Haymarket business owners concerned over Lincoln Bold project

Business owners share fears over plan for new skyscraper in Haymarket
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 11:04 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Bold promises a glittering 22-story tower of windows, but many of the Haymarket’s business owners say they’re concerned about the project’s transparency.

“That’s why we’re looking for answers,” Jon Camp, the president of Haymarket Square Developers. “Tell us t for traffic, how it’s going to get here. P, where are people going to park? And c, where is the compensation to make up for these lost revenues?”

The project would take shape where the service station Melichar’s currently sits.

Lincoln Bold already has initial approval from the City Council when it unanimously decided it fits within the County-City’s comprehensive plan back in December.

Next comes the decision over Tax Increment Financing, or “TIF” funding, which is borrowed against the future increase in property taxes.

Lincoln bold developers want $23 million in TIF, the largest amount given to a single project in city history. That will be decided by the City Council in late February or early March.

Some Haymarket business owners fear what the two to three-year construction timetable could mean.

“If they start building, it’s going to be bad on us,” Theodore Burns, the owner of Hat Killer Barber Shop, said. “I could lose some money.”

“Three years of a closed alley here, a closed street there,” Russ Bayer, a Haymarket building owner, said. “Blocked spaces. On street parking being hooded so no one can park there. Garages being filled with workers. They’re rightly very concerned.”

Lincoln Bold developer Steve Glenn couldn’t go on camera Thursday but said he’s been meeting with the business owners who worry these issues could send their revenues plummeting.

“The growing concern here is that a lot of these businesses will not survive the impact that this will have on them,” Jonathan Camp, vice president of Haymarket Square Developers, said. “From the construction. From the lack of customers, clients and employees being able to get to their businesses.”

As the plan stands right now, Lincoln Bold won’t add any parking to the Haymarket. The building would feature office space, luxury apartments and condos. Developers hope to break ground on the project in the spring or summer. But if the developers can’t secure the $23 million in TIF, the project would be on shakier financial footing.

Glenn said he and the project’s other developers will have more to share in the coming weeks that should ease some of the business owners’ worries, but he didn’t say exactly what that will be.