Mall, apartment complex dominate construction scene

Below a tall construction crane, workers are sheeting the third floor of the new combination retail and apartment building at the District 177 Mall, just off the busy one-way streets in the middle of North Platte.

The worker’s biggest challenge has been the strong wind, which roared through the area nearly every day in April. Gusts up to 40 mph were not unusual. Nevertheless, the building has grown at an impressive pace.

Ground was broken in September for the mixed-use building and construction began almost immediately. The overall renovation of the mail is a $75 million project.

The four-story building is expected to be complete this year, offering retail space on the first floor and 96 apartments on levels 2, 3 and 4, plus 32 garages for residents.

New utilities have already been installed beneath the parking lot. The south side of the parking lot is paved.

Inside, work has started on a renovation for Dunham’s Sporting Goods’ new store. Dunham’s has stores in 23 states from Wyoming to Maryland.

The mall is named the 177 District after I-80 exit 177, the main interchange in North Platte.

Before the renovations are complete, buildings in the “out lot” near Dewey St. will be replace with a handful of new retail businesses.

New businesses that are coming to the mall are Bling Glamour and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, officials announced in April.

The principal movers in the renovations are Mike Works of REV Development and Justin Hernandez of New Generation Construction. Also, Nebraskaland Bank, led by CEO Mike Jacobson, helped put the deal together. The development was widely supported by the community.

North Platte Chamber-DevCo President Gary Person has noted that once-flourishing malls across the country are melting down, as big box stores pull away, but North Platte’s mall is being revitalized, thanks to “a great plan, young energy and a creative concept you usually see in major cities.”

District 177 is predicted to be an exit from the ordinary, according to the company that came up with the new name and logo. Like the downtown Canteen District, the mall will seek to become a unique area within the city, with living quarters, stores, shops and a movie theater.

The mall development leads the construction projects in the city. Hard hats are hustling in most all parts of the city, preparing for an expected boom in business development in the area.

(Tap on images to enlarge. Photos by George Lauby)

Apartment buildings

Construction Superintendent Joe Recker at the site of a new 80-unit apartment complex, complete with a pool.

On the west side near the corner of West A and Lakeview, 10 new apartment buildings are reaching the final stages of construction in a $10 million project.

A new street, Pioneer Drive, curves through the area.

The landscaping crew was hard at work as this report was written. Excavation for a swimming pool was expected to begin within a week, Construction Superintendent Joe Recker said.

Recker said five apartment buildings are in various stages of occupancy. A club house is open with a fully equipped exercise room. The office manager is taking applications for housing.

Five more of the apartment buildings are in the latter stages of construction, thanks to the work of Brester Construction of Lincoln.

Each apartment building contains four two-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom apartments. There is an 8-bay garage nearby.

Plans allow for business development — perhaps a convenience store and gas station — on the corner of West A in the future.

Warehouses galore

K & M Tire

On the south side of the city, out at the Twin Rivers Business Park, west of the Wal-Mart distribution center, a new $3 million K&M tire distribution center is in operation — part of a multi-building warehouse district.

The large storage buildings were erected by Chief Industries and its subsidiary, Prataria Ventures, in 2019-20. The exteriors are now finished and landscaped. A couple warehouses are in the process of interior construction to meet the occupant’s specifications.

The construction of the 50,000 sq. ft. distribution center for K&M Tire began a year ago. It sits on 7.3 acres of land. K&M Tire is a family-owned tire distributor with 32 distribution centers across more than half of the United States.

Nearby, a new storage building for Coors Distributing is under construction.

The “shovel ready” Twin Rivers industrial business park allows North Platte to be marketed nationally, Person has said.

Picture perfect warehouses, ready for occupants.

Twin Rivers Park is also home to the Fed-Ex shipping terminal. The Cabela’s/Bass Pro call Center at the entrance to the park is now closed and the building is for sale through Commercial Investments of North Platte.

National Guard building

New maintenance center for the Guard.

On the east side of town, just west of the North Platte Regional Airport, a big new National Guard maintenance building is in the final stages of construction. The building stands along U.S. Highway 30, not far from the entrance to the airport’s terminal building.

Hospital

At the Great Plains Regional Medical Center, work continues on a $6.2 million renovation of the old 1975 hospital building, immediately east of the newer West Tower that opened in 2015.

New Brain and Spine Medical Center, April 20.

The exterior will be refinished to match the appearance of the West Tower. It is home to the GPH Brain and Spine Clinic, led by nationally noted brain surgeon, Lee Warren.

A couple blocks north of the hospital, the groundwork, including utility service lines, is nearly finished for a new $20 million primary care center for GPH. The city extended William St. to serve the care center as well as new buildings that might be built there in the future.

ESU headquarters

On the north edge of the city, a $1 million renovation of the ESU 16 Special Services Center at 1221 W. 17th is finally complete, after construction was delayed by COVID-19.

Todd Hatcher of ESU 16 mans the new front desk.

The ESU 16 serves a nine-county area of more than 12,000 square miles, including 657 teachers and 7,906 students. It provides special education, speech-language pathologists, guidance counselors, academic teachers, medical personnel and social workers in the area.

Executive Director Deb Paulman said the new building contains upgraded technology and the addition of an audiology lab to test student’s hearing, a service that ESU 16 also provides to the neighboring ESU 15. Steele Construction was the general contractor.

Other projects of note:

• Amid the hotels on E. Halligan Drive, not far from the Tru Hotel, a new restaurant is under construction. Owner Dan Neff said the $1.7 million project is about half finished. He hopes to open mid-July if things fall in place. Neff is also an owner of the Peg Leg Brewery across the street.

New restaurant on Halligan (hotel) Drive.

• The North Platte Catholic schools are doing a $650,000 remodel, improving the teacher lounge, upgrading lights, locker room and restroom.

• Bill Summers is getting a $450,000 building. Large storage buildings have been erected at various places, such as Knapp Electric, Lusk Heating and Air Conditioning and Pure Clean.

Warehouse for Pure Clean at Walnut and Third.

• A $400,000 renovation of the upper floors downtown of the Keith Theater building is underway to convert the space into living quarters.

• Out west, the complete street replacement of Lakeview, from Front to West A St. is underway. Paulson Construction of Cozad is in charge.

• New Habitat for Humanity homes continue to go up near 17th and Cody.

Habitat homes, 17th and Cody, next to the Buffalo Early Learning Center.

• A 150,000 remodel of restrooms on the second and third floors of the Lincoln County courthouse is complete.

• The North Platte Community College has added a new 40’x 82’ garage.

• Cornhusker Cleaning has renovated an old service station at G and Dewey for tenant office or store space.

Retail or office space at G & Dewey is nearly ready for occupants

In the early stages

• A new restaurant near the Holiday Inn for Wilkinson Development.

• An addition to the community college health and science education center.

• An expansion of the John Deere machinery dealership, AKRS, on East Walker Road.

Bigger projects

Developers are getting the finances in order to build a Sustainable Beef packing plant on the east edge of North Platte. Once the project gets going, it is expected to take two years to construct an independently owned, $325 million packing house.

The Legislature authorized $20 million to help offset a portion of the sewage treatment costs for the packing plant. In addition, city officials approved $27 million in tax increment financing to build infrastructure.

Also, an industrial rail park east of Hershey is in the sights of DevCo President Gary Person, after the Legislature allocated a similar amount to get it off the ground.

(The report was first published in the Bulletin’s April 20 print edition.)


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