Small development groups are revitalizing pockets of Omaha’s sprawling downtown. One such group, Bluestone Development Group, saw a need for adding housing near a new multimillion-dollar Mutual of Omaha development that included retail, restaurant and office space. One neighborhood within walking distance of the development consisted of older apartments and homes with an arterial street bordering one end. This block was chosen to build the Spaces Apartments.
The site had some challenges. The building on the site was a former hospital that had been converted to irregular apartments. The site was also quite sloped, and given the neighborhood, privacy and protection of first-floor apartments was an important consideration. The site was also subject to the stricter stormwater management rules that the City of Omaha had begun passing.
It was decided to demolish the building and start from scratch. With parking an issue, the slope of the land was utilized to create an underground parking garage. A bike repair room and dog-washing room were also added to this lower level for residents’ use. A large retention tank under the parking area fulfilled the new building’s stormwater management needs.
Four residential floors above the parking garage are a mix of studio and 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. The building is U-shaped, with an exterior courtyard in the middle offering residents a pool, firepit and game area. An amenity area on the first floor has an exercise room, golf simulator, arcade games and a private room for hosting parties.
The developers wanted the building to have a modern, slightly edgy feel to it. In the first floor amenity area, wall panels are a mixture of looks, including leather, oil-rubbed riveted metal and quilted. A curved wall over the front desk adds another unique visual element.
Spaces Apartments opened in the fall of 2014 and has had successful occupancy from the start. In addition to being close to the Mutual of Omaha development, it is an easy distance to a new University of Nebraska Medical Campus expansion. Buildings surrounding Spaces Apartments have since been renovated or rebuilt, spurring a revitalization of the neighborhood.