A Prescription for the Future

A Prescription for the Future

A local developer has agreed to purchase the CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center property at 30th and California streets and plans to redevelop it into 650 to 700 apartments with retail space and an 850-foot long pedestrian bridge over the North Freeway to Creighton’s main campus. The news was met with a healthy dose of excitement from Creighton and community leaders. Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., called the announcement “a great day for Creighton and the surrounding community.”

Architectural rendering looking north at the new complex, with Boys Town National Research Hospital (not part of the sale) silhouetted at left in the foreground and the pedestrian bridge at right. (Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture)

The CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center property is pending sale to Omaha-based NuStyle Development Corp., which plans to redevelop the existing building, adding residential apartment housing and retail space for the 30th Street corridor of Midtown.

“NuStyle’s successful housing projects in Downtown Omaha have revitalized many buildings that might have otherwise remained empty or been replaced, and we are pleased that NuStyle’s redevelopment plans for the Medical Center property will create new residential spaces and retail opportunities for Creighton, Gifford Park, North Omaha, and Midtown community members,” said the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., president of Creighton University. “This is a great day for Creighton and the surrounding community, especially with the wonderful connection to nearby neighborhoods that will be created with the planned construction of a pedestrian bridge.”

The sale occurs in advance of Creighton University’s academic medical center relocation to CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy and the completion of the University Campus of CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center, an almost 83,000-square foot facility at 24th and Cuming streets that is scheduled to open in early 2017. The hospital will continue to operate and the redevelopment will not occur until all patient services have transitioned in June of 2017.

The planned redevelopment of the hospital building includes residential and retail development including 700 living units, rooftop swimming pool, a pond with a walking trail and an 850-foot long pedestrian bridge over the North Freeway to Creighton’s campus.

“The impact for Creighton University will be great, as it will be for the surrounding area,” said Todd Heistand, president of NuStyle, a company with a reputation for refurbishing and repurposing buildings around the region. “We’re bringing together neighbors, creating housing, connecting Creighton to Midtown and maintaining the existing connections Creighton has to Downtown and North Omaha. It’s going to have a great feel to it. People will want to live here.”

The concept of a pedestrian bridge connecting the main Creighton campus with the health sciences campus west of the freeway was imagined as early as 1972, when the medical center’s current building was being designed.

As for the pond feature, the city of Omaha and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District will aid in its completion. The pond is intended to be a storm water retention area helping to manage water capacity flows through Downtown to the river.

Initial estimates are that the first phase of the redevelopment would occur following the Medical Center’s relocation and could be completed and ready for residents by August 2018. The sale with Creighton is expected to close later this summer.

While several parking lot parcels west of 30th Street will be included in the sale to NuStyle Development, Omaha Public Schools has extended a letter of intent to enter into an agreement with Creighton University for the purchase of property located at 32nd and Burt streets for a new elementary school in the Gifford Park neighborhood.  Creighton University has accepted the letter of intent. Once negotiated, the agreement will be subject to approval by the Omaha Public Schools’ Board of Education.

Finally, Creighton will continue to own and maintain the Cardiac Center, Boyne Building and Bio-Information Center near 30th and Burt streets. These buildings support several of the University’s health sciences programs and the School of Dentistry’s patient clinic.