Planners back project to add nearly 1 million square feet of warehouse space in Lincoln | Local Business News

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission gave a thumbs-up Wednesday to what could become one of the largest industrial projects in the city.

Commissioners voted unanimously to recommend approval of an annexation and zoning change for the project, which would be near the 56th Street and Interstate 80 interchange, as well as a finding that it is in line with the city-county Comprehensive Plan.

Distribution Center

Omaha developer White Lotus wants to build nearly 1 million square feet of warehouse space on 71 acres at roughly 65th Street and Arbor Road.

The Lincoln Logistics Hub would be built in three phases, starting with a 309,000-square-foot warehouse building that could be completed as early as spring 2023. That would be followed by a 368,000-square-foot building and then another building that’s 309,000 square feet, for a total of 986,000 square feet of space.

The project is estimated to cost $89 million, with $13 million of that amount coming in the form of tax-increment financing, which allows increased property taxes generated by a development to pay for certain upfront costs.

An architect told the city’s Urban Design Committee earlier this month that the project would be similar to one White Lotus developed at 132nd Street and Cornhusker Road in Sarpy County.

The only hiccup at Wednesday’s meeting was with the annexation. White Lotus is asking the city to annex about 59 acres to facilitate its project, but the city’s Planning Department expanded the annexation request to include three other properties totaling about 50 acres.

Steve Henrichsen, the department’s development manager, said annexing property for the White Lotus project would leave the additional properties surrounded by the city limits and would violate the city’s policy against leaving “pockets” of county zoning.

One of the property owners objected to the city’s plans, however.

Sam Sampson owns about 25 acres of property in the area that is in the floodplain and undevelopable.

Nick Cusick, who spoke on behalf of Sampson, said he sees no reason to be annexed into the city because the land is essentially a nature preserve. Cusick said Sampson also is concerned that the annexation will increase the value of his land and his taxes.

Henrichsen said the location of the land, not its use, is the determining factor for whether it should be annexed. But he said he would be willing to work with Sampson to find ways to blunt any impacts from the land being drawn into the city limits.

The plan will next go before the Lincoln City Council for approval.

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