Protesters Rally To Save Historic Specht Building

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Supporters of historic Omaha gathered downtown Sunday to do their part to try to save the Specht Building.

Restoration Exchange Omaha and Mode Shift Omaha hosted the rally in front of the threatened historic building at 11th and Douglas.

They say historic buildings create a great sense of place, and the city is giving away too much.

The groups also question the reasoning for the potential demolition.

"The city's master plan itself admits that there is already too much surface parking and structure parking downtown. This specifically goes against it,” said protester Brian Smith.

The city negotiated the purchase of the historic Christian Specht Building at 11th and Douglas, which is a local historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Happy Hollow Coffee Building and the Alvine Engineering Building will also be purchased by the city. Upon closing, these properties will be donated to OPAS. Omaha Performing Arts wants the properties to allow for expansion of the Holland Performing Arts Center.

"They are not seeing the value in these great buildings, and I don’t think they're understanding how much Omaha loves these buildings and these buildings are important to them. I think they're looking at "what is their master plan" and they're not seeing that these could easily fit in their master plans. So we're excited to be working with them in solutions for how these buildings can be incorporated," said Kristine Gerber, executive director of Restoration Exchange.