A Kansas developer has scaled back and moved plans for what he proposed last year as a student apartment project of nearly 1,000 units on the Capital Steel site, 1001 N. Ninth St.
Chris Elsey, a developer from Manhattan, Kan., now wants to build a 186-unit complex on about two-and-a-half acres stretching from 10th to 12th streets on Y Street.
According to plans Elsey shared at a neighborhood meeting last week, the apartment complex would be a combination of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, with a total of 256 beds. It would include a parking garage and would be as much as five stories tall.
The area in the shadow of Memorial Stadium now has a dozen homes on the north side of the street. A University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty/staff parking lot takes up most of the south side of the street. At the far east end of the dead-end street, there is another parking lot on the north side that’s used mostly on football Saturdays.
Elsey wants to buy all the homes, and according to residents, has agreements to buy nine of the 12.
Walt Bleich’s house is likely to be the 10th.
Bleich said he and his wife have done a lot of remodeling to their home in the more than 30 years they’ve owned it and planned to stay there for the foreseeable future. But he said he got an offer that was “more than fair,” which helped change his mind.
“What can you do when they offer something that is really hard to refuse?” he said.
Elsey has not laid out a timeline for the project, but Bleich said the contract he was offered has a proposed closing date of Aug. 1.
Elsey, who would need a zoning change to build his proposed complex, has not submitted anything to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department, but he has had informal discussions with its staff. He said he hopes to submit plans later this spring.
Bleich said the new plan seems to be more acceptable to neighborhood residents than the previous one — at least there seemed to be little opposition to it at last week’s meeting.
Elsey’s previous plan encountered strong opposition from North Bottoms neighborhood residents, who said it would not fit in and would create huge traffic problems.
North Bottoms Neighborhood Association President Annette McRoy said she’s not sure there’s necessarily more support for the new plan.
McRoy said last week’s meeting included only property owners within a 200-foot radius of the proposed project, meaning very few people were invited.
McRoy said that while she’s happy the plan has been scaled way back, she still thinks it’s too many units to add to the area and would prefer to see owner-occupied townhomes.
However, she said she wouldn’t begrudge homeowners wanting to sell.
“If people sell and he gets all the property, then we’ll see what the city does,” she said.