Despite the strain the COVID pandemic has placed on the local economy, Lincoln has been fortunate to see many major projects continue to move forward, both public and private. Construction of the long-awaited south beltway began last year and continues to take shape as grading work progresses. Also, the first of two new high schools are now under construction near NW 48th and West Holdrege Streets with the second scheduled to begin within the next 12 months at 70th & Saltillo near the south beltway.
Many downtown residential projects are moving ahead. The Lied Place Project is scheduled for a topping out this spring with an expected completion sometime in the fall. Redevelopment of the Terminal building at 10th & O Street is now underway and a few blocks south of that on the site of the former P.O. Pears is the Liv Red student housing project which had its groundbreaking last October. The new Antelope Towers project at Antelope Valley & L Street is under construction and scheduled for completion by year-end and just a couple blocks northeast of that project are two new buildings in the Telegraph District. Telegraph Flats, an apartment building at 20th & N Street opened last August, and Telegraph Lofts East, a mixed-use building at 21st & N Street, is in the final stages of construction and will be open soon.
In the hotel sector, the new Marriott named “The Scarlet” began construction last August at Innovation Campus and should be open this summer. The Holiday Inn Express at 9th & O Street also began construction in 2020 and should open later this year. In the healthcare sector, work continues on the $57 million expansion at Madonna Rehabilitation and Bryan Health is in the next phase of its east campus renovation to enlarge and modernize surgical rooms. Also, the VA campus at 70th & L Street will soon open its new patient clinic, allowing for redevelopment of the historic hospital building as part of the overall redevelopment of the campus, a project named “Victory Park”.
Not all projects have proceeded without interruption. UNL’s football facility expansion was delayed and has been rescheduled into two separate phases, with phase 1 now scheduled to begin in April. The historic Gold’s building downtown, which had been slated for redevelopment, is now on the market for sale. And the proposed Drury Inn at 10th & R Street has been put on hold with no immediate plans for development. However, it’s not unusual for certain projects to be delayed or deemed infeasible even during normal economic times. Overall, Lincoln’s development and construction activity has fared very well since early last year with only a few notable exceptions.
While we have not been entirely immune to the economic impact of the virus, with restaurants, bars, hotels, and entertainment venues hit the hardest, Lincoln has weathered the pandemic much better than many other cities. As we move into 2021 with vaccines rolling out and optimism that we’ll see a gradual return to pre-COVID normalcy, Lincoln should be well-positioned to build on the progress that has continued even during these uncertain times.