Construction crews began tearing down a vacant former hotel in midtown on Friday to make way for a six-story high-end apartment building that city officials said is the largest of its kind in the central city to be built with no public subsidy.
The 16 Powerhouse building will rise at the corner of 16th and P Streets, a busy intersection facing Fremont Park in a burgeoning corridor of restaurants and housing.
The $17.2 million building is scheduled for completion by next fall, said Bay Miry, whose D&S Development is leading the project.
It will include 50 market-rate apartments, some as large as 1,700 square feet. None of the units will be set aside for low-income housing, and Miry said rents will range from $1,700 to $3,500 per month. Most apartments will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
"We're trying to target people with some spending power," Miry said. "The empty nesters and the people tired of suburbia who still want some space."
Local coffeehouse Insight Coffee Roasters and Orchid Thai restaurant of Lincoln have signed leases to open on the ground floor; Insight will face and have seating in the adjacent Powerhouse Alley, the alley between P and Q streets for which the project is named.
A third commercial tenant, which Miry said would be revealed soon, has also signed a lease to open on the ground floor of the property.
Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents the central city, said the project is another essential step in adding life to the area.
"We used to have twice as many people living in the central city as we have today," he said. "So more housing, especially the kind of quality housing you have in this project, is great."
The Capitol Area Development Authority is building an 84-unit apartment building one block to the north on 16th Street. The Fremont apartment building, which houses the Pronto restaurant and other businesses, already stands on 16th Street. Another housing development is planned for the corner of 16th and N streets.
"This will be one of the most densely populated corridors in the city," Miry said this week, standing at the site of his project.
Miry's company purchased the land for the 16 Powerhouse facility from CADA for $480,000. Construction is being financed by the development team and with financing from F&M Bank.
Jim Rinehart, the city's director of economic development, said the 16 Powerhouse project is the first large, high-end apartment building constructed in the central city without public assistance.
Rinehart and Miry said the project is also the first high-end apartment building in the region to attain a LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. In order to gain LEED certification, buildings must meet various environmental and clean-energy standards.
Among the environmentally-friendly touches planned for 16 Powerhouse are energy-efficient HVAC units and solar-powered water heaters.
"We want this to be one of the greenest projects in the country," Miry said.