NebraskaCRE Busy times in Omaha? Don’t expect them to slow any time soon Dan Rafter October 30, 2018 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share via email Jay Noddle has worked in Omaha since the 1980s. And today? The commercial real estate market is as strong as he’s ever seen it. Noddle should know. As president and chief executive officer of Omaha-based developer Noddle Companies, he’s in the middle of this strong market. His company is developing four major projects in the Omaha market right now. And he doesn’t expect the business to slow anytime soon. “Just look at the office sector. A lot of great companies are headquartered in Omaha,” Noddle said. “Many have facilities that need to be updated. They are all focused on the retention and recruitment of workers. They want more flexible space, more collaborative space. With so many good companies and so many wanting to update their space, the office market is extremely busy.” Noddle isn’t alone, of course. The brokers and developers working this market are all busy today. Want to see just how busy Omaha is keeping CRE pros? Then you should attend the third annual Omaha Commercial Real Estate Conference held Nov. 8 at Noah’s Event Venue in Omaha. The event, held by REjournals and Midwest Real Estate News, will feature the biggest names in Omaha’s commercial real estate market talking about the strength of the office, industrial, multifamily and retail sectors today. Noddle said that the office, industrial and multifamily markets in Omaha are all booming today. The only holdout? Retail. “Retail is painfully slow today,” Noddle said. The reasons for this are well-documented. Physical retailers face a threat from online retailers. And that threat isn’t diminishing. Noddle said that retailers have to be creative with their brick-and-mortar locations if they want to succeed today. Some retailers are doing that in the Omaha market. But many others are putting expansion plans on hold. This is especially true of national retailers, which are quiet today in the Omaha market, Noddle said. But industrial, office and multifamily? The activity in these sectors is stronger than it’s been during Noddle’s entire career. Civic projects are a big part of Omaha’s success story today, too, Noddle said. A good example is the $290 million rejuvenation plan for Omaha’s riverfront area. The city plans to transform three parks along the riverfront into a bustling pedestrian and green space totaling nearly 90 acres. Plans call for a dog park, event-area lawn, rink for ice-skating and rollerblading, water plaza and a walking promenade. This project is scheduled to begin in the late spring and is fully funded by the city and Omaha’s philanthropic community. The hope is that the improvements will draw even more people – and, as a result, more businesses – to downtown Omaha. “This will create tremendous opportunities downtown,” Noddle said. “It will create tremendous opportunities for civic, office and residential projects.” Noddle Companies is one of the developers benefitting from this Omaha CRE boom. The company is taking on four major projects in the area now. As Noddle says, his company, like the CRE market here, is as busy as it’s ever been. First, there’s the West Farm Development rising on a huge parcel of land southwest of 144th Street and West Dodge Road. This project will include 2,100 residential homes and nearly 2.3 million square feet of planned office, retail and entertainment space. This is a major undertaking for Noddle Companies. The developer estimates that the West Farm project will take at least 15 years to be completely built out. Noddle Companies also developed the new headquarters building for architecture, engineering and construction services company HDR in the Aksarben Village development. This project included a retail area that connects a parking garage with the base of the building. A food hall will soon open in this space. Noddle is also excited about the Builder’s District development on which Noddle Companies is currently working. This project is a collaborative effort between Kiewit Corp., Union Pacific, First National Bank, Creighton University and Noddle Companies. It involves a 12-block area between the soccer fields at Creighton University and TD Ameritrade Ballpark. A corporate headquarters building for Kiewit will anchor the project. A series of office and residential buildings will also fill in the development. Noddle says construction should start later this year with completion scheduled for the middle of 2021. Finally, Noddle Companies is working on the River’s Edge development in nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa, part of the Omaha market. Noddle will develop 70,000 square feet of Class-A office buildings as part of this project, which will also include condominium towers and apartment units. “I’m so excited about what is going on with our company right now,” Noddle said. “I don’t know how this happened. I’m just a short, bald guy from Omaha. But we’ve found our niche, and we are seeing more business than ever.” For more news about the booming Omaha market, and for plenty of networking opportunities, sign up for REjournals’ Omaha Commercial Real Estate Conference today.