Former Lincoln garden center site to be redeveloped | Local Business News

A planned redevelopment would bring commercial space and more than two dozen town homes to a former garden center site and the strip of land between the MoPac Trail and Deadmans Run in east Lincoln.

The plan would transform the former Finke Gardens site at 500 N. 66th St., across the street from Gateway Mall, into a mixed-use development.

Development along MoPac Trail

Owners Rich and Luann Finke retired last year and sold the site, which had been home to the business for 26 years, to the owner of Clocktower Animal Clinic.

According to plans submitted to the city, a first phase of the redevelopment would include a new 8,000-square-foot animal clinic on the western part of the 7.3-acre site, next to the existing garden center building.

A second phase would involve rehabbing the existing building with new siding, new windows and other improvements, Gil Peace of Peace Studio Architects told members of the Urban Design Committee at its monthly meeting Tuesday. The hope would be to attract complementary tenants to that building, such as a grooming service, he said.

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Development along MoPac Trail

A third phase would develop the land that runs from 66th Street to 70th Street along the MoPac Trail into approximately 29 rowhouse-style town homes.

Plans are in very preliminary stages, and few details are worked out beyond those associated with the animal clinic.

Peace said that element is the “driver” of the whole project, and so the developer is seeking to start the approval process so it can progress to hearings in front of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission and City Council.

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The developer is hoping to use tax-increment financing (TIF) for the project and currently is negotiating details with city officials, he said.

TIF allows developers to use future property taxes a redevelopment generates to pay for certain upfront costs.

Members of the Urban Design Committee, who provide an advisory review on projects that seek city tax incentives, voted unanimously to recommend general approval of the overall concept of the project.

Member Tom Huston called the planned development “an ingenious reuse of property.”

It’s unclear how soon the project will go before the Planning Commission, but Peace said the developer is eager to move it forward as quickly as possible.

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