s really not and it’s really meant for a certain group of people that are more financially stable than others in Omaha,” said Mininni.

WOWT Plans for new development at 48th & Dodge
WOWT Plans for new development at 48th & Dodge

There is a lot going on in this area. Connor says he likes the neighborhood’s walkability and hopes it gets people out of their cars to use other forms of transportation.

“I just walked to the Dundee Tailor to get some pants, I just walked there, I didn’t have to get in my car and go there. I walk to Lola’s to get sandwiches I walk to the med center to get a check-up,” said Kemerling.

Overall most people in the area say this proposed project will be good for the area.

“I think it’s good for a city to be changing and doing stuff and like fixing itself up so otherwise, it’s just sitting stagnant,” said Kemerling.

There are people who say this block of Dodge Street has been stagnant long enough.

The landmark building will be rehabilitated and serve as the front door of the apartment complex. Developers plan to use the space as their leasing office and a common gathering area for their tenants.

“In terms of giving the city a sense of cultural identity of giving us a sense of place one thing about these old buildings and the way that we build our cities historically they really gave us a stronger urban fabric,” said McCafferty.

The proposed redevelopment project has to gain city council approval.

If given the okay, construction of the apartment complex should begin in November. Developers hope the project will be complete in about two years.