Post Tagged with: "arenas/stadiums"

MECA board member’s residency challenged

MECA board member’s residency challenged

UPDATE, 9/13: Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale is now investigating Gutierrez Mora. 

UPDATE, 9/11: Most of the City Council appears to be supportive of Festersen’s plan. 

UPDATE, 9/10: City Council President Pete Festersen wants the city to clarify the qualifications for MECA board members.

Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority board member Jamie Gutierrez Mora doesn’t meet the requirements to serve on the board — at least according to Omaha’s city attorney.

In an opinion issued late last week, City Attorney Paul Kratz said Gutierrez Mora does not live in Douglas County and is not a “resident elector,” though she is registered to vote in Douglas County. Gutierrez Mora owns a home in Bellevue, but has listed a South Omaha rental property owned by her husband as her home. 

Now, the mayor and City Council could vote to remove Gutierrez Mora from the board. The MECA board could also act independently on the matter.

September 9, 2013 Comments Read More
Where does this MECA board member live?

Where does this MECA board member live?

The newest member of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority board faces questions over whether her Bellevue home disqualifies her to serve with the group, which runs Omaha’s marquee arena and baseball stadium.

Jamie Gutierrez Mora, owner and president of Midwest Maintenance Co., was appointed by the Omaha City Council in March. Midwest Maintenance Co. provides cleaning services for the CenturyLink Center, the Omaha Civic Auditorium and TD Ameritrade Park.

Gutierrez Mora is a registered voter in Douglas County, but has not voted there, according to county election records. She owns a home in Belle­vue with a tax value of roughly $600,000. That is not the address listed on the résumé that Gutierrez Mora gave the city upon her appointment.

Voters who have previously registered in Nebraska can register in a different county without having to provide proof of address, said Valerie Stoj, spokeswoman for the Douglas County Election Commission.

But applicants must sign an oath that “I live in the State of Nebraska at the address provided in this application.” The oath says applicants who knowingly provide false information are guilty of election falsification, a felony.

MECA paid Midwest Maintenance Co. some $3.8 million from its 2009 through its 2011 fiscal years, according to federal tax forms. Gutierrez Mora has owned the company since 1997.

August 23, 2013 Comments Read More
Trucks causing rumblings in north downtown

Trucks causing rumblings in north downtown

If you hang out around a stretch of historic warehouses-turned offices in north downtown, you can apparently experience something similar to an earthquake.

Business and building owners along a stretch of Nicholas Street, just north of TD Ameritrade Park, are fed up with big trucks roaring past, headed for the Interstate from industries in north Omaha. 

It’s a tricky problem for the city, which has encouraged development around the stadium and the CenturyLink Center, but also wants to see companies thrive a few blocks to the north. So far, there’s no great solution.

August 1, 2013 Comments Read More
Hotel developer looking for TIF

Hotel developer looking for TIF

The developer of a north downtown project that will include a full-service hotel, apartments and retail space is looking to get up to $35 million in tax-increment financing.

The request for TIF was approved by the Planning Board on Wednesday and will now move on to the City Council. Mike Moylan, the president of Shamrock Development, said the financing will be crucial to getting the entire project completed at the same time. His target: December 2015.

“Without a doubt, (TIF) is extremely important to the success of this particular site,” he said. “We’re looking at a large-scale, mixed-use development we’d like to have occur all at one time, and it cannot be done without the support of TIF.”

Officials with the city and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority have pointed to the hotel as a key attraction for convention bookers. With the Hilton Omaha, the new Marriott that will go up on the site at 10th Street and Capitol Avenue will provide more rooms for people attending events at the CenturyLink Center.

July 11, 2013 Comments Read More
Devil in the details on arena plan

Devil in the details on arena plan

A planned arena for the University of Nebraska at Omaha has the Omaha City Council’s unanimous support. Now the city just has to find a way to pay for its share.

“The devil’s in the details,” said Larry Jobeun, a real estate attorney representing the university. That includes plans for traffic and parking around the $76 million arena near Aksarben Village, not to mention funding millions of dollars worth of city-financed infrastructure around the site.

Councilman Chris Jerram said “there’s plenty of time between now and the next vote” to iron out more specifics, including how exactly city government will get involved — and, Jerram said, the nuances needed to make that work.

Cassie Seagren, Stothert’s deputy chief of staff for economic development, said the city’s commitment will be funded without a tax increase or a delay in projects prioritized in Omaha’s plan for capital improvements.

“I would just say we’re exploring all (funding) options at this point,” Seagren told council members Tuesday.

July 3, 2013 Comments Read More
Rick’s Café for sale?

Rick’s Café for sale?

UPDATE: 5/2: City officials say they will serve Rick’s Café Boatyard owner Rick Albrecht with a notice of default this week.

That move means the city is looking to get complete control over the restaurant, which Albrecht listed for sale.

Meanwhile, Albrecht told us he’s still working with the city but exploring his options.

“I’m just seeing if it’s of interest to anybody else,” he said.


Yes, according to a real estate listing. But news of the troubled restaurant’s listing was a surprise to city officials.

Rick’s Café Boatyard, which sits on city-owned land on Riverfront Drive, is listed by the Lerner Co. for $2.75 million.

Owner Rick Albrecht won’t return calls for comment. City officials doubt the tightly-worded parameters of Albrecht’s lengthy lease agreement with the city gives him any authority to sell the property.

Celebrated at its opening, the pricey restaurant was counted on to anchor new riverfront development. But it closed its doors in January and faces an uncertain future, despite apparent plans to resume operations this spring.

There definitely seems to be outside interest in the property. The city says it will continue courting several prospective tenants for the site. Plus, in the past two days, even I’ve heard from prospective tenants: a noted Kansas City restaurateur and a local private equity firm.

I expect more news to come soon. Stay tuned.

May 1, 2013 Comments Read More
In the works: a bridge to the bridge

In the works: a bridge to the bridge

On today’s council agenda: the latest sign of plans for a new bridge that would make it easier to walk, run or bike from north downtown to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.

The project, which could cost close to $3.8 million is still at least a few years down the road — planning officials told us construction likely wouldn’t start until 2016, at the earliest. But the city is beginning to explore planning and design options for a bridge that would stretch across the railroad tracks between the riverfront and destinations such as TD Ameritrade Park.

March 5, 2013 Comments Read More
CenturyLink in line for big upgrades

CenturyLink in line for big upgrades

More news from the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority: the CenturyLink Center is getting a new scoreboard. And new video equipment. And new digital ribbon panels around the sides of the arena.

All told, the upgrades will cost MECA $5.8 million. It’s a big investment, but officials say there’s no way around it; Technology has changed considerably since the original equipment went up in 2003. Repairs were getting too expensive and other venues are outpacing the CenturyLink’s video capabilities.

MECA president Roger Dixon said the new equipment, which will be in before hockey season starts in the fall, will make for a noticeably sharper viewing experience. More cameras will capture different angles on the action to display on the big screen.

February 8, 2013 Comments Read More
Re-develop the Civic Auditorium site, please.

Re-develop the Civic Auditorium site, please.

The city seeks a headhunter, or “owner representative,” to determine a plan for site of the Civic Auditorium, music hall and convention center and enticing developers to make it a reality.

City officials said they envision a national search for a good match. The consultant will conduct a market study to find out what development would be the best fit for the site and for the city’s master plan.

Think you can handle it? The copy of the city’s entire RFP is pasted below.

Preliminary estimates peg the cost to demolish the 9,300-seat auditorium, Music Hall and convention hall at $5 million to $7 million, Suttle said. The estimates, however, did not include an environmental study of the structure, and the actual cost could be higher.

“The City of Omaha believes that the Civic Auditorium and Music Hall structures are not economically feasible for rehabilitation and continued use,” the city’s request for proposals says. ”It is anticipated that these structures would be removed as part of a redevelopment project.  It is also anticipated that the Parking Structure will be retained by the City of Omaha but may be available to support the redevelopment project.”

December 6, 2012 Comments Read More
Civic Auditorium nearing its end

Civic Auditorium nearing its end

It looks like 2013 will be the last full year in business for the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

The 58-year-old facility, once the main hub of activity for concerts, conventions and sports events in Omaha, will close sometime in 2014.

Mayor Jim Suttle’s office says the City Council’s rejection of another study on the future of the Civic was the last straw for the facility. For years, officials had tossed around several ideas, including prserving the 2,315-seat Music Hall while demolishing the rest of the rest of the building.

November 5, 2012 Comments Read More