From Corn To Commerce

Developments to come within the next two decades

Leily Zhu, News Editor

Now that the interior of MN has finished construction, development begins for the surrounding areas. For the next 10 to 20 years, the area around MN will be under construction. Noddle Companies has plans to build a downtown of sorts in the 500 acres of undeveloped land stretching west of Boys Town and south of MN.
The development will be a $1.2 billion “mixed use” project which includes a combination of large and small businesses, up-scale townhomes and single family homes, and a high-end hotel built north of the school campus. Additionally, the new development will feature a food and dining plaza, retail center, and entertainment hub for live bands and festivals.
Noddle Companies is making the plans for this large development. The company is the “master developer” for Applied Underwriters, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.
“Entities created by Applied Underwriters owns all the land, and Noddle Companies is helping developing the land. [Applied Underwriters] do not have the experience to develop the land so we are helping plan the development,” Executive Vice President and Director of Development at Noddle Companies Ted Zetzman said.
This upcoming construction will have a great impact on the school campus on many different levels.
“There will be a profound impact on our campus since we will actually be able to expand by 1.58 acres, thanks to a gift from the developer to the Millard Public Schools,” Principal Brian Begley said. “This will greatly improve practice field space on the northwest corner of our campus.”
Because traffic will be heavily affected, a west access road will also have to be built leading into MN to improve traffic flow and help relieve any congestion caused by the surrounding construction.
“We are helping to connect Millard North on the west side to the new parkway. We are going to start that as soon as students are out of school and have it finished when they come back in the fall,” Zetzman said. “It impacts your athletic fields so we want to get it up and operational by the time school starts back up in the fall.”
The specific fields to be improved by the gifted 1.58 acres of land and construction will be the practice areas in soccer, track and football.
Aside from the west entrance to the school, traffic reconfigurations will also occur to accommodate changes brought by the “mixed-use” developments, as these are expected change day-to-day routines on a large scale.
“The following locations will undergo considerable re-design in order to enhance traffic flow: the northeast entrance from 144th street will be moved slightly north; the main entrance from 144th street will be converted to right turn in and right turn out only with no left turns into campus from northbound 144th; the south entrance will also be converted to right turn in and right turn out only with no left turns onto campus from eastbound Pacific,” Begley said.
The new developments will shape West Omaha into a smaller scale downtown-like area. There will be elements of a townsquare, a pedestrian bridge and a new urban core included that mimic Omaha’s downtown. However, the other elements, which include office buildings, retail spaces and MN, will create a unique atmosphere of its own.
“Omaha’s downtown is Omaha’s downtown, but hopefully this new development can be a newly created urban hub for people to gather in,” Zetzman said.
With this upcoming project, students and residents around the MN area can anticipate watching the Boys Town area change and progress under the development of Applied Underwriters and Noddle Companies. One day, many years from now, alumni of MN can come back to experience a completely transformed Home of the Mustangs.