For the last few years developers of new condos Downtown have put on the Downtown Living Tour as a showcase for their properties. New ones are added each year, while some are mainstays each year.
I think this year had the fewest amount of properties to view but it is still a big event in Downtown. Shuttles are provided to ferry prospective condo buyers and those who just want to take a peek, around to the different condo buildings.
While these may be some of the most expensive residences in Downtown, they are by no means indicative of all residential living here. Personally, I would like to see the tour expanded to not only the high end properties (the cheapest of these pictured start between $180K-$200K+).
I think this event does wonders for the attention of specific projects but if it's going to be called a "Downtown Living Tour" I feel it should showcase all of the living options Downtown: from apartments to condos across all price ranges.
I would also like to see more information presented on Downtown to people. Most taking the tour, even though they are locals, are not aware of what services are offered Downtown. They may know their favorite Old Market restaurant but they don't know where to buy groceries.
Some of the agents I spoke with were equally clueless about the surroundings of the properties they were pitching, while some (not surprisingly those who live Dotwntown already) think their could be more done to spread information vital to living Downtown.
I started the tour at the Paxton. Originally built as a hotel it had degenerated to a glorified flop-house for the homeless. It was purchased by a local developer a few years ago and turned into condos. I was extremely displeased with the agents working the Paxton.
The lobby had many people waiting to take the tour but between agents disappearing after promising to take us up the secured elevator, to the only agent I saw other completely ignoring people in the lobby, I left without seeing a model unit.
This is one of the condo projects that was new construction as opposed to many that are rehabs of older buildings.
I like this one for offering ground level retail that was previously unavailable in the single story brick building it replaced.
The Joslyn Lofts
This is a very recent apartment-to-condo conversion. Renters are being offered discounted prices to buy if they choose so.
The Lofts at Soma
Soma was Downtown first big condo project and has been built in multiple phases over the years. Construction of the final phase is going on now.
Most of the residences at Soma are 4-5 story townhomes while the Lofts are designed closer to the style of traditional Old Market loft apartments. The view from here are killer.
First, I forgot to get a picture of the front. This project is a recent rehab of an old apartment building actually just south of Downtown proper.
Beebe & Runyan
Where Soma was one of the first new construction condo projects, Beebe & Runyan was one of the original condo rehabs. I had the change to tour this building years ago before the conversion and the inside is night and day different.
The atrium that runs the height of the building (not counting floors used for parking) replaced floor after floor of old furniture and piles of junk left over the years.
Riverfront Place 1 & 2
Tower 1 has been completed for sometime while the taller second tower is set to have it's grand opening next weekend. This condo project is perhaps Omaha's most visible due to it's location next to the popular Kerrey Bridge. While taking advantage of it's riverfront location, Tower 22 may be at risk for flooding due to the high levels of the Missouri River.
The worst of the flooding is expected to come in 2 weeks when the water is expected to be within a foot of Omaha's levy. High water levels have already closed down part of the riverfront area on the Omaha side. It has already come up to where the sidewalk used to be visible.
The Council Bluffs (Iowa) side is already under water while many small towns along the river have already seen people abandon their homes in anticipation of the destruction.
I completely spaced checking out the 1101 Jackson building. Due to the problems that plague the shuttles every single year I missed getting out to Midtown Crossing, the new 600-unit, 1,000,000 sq ft residential/commercial project built by Mutual of Omaha.
Walking home past the Douglas County Courthouse and City Hall I came upon this protest of Omar Bashir's butchery in southern Sudan. Omaha has the largest population of Sudanese in the US. I don't remember the exact number but it was surprising; many thousands as opposed to many hundreds that you would expect in cold Nebraska.
I spoke with the woman in orange about what is taking place. After immigrating here 13 years ago she is still trying to get family and friends out of Sudan. Many in the crowd still have friends and family affected by what is happening in Sudan. They were trying to create awareness of what is going on and hope to appeal to US officials to send in humanitarian aid at the very least.