Work on Crossroads development is underway; project now likely to cost $600 million

It’s been more than a year and a half since demolition equipment tore into the former Sears Auto Center of Crossroads Mall to clear the way for long-awaited redevelopment.

Since then, a roughly 40-acre area of dirt has replaced the dying shopping center that for decades sat near the northwest corner of 72nd and Dodge Streets.

To passersby, those piles of dirt may not look like much, but project developers say work on “The Crossroads” venture is underway.

Architects, engineers and a team of builder partners have begun work on infrastructure that can’t be seen from street level, including work on sewers. Initial building construction will begin within the next year, said Chip James, president of Lockwood Development.

Originally expected to cost about $500 million, James said the project is trending closer to $600 million. The increase is due to “a variety of reasons,” he said.

The project team has seen a price escalation of 20% to 30% over the last year in some areas, and imports have generally slowed, which James said adds to the complexity of the project.

“Obviously, construction costs impact this, but also, based on the demand we’re seeing in the market, the project has grown in density,” James said.

Plans call for a mixed-use development consisting of both residential and commercial structures.

Lockwood co-owns Crossroads with Frank Krejci’s Century Development, which bought the struggling shopping center in 2010.

For years, Krejci, with a different partner who had taken the public-facing lead, had been working on various plans to redevelop and redefine the aging mall site. But multiple plans never got off the ground, with city officials rejecting financing requests from Krejci and his team.

It took until August 2020 for the city to commit a financial contribution to the project. Mayor Jean Stothert announced the city’s intent to join the venture with an anticipated contribution of $12.5 million in redevelopment bonds to help cover infrastructure costs.

Though the development team isn’t yet ready to announce tenants for the project, James said he and Krejci are “very pleased with the amount of interest” potential tenants have shown.

“Frank and I have always maintained that we want this project to be something special for the city of Omaha, and have been working diligently to find the best potential mix of tenants for the project,” James said.

Lockwood expects to make an announcement on a planned tenant in the coming weeks.

Another key piece still in the works is the project’s redevelopment agreement.

Although the Crossroads redevelopment plan won city approval last year, the project’s redevelopment agreement has yet to be completed.

A redevelopment agreement would finalize the project’s nearly $80 million tax-increment financing loan — making it the largest TIF approval ever granted by the City of Omaha.

When asked about the redevelopment agreement, James noted the complexity of the project.

“Projects of this scale in a suburban area can take years to complete,” James told The World-Herald. “Given the complexity of this project, Frank and I consider ourselves to be very lucky to have the support of the City of Omaha and Mayor Stothert.”

The development team and city officials have endorsed it as a project that could transform one of the city’s busiest intersections.

The Crossroads could reach 10 stories at its tallest point. The mixed-use development will likely include a series of structures containing offices; apartments; hotel rooms; retail stores; fitness, dining and entertainment venues; green spaces; and a pavilion.

The Target store and 2,200-space parking garage to the north will remain intact and be integrated into the new project bounded by 72nd, 75th, Dodge and Cass Streets.

The Lockwood-Century team expect to open The Crossroads in 2024.

Neighbors eager for Crossroads Mall Redevelopment

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Back in August, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert announced plans to redevelop the Crossroads Mall.

There have been many discussions about redeveloping the dying mall over the years, but some people who live in the area are excited because this time things actually seem to be happening.

The parking lot at Crossroads Mall is still in use. Drivers lining up in the old Sears auto service garage to get tested for coronavirus.

Many people who live close to the mall are looking forward to the changes that will be made here.

A $500 million project will take the place of the old Crossroads. The mixed-use project will include retail restaurants, apartments and office space.

Mitch and Carla Jevne have lived a short walk from the Crossroads for close to 20 years.

“The last ten years there hasn’t been much activity at the mall and we’ve heard a lot of reports about development and then there was no development and so we’ve been anticipating some movement over at the mall and hoping the developer will come along improve the property and it would enhance our neighborhood as well,” Mitch said.

Carla used to shop at the mall. Carla says she won’t miss what the Crossroads has turned into.

“It’s kind of an eyesore just sitting there with nothing in it. I’ve never been a big mall shopper but I used to shop at some of the stores over there. Dillard’s, that was one of my favorite places before it died,” Carla said.

Carla believes bringing the mall back to life could also add a little more life to their neighborhood.

During the construction, once they really get into it I anticipate it will affect us in the neighborhood traffic-wise,” she said.

Mitch and Carla were busy with a yard sale Friday. They have also been busy keeping track of what’s going on at the old mall.

“Actually following it on a daily basis. I’ve taken pictures of the fencing and sent it to friends and family and said its actually happening. Our kids all responded with all those gifts with demolition blowing things up saying dad needs to wear his demo day shirt.”

Mitch and Carla are more than ready for the old mall to look like the new $500 million development.

Developers plan to get things started this fall, if everything goes as planned the project should be complete in 2024.

Copyright 2020 WOWT. All rights reserved.

Lockwood Development Partners With Century Development and the City of Omaha To Redevelop The Crossroads

Lockwood Development, Century Development and the City of Omaha today announced a joint venture to redevelop the property currently known as Crossroads Mall at 72nd and Dodge Streets.

At a joint news conference Mayor Jean Stothert announced that a memorandum of understanding has been signed by the city and Frank Krejci, president of Century Development and “Chip” James, president of Lockwood Development to build a mixed use development on the 40 acres of property with retail and restaurants, a hotel and apartments and office space.