We have the pedal to the metal as the Accelerator is quickly emerging from the ground, anchoring Highlander, a 30-acre purpose-built community that underscores innovation in affordable housing and community planning in North Omaha, Nebraska. The Accelerator is a new generation of “community center” that will provide the Highlander community and North Omaha with gathering spaces, local cuisine, business incubation, urban agriculture and educational services. el dorado has been working closely with Chicago-based Brinshore Development and Omaha-based Lund Ross Construction during the construction phase, and have enjoyed our regular trek up to the cornhusker state to witness the project taking shape. While not husking corn, our friends at Lund Ross have been top-notch constructors and never fail to make the entire project team look and feel great during efficient and well-organized Owner/ Architect/ Contractor meetings. Their project mangers and project supervisors are always three steps ahead of all of us on the construction site.
The extensive foundation system and steel frame reveal a Z-shaped structure that organizes the topography of a complex site, retaining higher grade for a large community green space and a community porch that connects an educational/ cafe wing with an event space and a center for aquaponics and urban agriculture. The lower grade provides indoor/ outdoor business incubation space and vehicular parking.
In addition to constructing a compelling physical facility, we’ve been working with Othello Meadows and Cydney Franklin of Seventy5North to build a community within the Accelerator itself. Tenant finish packages are underway for a diverse set of organizations and businesses, together embodying a spirit of education and entrepreneurship in North Omaha. We’ve been privileged to work with Whispering Roots, a nonprofit organization that deploys urban aquaponics as a vehicle and strategy for job creation, community sustenance and agricultural education; Metro Community College, a local college that will be focusing on adult education initiatives; Aromas Bliss, a local coffee roaster whose coffee shop will serve as a social hub for the development; and Big Mama’s, destination soul food restaurant that looms large in North Omaha and will no doubt fill the Highlander Community with all the fried okra and catfish it can eat. We are also working with Creighton University’s in-house design team to create community-based annex space and with Seventy5North on their office and a city-wide event space that will serve to anchor outdoor programming, festivities, and celebrations.
We are proud to be part of this aspiring community and look forward to mixing it up even more with our friends at Highlander. The Accelerator is scheduled to be open for business, for learning, for farming, for playing, and for coffee sipping and soul-fooding by the summer of 2017. Don’t miss out … we will see you then in North Omaha!