Under a large construction crane, workers cover the third floor of the new 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 was the strong wind, which blew through the area almost every day in April. Gusts of up to 40 mph were not unusual. Nevertheless, the building has grown at an impressive rate.
Land was laid in September for the mixed-use building and construction began almost immediately. The overall mail renovation is a $75 million project.
The four-story building is expected to be completed this year, offering commercial space on the first floor and 96 apartments on levels 2, 3 and 4, as well as 32 garages for residents.
New utilities have already been installed under the parking lot. The south side of the parking lot is paved.
Inside, renovation work has begun on Dunham’s new sporting goods store. Dunham’s has stores in 23 states, from Wyoming to Maryland.
The mall is named 177 District after exit 177 off I-80, the main interchange in North Platte.
Before the renovations are complete, buildings on the “outside lot” near Dewey St. will be replaced with a handful of new retail businesses.
New businesses coming to the mall are Bling Glamor and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, officials said in April.
The main movers for the renovations are Mike Works of REV Development and Justin Hernandez of New Generation Construction. Additionally, Nebraskaland Bank, led by CEO Mike Jacobson, helped broker the deal. The development was largely supported by the community.
North Platte Chamber-DevCo President Gary Person noted that once-thriving malls across the country are melting, as big-box stores move away, but the North Platte Mall is being revitalized, thanks to “a big plan, a youthful energy and a creative concept that you usually see in big cities.
District 177 should be something out of 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 space in the city, with living quarters, shops, boutiques and a movie theatre.
The mall development leads the construction projects in the city. Hard hats are lining up in most parts of the city, preparing for an expected boom in business development in the area.
(Tap on images to enlarge. Photos by Georges Lauby)
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, meanders through the neighborhood.
The landscaping team was hard at work as this report was written. Excavation for a swimming pool was scheduled 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 takes housing applications.
Five other apartment buildings are in the final stages of construction, thanks to the work of Lincoln’s Brester Construction.
Each building has four two-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom apartments. There is an 8 car garage nearby.
Plans call for the development of businesses – possibly a convenience store and gas station – on the corner of West A in the future.
Plenty of warehouses
On the south side of town, in 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 neighborhood of multi-building warehouses.
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 few warehouses are being built indoors to meet occupant specifications.
Construction of the 50,000 square foot 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 in more than half of the United States.
Nearby, a new warehouse building for Coors Distributing is under construction.
The “plug and play” Twin Rivers industrial park allows North Platte to be marketed nationally, Person said.
Twin Rivers Park is also home to the Fed-Ex shipping terminal. Cabela’s/Bass Pro call center at the park entrance is now closed and the building is for sale through Commercial Investments of North Platte.
national guard building
On the east side of town, just west of North Platte Regional Airport, a large new National Guard maintenance building is in the final stages of construction. The building stands along US Highway 30, not far from the airport terminal entrance.
At Great Plains Regional Medical Center, work continues on a $6.2 million renovation of the old 1975 hospital building, immediately east of the new West Tower which opened in 2015 .
The exterior will be restored to match the appearance of the West Tower. It is home to the GPH Brain and Spine Clinic, led by nationally renowned brain surgeon Lee Warren.
A few blocks north of the hospital, preparatory work, including utility lines, is nearing completion for a new $20 million primary care center for GPH. The city has extended William Street to serve the care center as well as new buildings that may be built there in the future.
On the north end of town, a million dollar renovation of the ESU 16 Special Services Center at 1221 W. 17th is finally complete, after construction was delayed by COVID-19.
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 therapists, career counselors, university teachers, medical personnel and social workers in the region.
Executive Director Deb Paulman said the new building contains improved technology and the addition of an audiology lab to test students’ hearing, a service that ESU 16 also provides to neighboring ESU 15. Steele Construction was the general contractor.
Other projects to note:
• In the middle of 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 halfway done. He hopes to open mid-July if things fall into place. Neff also owns the Peg Leg Brewery across the street.
• North Platte Catholic Schools is carrying out a $650,000 renovation, improving the teachers’ lounge, upgrading lights, locker rooms and washrooms.
• Bill Summers obtains a building for $450,000. Large storage buildings have been erected at various locations, such as Knapp Electric, Lusk Heating and Air Conditioning, and Pure Clean.
• A $400,000 renovation of the downtown upper floors of the Keith Theater building is underway to convert the space into housing.
• To the west, the complete replacement of Lakeview Street from Front Street to West A Street is underway. Paulson Construction of Cozad is in charge.
• New Habitat for Humanity homes continue to increase near 17th and Cody.
• A renovation of 150,000 restrooms on the second and third floors of the Lincoln County Courthouse is complete.
• North Platte Community College added a new 40’x 82′ garage.
• Cornhusker Cleaning renovated a former gas station in G and Dewey for tenant office or store space.
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.
Developers obtain funds to build a sustainable beef packing plant east of North Platte. Once the project begins, the construction of a $325 million independent packaging plant is expected to take two years.
The legislature authorized $20 million to help offset some of the sewage treatment costs for the packing plant. Additionally, city officials approved $27 million in tax increase funding to build infrastructure.
Also, an industrial rail park east of Hershey is in the sights of DevCo Chairman Gary Person after the legislature allocated a similar amount to get it started.
(The report was first published in the Newsletters April 20 print edition.)
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