UNMC plans innovation hub in old Saddle Creek steel mill

UNMC plans innovation hub in old Saddle Creek steel mill

A once-buzzing steel mill in Midtown Omaha will get new life in the new year.The University of Nebraska Medical Center has revealed a plan for an innovation hub off Saddle Creek and Leavenworth Street, just to the west of its sprawling campus.Construction could start some time in 2021, leaders tell KETV NewsWatch 7. Bids from developers are due this month.”This is that next growth area as we’ve assembled property along this corridor,” explained Doug Ewald, Vice Chancellor for Business, Finance and Business Development at UNMC.Ewald and his team plan to repurpose the steel mill into a technology incubator that will house UNeMed and UNeTech, branches of the university charged with commercializing research and innovation.”I get calls all the time from companies and entrepreneurs that want to work with UNMC and our hospital and our research teams,” said Michael Dixon, UNeMed’s president and chief executive.Dixon said the density and campus proximity of a medically-focused innovation hub is critical when trying to attract the kind of teams that will make startups in that space successful.”The ability to bring people together — the entrepreneurs, the investors, the innovators — is really critical,” he explained.It’s a tried and true model. Universities and nonprofits in St. Louis partnered to rehab old buildings east of the city’s sprawling Forest Park in a campus called Cortex. It’s responsible for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of economic impact.And if the UNMC team inside the new Saddle Creek space can help get new businesses off the ground, more will follow, Dixon argues.”Success breeds more success,” he said. “Those entrepreneurs don’t stop.”The site sits in a federal opportunity zone, a blighted area earmarked for investment. The designation provides attractive tax benefits to developers. But as those with new ideas pitch their vision to the university, preservation is at the top of the list.”This is an old property that’s been around really since the turn of the century,” Ewald said, noting boats that delivered Allied troops to the beaches of France on D-Day were made in the Omaha mill. “We really want to see the creative juices flowing from the architects as they preserve as much as possible from this historic facility.”The innovation hub isn’t the only transformation planned for the Saddle Creek corridor.A new administrative tower for UNMC and Nebraska Medicine will rise at the corner of Farnam Street and Saddle Creek.

A once-buzzing steel mill in Midtown Omaha will get new life in the new year.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center has revealed a plan for an innovation hub off Saddle Creek and Leavenworth Street, just to the west of its sprawling campus.

Construction could start some time in 2021, leaders tell KETV NewsWatch 7. Bids from developers are due this month.

“This is that next growth area as we’ve assembled property along this corridor,” explained Doug Ewald, Vice Chancellor for Business, Finance and Business Development at UNMC.

UNMC steel mill site

UNMC

The steel mill site sits marked in purple on this rendering of a revitalized Saddle Creek corridor.

Ewald and his team plan to repurpose the steel mill into a technology incubator that will house UNeMed and UNeTech, branches of the university charged with commercializing research and innovation.

“I get calls all the time from companies and entrepreneurs that want to work with UNMC and our hospital and our research teams,” said Michael Dixon, UNeMed’s president and chief executive.

Dixon said the density and campus proximity of a medically-focused innovation hub is critical when trying to attract the kind of teams that will make startups in that space successful.

“The ability to bring people together — the entrepreneurs, the investors, the innovators — is really critical,” he explained.

It’s a tried and true model. Universities and nonprofits in St. Louis partnered to rehab old buildings east of the city’s sprawling Forest Park in a campus called Cortex. It’s responsible for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of economic impact.

And if the UNMC team inside the new Saddle Creek space can help get new businesses off the ground, more will follow, Dixon argues.

“Success breeds more success,” he said. “Those entrepreneurs don’t stop.”

The site sits in a federal opportunity zone, a blighted area earmarked for investment. The designation provides attractive tax benefits to developers. But as those with new ideas pitch their vision to the university, preservation is at the top of the list.

“This is an old property that’s been around really since the turn of the century,” Ewald said, noting boats that delivered Allied troops to the beaches of France on D-Day were made in the Omaha mill. “We really want to see the creative juices flowing from the architects as they preserve as much as possible from this historic facility.”

The innovation hub isn’t the only transformation planned for the Saddle Creek corridor.

A new administrative tower for UNMC and Nebraska Medicine will rise at the corner of Farnam Street and Saddle Creek.

UNMC administrative tower

UNMC

Part of the plans for a new administrative tower at the intersection of Farnam Street and Saddle Creek include creating a tunnel for traffic that would support pedestrian green space.
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