Mutual of Omaha and the city of Omaha have announced plans for the insurance giant to acquire the site of the current downtown public library and a replace it with a 40-to-50 story glass-fronted skyscraper that will be the company’s new headquarters.
Mutual of Omaha has about 4,000 employees working downtown at its current sprawling midtown campus office.
CEO James Blackledge described the skyscraper as “on the scale of the First National Bank tower,” Omaha’s tallest building at 634 feet, but that it was too soon say how much it would cost.
Mayor Jean Stothert told a Wednesday news conference the city plans to have the W. Dale Clark Library out of its home for the last 45 years by September and to have the building torn down by December.
The city’s move-and-demolish plan had drawn considerable public scorn long before the Mutual of Omaha project was unveiled.
Opponents say moving the library to a less-desirable location, an older building several blocks south with an estimated $3-million dollars in renovation needed, is bad for patrons.
Despite the opposition and questions about the transparency of the process to move the library, Stothert left no doubt about its future – saying “We will be moving the Dale Clark library.”
Mayor Stothert also announced plans for a 3-mile streetcar system connecting downtown and the riverfront to midtown, which she said will attract young people and businesses to the corridor
Plans call for the streetcar system to be up and running sometime in 2026. It will be funded through TIF, tax increment financing.