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Downtown Lincoln building could see multi-million dollar renovation as more people return to offices

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - While some office spaces shut their doors permanently during the pandemic, far more people in Lincoln are coming back to work.

It’s partially why Lincoln could put forth more than $1 million to help revamp a downtown building.

The building in question is the Sharp Building at 13th and N Streets. The nearly 100-year-old structure has only been about half full for the last several years.

“I think there are opportunities, to, with the new owners build out the building,” Dan Marvin, director of Lincoln’s Urban Planning and Development Department said.

Marvin said the new owners are the Sup family, who have been in Lincoln for a long time and once owned a downtown Lincoln clothing store. The family has proposed a redevelopment plan to revamp the building from the inside out using $9 million of their own money and about $1.3 million in tax increment funding.

Most of the building would remain dedicated to office space, something Marvin said is worth the investment.

“Office space, I think, was characterized yesterday as a bread and butter issue for downtown,” Marvin said.

Commercial realtors agree, saying this rings true even after the pandemic sent some workers home for more than a year.

“There are more people coming back to work, it’s evident by the cars in the parking garages,” Mike Ball with NAIFMA Realty said.

Ball said there’s not a lot of empty space just sitting around.

“We’re seeing an increase in showings and activity,” Ball said. “It’s evident people want to get back to work.”

The city adding that this project makes sense after spending the last five years creating new living opportunities downtown.

“Now we have an opportunity to revitalize those office spaces and focus on that live and work environment where you can walk to work and you can walk home,” Marvin said.

The project also hammered out plans for the city to help the Sup family move a generator and plans for when the city may eventually need to re-build a nearby parking garage.

The plan will be up for approval on Monday’s city council meeting. Click here to read the full plan.

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