StarTran Receives $2 Million Federal Grant in Lincoln, Nebraska

Mayor Chris Beutler and StarTran officials today announced that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded a $2 million Ladders of Opportunity grant to StarTran, the City’s transit system. StarTran will use the grant funds to buy three buses and two downtown trolleys that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) as well as a bus driving simulator.

“The Ladders of Opportunity initiative supports the modernization and expansion of bus service,” Mayor Beutler said. “The goal is to connect disadvantaged and low-income residents with the vital services they need to improve their lives – services like education, employment, job training and health care. The grant process was very competitive – only 24 transit systems in the U.S. were selected to share in the $100 million in grants.”

Mokhtee Ahmad, the Regional Administrator for Region 7 of the FTA, attended the announcement, and Beutler thanked the FTA for its continued support of StarTran. Ahmad said FTA received 446 project proposals from 282 applicants for the grant.

“Priority was given to projects that provide ready access to work for individuals lacking reliable transportation, especially in low-income and under-served neighborhoods,” Ahmad said. “At the Regional FTA Office in Kansas City, we have always had a wonderful working relationship with StarTran. We are excited that Lincoln is a recipient of these funds to help enhance bus transportation opportunities in the community.”

The Mayor also thanked Black Hills Energy for its cash match commitment of $28,000 to the purchase. Black Hills also helped the City purchase its first five CNG buses earlier this year. StarTran Transit Manager Michael Davis said CNG buses are less expensive to operate, better for the environment and safer. He said StarTran’s fleet of CNG vehicles will grow to 29 over the next two years.

Davis said he plans to have the procurement of these grant-funded CNG buses completed within one year. The new vehicles will replace ones that have surpassed their 12-year usable life. The full-size buses will be used on routes with a high number of low-income patrons. He said the bus driving simulator will be StarTran’s first, and it will help improve safety by enhancing the driver training. The simulator replicates the driving component of a typical bus and uses video displays of real driving experiences.

More information on StarTran is available at startran.lincoln.ne.gov or (402) 476-1234.


by Terry Uland, President
Downtown Lincoln Association
402-434-6900
www.downtownlincoln.org


Founded in 1967, the Downtown Lincoln Association provides services and champions initiatives for maintaining and enhancing our vibrant downtown. Our vision is to create an energetic downtown environment where we live, learn, work, invest and play. DLA has evolved into a multi-faceted organization supporting a wide range of programs and activities including maintenance, economic development and advocacy.

For a complete listing of downtown businesses, events and residences visit downtownlincoln.org. ‘Like’ us on Facebook at facebook.com/downtownlincoln.

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Downtown Lincoln Association announces Impact Award Winners at Annual Meeting

The Downtown Lincoln Association (DLA) announced the winners of their 2014 Downtown Impact Awards at their annual meeting October 29th. DLA’s Impact Awards recognize businesses or individuals that have made a significant contribution to downtown Lincoln. Nearly 250 people attended the event held at the Embassy Suites Hotel.  The six Downtown Impact Awards included were given to the following recipients:

Significant Private Development - Project Oscar, LLC | Olsson Associates Headquarters

Photo_Significant_Private_Development_Olsson_Associates_Lincoln_NebraskaIn just a few short years, the Haymarket has witnessed a number of significant changes to the familiar landscape. Blending the old and new is important to the integrity of the city’s historic district. The area has a rich history of maintaining the heritage of its original buildings, but new and vibrant structures like Project Oscar are certainly welcome. While the four-story building gleams with modern design, it seems to fit comfortably in its new spot.

Olsson Associates brings its own established history to the Haymarket. With over 900 employees in 24 offices across the Midwest and Southwest, Olsson has been headquartered in Lincoln since it was established in 1956. In fact, Olsson has always had its central office in a Downtown location. When discussion about relocating and building a new space began about three years ago, Olsson reached out to Tetrad Property Group and the partnership was formed.  Tetrad, with its well-established record of long-term ownership in real estate and facilities, took the lead as the developer, and the true work began.

The resulting $17 million building is 82,000 square feet in size, with Olsson occupying 46,000 square feet. The 200 Lincoln employees moved in August to offices on the second and third floor of the building with a roof deck on the third floor that will also be open to other tenant employees. On the ground level, a courtyard is open to the public. Plans still call for perhaps an office tenant on the fourth floor with the first floor open for retail. Project Oscar is the first office building to open in West Haymarket, far sooner than expected, effectively accelerating the next wave of developments.

Residential Development AwardTru-Built Construction | 1421 P Street Project

Photo_Residential_Development_Tru_Built_Lincoln_NebraskaTru-Built co-owners Bo Jones and Steve Powell started working together in 1999 while they were students attending the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Their first projects were small and could be completed around their class schedules, but projects soon became more frequent and on a larger scale. Tru-Built quickly turned into one of Lincoln’s leading single family home developers specializing in high end homes.

Many were skeptical when Bo and Steve said they would like to take a look at renovating the property at 1421 P Street, officially known as the Case, Case and Case building. Several developers had looked at renovating this building previously. They all came to the same conclusion. “We can’t make it work financially”.

That skepticism turned to cautious optimism as Bo and Steve said they were willing to undertake the renovation of this building that was the cause of so much angst downtown. Many people recognized this building was truly detrimental for the entire area.

Tru-Built totally gutted the century old building and built 28 studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom apartments in the building. Further, they took a dark and dangerous alley located behind the building that most people wanted to avoid, especially at night, and converted it into a vibrant courtyard  that serves as a gathering point not only for residents of the building but also for patrons of the adjoining businesses.

The renovation of this relatively small three story red brick building has had an impact far beyond the walls of the building. It is now a contributing property to the vibrant P Street District developing around it, and it is a reflection of a Downtown where people want to work, play and live.

Business LeadershipMarcus Corporation

Photo_Business_Leadership_Marcus_Corporation_Lincoln_NebraskaLeadership takes many forms, and supporting a community, leading it toward sustaining a vital downtown requires a great deal of commitment. Marcus Corporation has given us marked evidence of that very commitment in two different projects.

During the last year with construction in the P Street District, the Marcus Company’s Grand Cinema could have been forgiven if it had elected to delay taking risks on major renovation and upgrades to its theatre complex. But in January, the Grand went ahead with plans to add a lounge area which serves alcohol, a pizzeria, and a remodeling of one of its theatres, resulting in reclining Dream Lounger seating and an Ultra Screen visual experience. A significant amount of capital was invested in the renovations, but the project has further ensured the relevancy and appeal of the city’s biggest cinema.

Perhaps an even greater contribution to the downtown community was the Marcus Company’s purchase of the Cornhusker Hotel in 2012. While this particular incarnation of the Cornhusker Hotel building has only been around since 1983, the Cornhusker has been a Lincoln fixture since 1926. With financial difficulties due to the 2008 financial crisis, previous owners left the future of this most recognizable and historic Lincoln landmark up in the air. Thankfully, that period of uncertainty did not last long, but take a moment and try to imagine what downtown Lincoln would be like today if the Cornhusker had shuttered its doors for good. Instead, with leadership from Marcus, the Cornhusker is seeing a resurgence. Recent renovations in the public and guest areas are a hallmark of a new vibrancy for the hotel, helping to guarantee its landmark status for future generations.

Downtown ChampionClay Smith

Photo_Downtown_Champion_Clay_Smith_Lincoln_NebraskaAs a co-founder and general partner of Speedway, Clay has led the team on numerous projects in Downtown and the Haymarket that have significant impact. Recognizing that historic buildings create a sense of place for a community, many projects have involved restoration of historic buildings. This shows a commitment to the area since preserving the historic nature of a structure often requires greater resources. Bringing an historic building into the modern century to meet the needs of any office, retail or restaurant client that might move in after completion takes thoughtful and creative planning.

Last year DLA recognized the Cadillac Lofts for its unique façade and state-of-the-art amenities within a structure from the turn of the century.  An immensely successful project, and yet merely one blip on a map full of successes for Clay and Speedway. The Tool House in the Haymarket, now home to a vast array of tenants, including 60 recently completed residential units, was not much more than an eyesore only a few short years ago.  A blend of old and new, the Hilton Garden Inn is adjoining to the original structure. The old Salvation Army Building is another location able to boast a unique conglomerate of businesses thanks to Clay and his team.

Not content to simply restore or redevelop a building, the area has seen Clay’s appreciation for the visual arts expressed through the Cadillac Lofts, as well as new pieces from Jun Kaneko outside of the Hilton Garden Inn.

Always looking forward and gauging the needs for Downtown, Clay was an engaged proponent of the BID expansion into the West Haymarket, understanding that the benefits would be vital to the long term success and development of the area. With each successive endeavor, Clay has pushed Speedway to the forefront of developing trends.

Young EntrepreneurPaul & Stephanie Jarrett

Photo_Young_Entrepreneur_Bulu_Box_Lincoln_NebraskaA downtown business from its beginning, and now located in the P St. District, Bulu Box provides vitamins and other health and nutrition products in sample sizes via monthly or annual subscriptions.  To further engage customers, Bulu Box encourages users to review the products through online surveys and social media. Those users are then rewarded with points which can be applied to the purchase of the retail version of the items in question.

In embracing technology, web 2.0 and a positive work culture, Bulu Box has assembled a strong and savvy core staff in a growing market hungry for new products, services and experiences. It is because of that willingness to adapt to the times that Bulu Box has been featured in the Wall St. Journal, as well as magazines such as INC, Glamour, Lucky, Men’s Fitness and Women’s Health. With a staggering list of monthly subscribers, Bulu Box has reached all 50 states.

This is great for Paul and Stephanie, but it’s also good news for Lincoln.  With a strong and growing presence from Bulu Box, other new entities will gravitate towards the same area.  Their embrace of e-commerce technology further encourages an association between downtown Lincoln and innovation in business. You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley anymore to find exciting opportunities with start-ups and tech firms.  It can happen right here, right now, and the Bulu Box team is proof of that.

Significant Public DevelopmentP Street District | Tower Square

Photo_Significant_Public_Development_P_Street_District_Lincoln_NebraskaIt was the 2005 Downtown Master Plan which first identified the potential for P Street as a retail corridor, and with extensive planning and construction phases, the P Street District project was simply too big to ignore. Whether you work or live in the heart of downtown or on the edges of the city, chances are you have been aware of both the challenges and the potential of the project.

As construction neared completion, the area could begin to see the public benefit quite clearly. With the distinctive presence of Tower Square and its iconic art installation to the colorful banners, lighting, benches, walkable crossings, and extensive landscaping—the list of features is long. The district has a new and unique night presence as well, as it takes on a whole new identity with the lighting of the benches, banners, and all other elements of design.  The entire area is more attractive and walkable, making for a cohesive and unified district with something for everyone.

Perhaps less visible is what a benefit that long list of amenities and improvements will be for the businesses operating in the District and beyond. While the focus may be on P Street, these improvements benefit the health and vitality of downtown as well as the entire community. A revitalized P Street District becomes a central connector to the Historic Haymarket on the west and Antelope Valley to the east.

While creating a connected retail district was identified in the Master Plan, it was thanks to Mayor Beutler’s overall vision for a dynamic downtown that helped bring the concept to light.  Along with Mayor Beutler’s foresight, there is a need to acknowledge the sacrifice and patience of the retailers along this corridor.  This project could not have been completed without both parties working hand in hand to make it become a reality.

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Introducing Salty Dog Cyclery in Lincoln, Nebraska

Downtown Lincoln is always excited when we have a new unique business open up in our District. With biking being a big part of Lincoln’s culture we are happy to introduce Salty Dog Cyclery to our community. DLA was able to catch up and chat with Salty Dog owner, John Hennessy, about his new venture and being a part of Downtown.

Q: For those who have never heard of your store, explain a little about the types of bicycles/accessories you have to offer.

A: We specialize in quality used, name brand bicycles & parts, and also order in brand new bikes from a number of companies. All of our accessories and most of our parts are brand new, top brand items. We have many popular items in stock, and have access to over 50,000 items, all available for next day delivery.

Q: What are some of the brands that you like to carry?

A: The most popular bikes we carry include Trek, Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, Raleigh, Surly, Redline, Kona, Gary Fisher and many more. We stock many accessories from Cat Eye, Planet Bike, Kryptonite, Axiom, Lazer, and the list goes on.

Q: What’s the inspiration behind the name of the store?

A: I wanted to do things a little differently compared to many shops across the country today. I knew there was a population that was being underserviced, and I wanted to merge that group with the more common bicycle consumer under one shop. In order to accomplish that, I realized that we would have to behave and think differently than the norm. We’d have to be a little “Salty”.

Q: What did you do before owning Salty Dog and what made you decide to start your own store?

A: I have always had an independent streak, and eventually I spent too many days behind a desk watching the world move outside. Being outside is a passion of mine, and I knew that if I could share that feeling with other people I would be happy. My desire to open SDC wasn’t driven by money or a solid business plan and that is what I feel has led to its success. When you walk into our shop you are going to meet people passionate about bicycles and the outdoors, who are genuinely happy to be doing what they are.

Q: Do you have any upcoming sales, events or promotions you’d like people to know about?

A: During the winter months we like to partner with local businesses to give their employees discounts on all merchandise and services for a couple of weeks per business. Our goal is to increase the number of winter riders & commuters, as well as to encourage people to have their bike serviced before the busy spring time rush.

Q: How can customers keep up-to-date with happenings at Salty Dog Cyclery?

A: The best way to keep up with us is to stop in the shop, ask questions, share stories. I know that isn’t always convenient in this world, so we try to have a back and forth with our customers through our facebook page as well (facebook.com/saltydogcyclery).

Q: Anything else you’d like to say about Salty Dog?

A: When you come into the shop you will be dealing with a bike mechanic, not a sales person, and that is important to us. I am the owner and I have one apprentice. Operating small allows us to communicate well with each other and that creates a great relationship with our customers as well.

Salty Dog Cyclery is located at 1640 ‘O’ St, Suite B and is open Mon – Fri: 12:30 pm – 7:00 pm & Sat: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. For more information, visit saltydogcyclery.com or call (402) 464-2453.


by Terry Uland, President

Downtown Lincoln Association

402-434-6900

www.downtownlincoln.org


Founded in 1967, the Downtown Lincoln Association provides services and champions initiatives for maintaining and enhancing our vibrant downtown. Our vision is to create an energetic downtown environment where we live, learn, work, invest and play. DLA has evolved into a multi-faceted organization supporting a wide range of programs and activities including maintenance, economic development and advocacy. For a complete listing of downtown businesses, events and residences visit downtownlincoln.org. ‘Like’ us on Facebook at facebook.com/downtownlincoln.

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Mayor Announces Developer for Major West Haymarket Project in Lincoln, Nebraska

Mayor Chris Beutler announced last week that the City has selected the Journey Senior Living Development Team (JSLDT) to build a $19.4 million, eight-story building on the west and north sides of the new Lumberworks garage at “O” and Canopy streets. The development will include 100 senior housing units, 10,000 square feet of retail space and 8,000 square feet of office space.

Photo_Downtown_LIncoln_Association_Lincoln_NebraskaJSLDT consists of The Argent Group of Chicago Illinois, RPM Management of Bourbonnais Illinois, and Speedway Properties of Lincoln. The Argent Group is currently developing the housing/mixed use project on the block bounded by 10th, 11th, “M” and “N” streets in downtown Lincoln.

“This is another major milestone in the ongoing development of the West Haymarket area,” Mayor Beutler said. “This project will help us meet the increasing demand for housing in the downtown area. I appreciate Argent’s continuing investment in our thriving community.”

Photo_Downtown_Lincoln_Association_Development_Lincoln_Nebraska“Our entire team feels blessed to have this opportunity to make another contribution to the fabric of downtown Lincoln,” said Mark Matthews, Argent Group CEO. “Our interactions with City leadership and staff have led us to the conclusion that they have a well-articulated vision of what the City is and where it is going. As an experienced development team, this makes us want to continue to produce quality, viable projects in Lincoln in the years to come.”

“As one of the pioneers in the redevelopment of the Haymarket area, we are pleased to have this opportunity to participate in this important project” said Clay F. Smith, General Partner of Speedway Properties. “We believe this project can be a catalyst for additional development in the South Haymarket, an area that is well-positioned for growth.”

A redevelopment agreement outlining the responsibilities of both the developer and the City will go to the City Council for approval. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2015 and take 12 to 14 months.


by Terry Uland, President

Downtown Lincoln Association

402-434-6900

www.downtownlincoln.org


Founded in 1967, the Downtown Lincoln Association provides services and champions initiatives for maintaining and enhancing our vibrant downtown. Our vision is to create an energetic downtown environment where we live, learn, work, invest and play. DLA has evolved into a multi-faceted organization supporting a wide range of programs and activities including maintenance, economic development and advocacy.

For a complete listing of downtown businesses, events and residences visit downtownlincoln.org. ‘Like’ us on Facebook at facebook.com/downtownlincoln.

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Downtown Lincoln Live: Hotels in Downtown Lincoln, Nebraska are Fast, Friendly and Conveniently Located

We are very lucky to have six very nice hotels all with their own style and comfort.  Whether you are in town on business or pleasure, visiting a relative or cheering on the Huskers, Downtown Lincoln’s Hotels are fast, friendly, and conveniently located.  Numerous restaurants, attractions, and services are at your fingertips.  I invite you to browse our quick guide, visit the reservation websites, and enjoy your time in Downtown Lincoln with complete satisfaction.

Courtyard Marriott 808 R Street | 402-904-4800

Rates: $109-$189 ($400 average for Husker football weekend)

Reservations: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/lnkcy-courtyard-lincoln-downtown/

Unique Services and Amenities: Closest Hotel to Memorial Stadium & Haymarket Park • Attached Restaurant & Bar – Blue Sushi and Sake Bombers Lounge

Embassy Suites Lincoln 1040 P St. | 402-474-1111

Rates: $139 – $500 ($600 average for Husker football weekend)

Reservations: http://embassysuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/nebraska/embassy-suites-lincoln-LNKESES/index.html

Unique Services and Amenities: 20,000 sq. ft. of event space including ballroom and 15 meeting rooms • Complimentary breakfast and happy hour

Hilton Garden Inn 801 R St. | 402-475-9000

Rates: $129 – $209 ($450 average for Husker football weekend)

Reservations: http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/index.html

Unique Services and Amenities: Shuttle Service anywhere within a 3 mile radius • Attached Restaurant and Bar – Flatwater Bistro

Holiday Inn Lincoln-Downtown 141 N. 9th St. | 402-475-4011

Rates: $ 145-$199 ($400 average for Husker football weekend)

Reservations:  http://www.holiday-inn.com/lincolnne

Unique Services and Amenities: Fitness Center, Business Center, Indoor Pool
• Attached Restaurant and Bar – Red Onion Bistro

Hyatt Place Hotel 600 Q St. | 402-742-6007

Rates: $119-$179 (Nightly rates range from $199-$299 for Husker football weekend, with the exception of the Miami game)

Reservations: http://www.place.hyatt.com/en/hyattplace.html

Unique Services and Amenities: Closest hotel to The Pinnacle Bank Arena and Railyard • Complimentary a.m. Kitchen Skillet™ served daily

The Cornhusker, A Marriott Hotel 333 S. 13th St. | 402-474-7474

Rates: $100– $185 ($400 average for Husker football weekend )

Reservations: http://www.cornhuskerhotel.com

Unique Services and Amenities: Newly Renovated; 46,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, with certified planners and catering specialists on staff, for functions of any size • Attached Restaurant and Bar – The Miller Time Pub & Grill and The Cafe at The Cornhusker


by Terry Uland, President

Downtown Lincoln Association

402-434-6900

www.downtownlincoln.org


Founded in 1967, the Downtown Lincoln Association provides services and champions initiatives for maintaining and enhancing our vibrant downtown. Our vision is to create an energetic downtown environment where we live, learn, work, invest and play. DLA has evolved into a multi-faceted organization supporting a wide range of programs and activities including maintenance, economic development and advocacy.

For a complete listing of downtown businesses, events and residences visit downtownlincoln.org. ‘Like’ us on Facebook at facebook.com/downtownlincoln.

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Cool Down With Breezy Island Ice in the Railyard’s Marketplace in Lincoln, Nebraska

It’s heating up in Lincoln and the outdoor fun at the Railyard will be plentiful this summer.  With the sun beating down there are few places better to cool off than Breezy Island Ice, conveniently located in the Railyard Marketplace.  DLA sat down with Brandon Hart, owner of Breezy Island Ice, to chat about his inspirations, aspirations, and ice.

Q:  When exactly did Breezy Island Ice move into its new downtown location, and where is your business located?

A:  Breezy Island Ice is located inside of the Public Market next to the Railyard on Canopy Street. We opened shop in October of last year.

Q:  What are you enjoying most about being located downtown so far?

A:  Definitely the energy that the people bring when they come downtown. If it’s for an event they are obviously excited about that but when people find themselves downtown on a random weekday or weekend they just seem to have a certain energy or excitement about them. It’s a really great place to “set up shop.”

Q:  For those who have never been to Breezy Island Ice, can you describe the types of items you offer?

A:  Breezy Island Ice is a Shave Ice and Daiquiri Bar.  First off, I take great pride in the quality of the Shave Ice. I did a lot of research and testing in an attempt to produce some of the best tasting shave ice you can find anywhere. First off, all of our ice blocks are made “in-house” with Reverse Osmosis filtered water.  This not only improves the appearance and texture of the ice but also the taste. No chemical after-taste. Just clean, refreshing, and crisp. We also make all of our syrups at the shop. No corn syrups, No preservatives. All made with 100% pure cane sugar.  I would invite all Shave Ice enthusiasts to come down and give us a try.

The other half of Breezy Island is devoted to our frozen adult beverages. We have six commercial grade Daiquiri machines capable of producing up to 160 drinks per hour. Many people reference Vegas or Fat Tuesdays when they walk by the shop. And yes, it is exactly like the drinks you are used to. We change out the recipes often so be sure and stop down and see what we are “spinning.”

Q: Any popular themed/discount/student nights you have there during the year?

A:  Well, it’s always a beach party down at Breezy Island. In another effort to keep things simple we do 1 price/1 size on all of our items. Our prices will be hard to beat, which is why they are so hard to lower. I really think we offer an exceptional value for our products.

Q:  What three things would you bring with you if you were deserted on an island?

A:  Well hopefully you find yourself deserted on Breezy Island–then all you need is a cup, a spoon, and $4.

Q: Anything else you want to let people know about Breezy Island Ice?

A:  You can connect with us a few different ways: www.breezyislandice.com | www.facebook.com/breezyislandice | Twttter: @BreezyIslandICE


by Terry Uland, President

Downtown Lincoln Association

402-434-6900

www.downtownlincoln.org


Founded in 1967, the Downtown Lincoln Association provides services and champions initiatives for maintaining and enhancing our vibrant downtown. Our vision is to create an energetic downtown environment where we live, learn, work, invest and play. DLA has evolved into a multi-faceted organization supporting a wide range of programs and activities including maintenance, economic development and advocacy. For a complete listing of downtown businesses, events and residences visit downtownlincoln.org. ‘Like’ us on Facebook at facebook.com/downtownlincoln.

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