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CUE at Aksarben Village

I was recently asked how we name our projects.

Some are obvious.  Shadow Lake Square Apartments are next to Shadow Lake and Shadow Lake Mall.  Along with the neighboring amenities – the centerpiece of the development collect at a square traffic pattern.   We also name the floorplans.  At Shadow Lake Square – the Monarch is a nod to Papillion – the french word for butterfly is Papillion. There is also the Cottonwood, a tree common to Nebraska and Meadowlark, the Nebraska state bird.

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In Aksarben Village, our first 3 buildings speak to the previous use of the neighborhood- the Ak-Sar-Ben horse race track, and the projects design.  Pinhook is a racing term, Flats is a design term:  Pinhook Flats.  Inside, meaning the floorplans, we stuck with horse racing and named the floorplans after Kentucky Derby winners – Seabiscuit, Winning Colors, Secretariat for example.



Our latest building in Aksarben, we wanted to do something different from Pinhook Flats.  We looked at the neighborhood – there is much growth and change. Stinson Park continues to hold great events – walks, marathons, markets and bands.  The University of Nebraska at Omaha – is continuing to add space for classes, parking and living.  Baxter Arena is hosting many events – sporting, graduation, conferences.  The retail and restaurants in Aksarben Village continue to develop – along with businesses joining the mix.  The homes here are being remodeled and updated by singles, familes and empty nesters.  We knew that many were looking for the next place to live – unique, bringing a little drama, a step up, a signal to take the spotlight….UP NEXT…CUE



We are coming to the end of this one – we love how the exteriors are coming together for our new building at Aksarben Village!  A few minor finishes outside, then the sidewalks and landscape – will pull the project together.  The colors blend nicely with the neighborhood.  However, many have told us the materials have really made the building take center stage.

Come on inside and you can see we have chosen to use some pretty and unique ones.  It comes together, next level living in Aksarben Village, CUE.


Factory 12: A Proposal for 12th & Cass

Alchemy Development is one of two developers to submit proposals to the City of Omaha to redevelop a lot at 12th & Cass Streets in Downtown Omaha. The location is prominent for its proximity to the TD Ameritrade Stadium, Centurylink Center, and the burgeoning entertainment district on the north side of downtown. The project features 78 apartments and Alchemy Development is teaming up with the Old Mattress Factory bar and restaurant and Holland Basham Architects.HBA elevation

The Omaha World-Herald printed an article featuring the  two proposals for the site.

2 companies submit bids to develop prime downtown spot


POSTED: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2015 12:00 AM, UPDATED: 9:36 AM, FRI SEP 18, 2015.

By Cindy Gonzalez / World-Herald staff writer

Apartments with a view toward the home of the College World Series could be in store for a patch of city-owned land once embroiled in controversy.

Two local companies, Alchemy Development and Lanoha Development, have submitted proposals to develop the site at 12th and Cass Streets.

The last structure on the 33,600-square-foot area was a now-dismantled condo showroom and office for the failed WallStreet Tower project. The city had to turn to the courts to regain control of the Cass Street parcel after it sat idle for years as an out-of-town developer’s dream for the tower at 14th and Dodge Streets never got off the ground.

City officials recently put out a request for proposals to develop the 12th and Cass Streets site valued now at $910,000. The candidates are to be interviewed by a committee of various city department heads in early October. The top choice is to be approved by the mayor and City Council. City Attorney Paul Kratz said factors beyond price will be considered when choosing the winner.

Among the city’s objectives, according to public documents, is for the project to encourage a lively, pedestrian-oriented urban neighborhood that expands jobs and residential opportunities.

Both proposals offer residential living as a focus, but they look different and offer contrasting amenities.

Alchemy’s plan is primarily housing, calling for construction of a five-story, L-shaped structure with 78 apartments and indoor parking. A rooftop deck would be carved out of a top-floor space, offering a view of TD Ameritrade Park and the CenturyLink Center.

The $10.8 million project would seek $1.2 million in tax-increment financing and be called Factory 12 — a nod to the Old Mattress Factory restaurant across the street and to 12th Street, said Alchemy’s Bert Hancock. Owners of the Old Mattress Factory are signed on as co-developers. Also involved in Factory 12 are Holland Basham Architects and Dicon Construction.

While the Alchemy project won’t offer retail space, its street level will feature big glass windows through which pedestrians can see fitness and community rooms. “It gives it some liveliness at the ground-floor level,” Hancock said.

Competitor Lanoha proposes a four-story complex with fewer apartments, 45, but with office and retail space as well.

The first floor would contain retail and office bays, a lobby and 50 parking stalls. The second level would be made up of offices and a covered terrace, and the third and fourth floors would contain apartments. Lanoha’s design by Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture also features a third-floor deck and a community space.

Jason Lanoha of Lanoha Development declined to disclose the project’s price tag. He said his firm chose a mixed-use approach to add around-the-clock action that he said would move north downtown forward. “When office workers are leaving, residents are arriving back home,” Lanoha said.

Hancock said he and his partners were attracted to the growing area of north downtown, even with the challenges associated with the property’s proximity to the Interstate. “We love the idea of being a part of what is happening on the north side of downtown,” Hancock said, citing the nearby CenturyLink Center, TD Ameritrade Park, Creighton University, the Slowdown and future development planned for the Yard parking site. “All of that points toward a direction of making the north side much more exciting, not just for entertainment, but as a place to live,” he said.

Kratz declined to provide any detail on the two plans, calling such details potentially proprietary information and part of an ongoing real estate deal. He said that although the request for proposals process has long been a way that the city sells or develops property, the improved economy and commercial market has led to increased interest in downtown parcels.

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Alchemy Development presents: A New Urban Living Development located in Aksarben Village.

Alchemy Development presents:  A New Urban Living Development located in Aksarben Village.


Located in a neighborhood with history; and now, with a great Vibe – progressive, education, youthful, urban.  Around the corner from shopping, entertainment and Stinson Park events; the new buildings will be a part of Pinhook Flats.

These new buildings will have a combined 53 apartment homes:  Studios, One Bedrooms, Two Bedrooms, Two Bedroom Lofts.  Each having its own washer and dryer and beautiful finishes.  Each apartment will have access to garage parking, trash chute, recycle program andhave access to Pinhook Flats amenities.

Combining the practical needs of life with urban living spaces for those aspiring to an elevated lifestyle –

             Upscale Living…Next Level Lifestyle.              CUE “Up. Next.”

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Battle Bears Hits 20 million downloads.

Congratulations to our friends at SkyVu for hitting the 20 million download mark for Battle Bears. Alchemy Development built the SkyVu studios in Aksarben Village, but we really have no clue how they turn cute little bears to armed commandos. We’ll stick with bricks and mortar, thank you very much, and leave the virtual world to the geniuses at SkyVu.


UNO is Bullish on Enrollment

The OWH reported on a plan to increase enrollment at the University of Nebraska – Omaha to about 20,000 over the next eight years from it’s current level slightly below 15,500.

We at Alchemy Development can’t wait for the bigger crowds to mingle around Aksarben Village. Our motives are entirely selfish: the scavenger hunt for the annual Robert Hancock & Co. picnic at Stinson Park will become more challenging.

You see, more students translates into more shoppers and those shoppers will want more options for entertainment, dining, and (ahem) housing in the Aksarben Village neighborhood. More options means more challenging clues for the scavenger hunt.

Right now, it’s not too hard to find a cocktail napkin from Liv Lounge, a cupcake from Jones Bros., and a picture next to Omaha’s (the horse) statue and get back to home base in 15 minutes.

In a few years, we’ll have to nab a petunia from the florist, a pair of Smartwool socks from the fly fishing outfitter, an ostrich egg from Le Barouf, and three billiard chalks from Minnesota Fats’ Grill.

We’ll have to take the entire afternoon off.

Omaha in the Sky

OWH columnist Michael Kelly wrote about Omaha’s appearance in the most recent edition of the Delta Airlines in-flight magazine.

It’s a 28-page spread extolling all the economic miracles of the River City. Even Kelly blushes at some of the effusive praise lauded upon The Big O and wonders if Omaha can live up to such high expectations.

It’s as if suddenly Omaha entered the American consciousness the way Chuck Yeager emerged from the burning wreckage of his plane after breaking the sound barrier in the famous scene from “The Right Stuff”. (In this metaphor, the wreckage is the US economy, in case you couldn’t figure that out).

Enter stage left: Filthy prospector (like Mr. Howell in that dream he had on Gilligan’s Island).

Prospector/Howell: In the old days, when the inter-web was just beginnin’ to spit out it’s fanciful millionaires in Silicon Valley, Omaha was full of nuthin’ but hillbillies and cattle. Heck, Warren Buffett was just a crazy codger who clutched tightly to a bunch of businesses destined for the buggy-whip pile like in-sooo-rance and Coca-Cola. But today, everything is different! We’ve even got art on our corn silos!

(Sweeps hand across panorama of TD Ameritrade Park and First National Tower. Winks. Clicks spurs.)

(Enter well-dressed female executive in casual yet work-appropriate clothing. Possibly wearing stylish shoulder bag to represent modern version of Golden Sower statue.)

Executive: Now when we get stuck in conversations in other cities we don’t have to look at the floor and mumble something about Omaha being a great place to raise a family.

(Cue music: Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Fade to Black.)

Omaha’s denizens are wise to look such adulation with a bit of skepticism. It’s nice, but it’s a little like the girl who never got invited to the prom suddenly making head cheerleader. Or like the old cartoons when they ask for a volunteer to step forward and all but one actually step backwards. Suddenly some poor sap is out in front and gets sent into the mansion to look for ghosts.

The truth is that we’ve always been like Chuck Yeager Grinding it out year after year – going faster and faster. Nobody paid Chuck much attention with all the astronauts getting all the press. Now the astronauts have come back to Earth.


WSJ: Omaha Gets Smarter?

Is Omaha getting smarter? Well, not necessarily. At times, the level of intelligence actually seems to be inversely proportional to the amount of letters appearing after one’s name. European finance ministers are a case in point. Other times, the only reason some people were able to put on a cap and gown is that they managed to stay sober for 7% of their college career. Pity the chaps who were inebriated 94% of the time and just missed the gentleman’s D. If only Basketweaving 101 really was still on offer. Budget cutbacks are so cruel.

In spite of these collegiate misadventures, earning an advanced degree is still considered a nice way to develop an affinity for a football team or to have a reason to get a tattoo with Greek letters. It can also help obtain gainful employment. The fact is that people with sheepskins tend to earn more than their less-educated peers.

So the great news is that Omaha ranked sixth among US metropolitan areas With the biggest growth in the percentage of adults with college degrees over the past ten years. This bodes well for the health of the Omaha economy as these well-educated folk feed the grist mill of capitalism.