The billion dollar neighborhood development begins in Omaha

The city of Omaha is getting a whole new neighborhood. Currently known as West Farm, construction on the 500 hectare estate has begun. Like no other development in the state, West Farm is led by developer Noddle, with master planning by HDR Architects of Omaha and the latest designs by SB Architects of San Francisco.

Although West Farm is on the outskirts of town, it is said to be clearly pedestrian-oriented. The focus of the project is an outdoor mall that is buffered by retail stores, restaurants, entertainment, and smaller squares and sidewalks. While the land is being fully remodeled, 120 of the site’s original trees will be saved to be replanted if project completion allows. A total of around 20 percent of the project will be dedicated to hiking and cycling trails, parks, water features and open spaces.

The project will include 2,100 residential units and more than 2 million square feet of office space, retail and entertainment. The developers expect the project to have more than 15,000 residents, workers and buyers on the site every day.

To finance roads and sanitation for the project, the city has set up a Sanitation and Improvement District (SID). Under the label, tax-exempt bonds can be sold to raise funds for new infrastructure and special taxes can be set for the area. In the past, Omaha annexed the area as soon as the district’s debts were paid.

Over the next 15 years, Nebraska will join Texas, California, and Florida, other states where massive mixed-use developments are taking place. And like these mega-developments, West Farm will cost over a billion dollars. Converting millions of square feet of land and building an entire church takes time and not little money.

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