A joint venture between local companies, Bluestone Development, an urban development firm, and Davis Business Ventures, an African American owned development company, have announced Omaha Vision Unlimited I. A four-story, mixed-use building on the southwest corner of 13th and Cuming streets will offer new jobs and significant investment.
"This effort links North Downtown and North Omaha together and will add to the exciting diversity of the area," said Ed Cochran, executive director, North Omaha Development Project. "The venture also is the first to commit to the North Omaha Capacity Building Consortium model, a cooperative effort among business owners, bank underwriting managers and construction managers to provide access to credit and capital, and technical assistance and mentoring to help new North Omaha businesses succeed."
Omaha Vision Unlimited I is a significant move forward for the North Omaha Development Project aimed at encouraging the area's economic growth.
Bluestone Development will own and oversee 7,100 square feet of retail area including 3,000 square feet of restaurant space with outdoor dining available on the first floor, and 24 apartments on the third and fourth floors, offering open, artist-style lofts, each with an average of 600 square feet of living space. Davis Business Ventures, the majority owner of Omaha Vision Unlimited, said there is potential for employment growth as the owner and tenant of the office space planned for the second floor.
Groundbreaking is set for late summer or fall 2009 with the facility scheduled to open in late 2010.
Christian Christensen, president of Bluestone Development, said the joint venture capitalizing on each partner's strength was "a real win-win."
"Davis Business Ventures brought to the table the office space connections from the business community and an expertise in business capacity building, and we brought our portion of the project toward 'Generation Y', taking advantage of our track record appealing to younger customers," Christensen said. He added the 13th and Cuming location especially was appealing due to the proximity of the new downtown baseball stadium across the street.
"We want Omaha Vision Unlimited I to serve first as an economic development project, to provide jobs for people in North Omaha, to provide the services and goods they want," said Lisa Davis, chief financial officer for Davis Companies and managing director for Davis Business Ventures.
"Omaha Vision Unlimited I will create a framework for future private and non-profit development projects and joint ventures in North Omaha," Davis said. "This vehicle is fulfilling our dream to relocate back to our roots."
Based on his long-term engagement with the planning of the North Omaha Capacity Building Consortium, U.S. Rep. Lee Terry said, "This venture is a wonderful new opportunity. We've listened to the concerns of the community and their wishes for new jobs in the area, and this partnership has stepped up in a big way. When the project is completed, we will see a measurable positive impact on the quality of life and economic vitality."