As construction of the long-awaited South Beltway nears the finish line, almost everyone agrees on one thing: the new 11-mile freeway creates a wealth of development opportunities.
Homes and groceries and restaurants. Manufacturing companies and warehouse distribution centers. Data centers and office space for local businesses. Hotels and specialty shops and maybe even a convention center.
“I think the potential is limitless,” said Bud Synhorst, president and CEO of the Lincoln Independent Business Association.
The development and the ring road south are like plants leaning towards the sun: the city was already pushing south, the ring road will pull it faster, he said.
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But some developers worry that the city isn’t thinking aggressively enough about this growth in an area still largely unserved by sewers and other infrastructure, and they wish there had been more thought to provide it in the latest update. of the complete plan, in particular on the east end of the ring road.
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“I think we wanted them (city officials) to think more about the potential of what could happen with growth,” Synhorst said.
Rick Krueger, who is developing Woodlands in Yankee Hill, a growing residential area near 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road, said that for decades Lincoln’s growth patterns have shifted south and east. . This is where land values are highest.
“People want to move south and east in Lincoln,” he said. “It’s neither good nor bad. It’s just.”
Step into the highly anticipated South Beltway – a $352 million Nebraska Department of Transportation project slated for completion next year that will connect Nebraska 2 southeast of Lincoln to US 77 southwest .
The freeway will allow truck traffic to bypass Lincoln streets, with easy access to Interstate 80 via US 77.
This creates a great opportunity for manufacturing and industrial development, as well as retail, Synhorst said.
“I think it’s a blank canvas for some really innovative developers to come up with good ways (to use land),” he said. “Ideas are endless, aren’t they? »
Maybe a medical clinic or auto services. Perhaps larger retail areas. The device, he said, will be a game-changer.
“I think the city will have to be nimble in the overall plan to adapt to wants and needs that may arise,” he said.
Krueger said where the ring road connects to Nebraska 2 at around 120th Street will be a major transportation hub, especially when the ring road follows — and developers say the city should expand the sewer system from Stevens Creek in this direction.
“These big transportation hubs, you just can’t ignore them,” he said.
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Lincoln-Lancaster County planning director David Cary said extending sewer service there now from the Stevens Creek basin is not financially feasible.
“It would be very expensive to jump over all that undeveloped land and put sewers on it,” he said. By extending sewer lines as the city grows, it allows developments to help pay, he said.
Several years ago, the city built a sewer main that opened up the Stevens Creek Basin for development east of 84th Street, significantly spurring growth in northeast Lincoln. It now extends as far south as Van Dorn Street, opening up more of that area to development.
The overall 2050 plan prioritizes more easterly development as far south as Pine Lake Road, but the area south of that — including where the South Beltway meets Nebraska 2 — will happen more. late.
“We have decades and decades of this steady growth,” Cary said.
City officials saw the potential created by the ring road and prioritized growth south to the new freeway – and beyond – but farther west, generally from 27th Street to the 70th street.
Around the time the South Beltway opens, Lincoln Public Schools will open the new Standing Bear High School at 70th Street and Saltillo Road, not far from the freeway. And Bryan Health said it chose the 40th Street and Rokeby Road area for its new April Sampson Cancer Center in part because of its location near the freeway.
Gas stations, fast food outlets and hotels will likely come to this area closest to the ring road, Cary said. It will also help meet demand for “light industrial” development – offices or electronics companies or those making consumer goods, he said.
Much of the land farther from the ring road will be residential, Cary said.
The opportunities presented by the South Beltway will also impact small towns, and Lincoln must be careful not to lose business, said Robin Eschliman, a local commercial real estate agent who co-hosts the radio show “Grow Lincoln” on KLIN- A M.
The most important thing is to be ready to seize the opportunity, she said.
“Are there community leaders ready to step in in the private sector to make things happen, and is the city ready to step in?”
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