A new living community is being planned near Grand Island Regional Medical Center and Case New Holland.
The 205-acre property north of Husker Highway and west of Prairieview Street is being pursued by Innate Development. An estimated project cost was not provided.
Innate completed Grand Island’s Talon Apartments, and currently has projects in Norfolk, near Northeast Community College, and at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, developer Scott Rief told the Grand Island City Council earlier this week.
The new development will boast a combination of housing — townhomes, patio homes, mixed-use retail and a senior age area, Rief said.
It will include three different ponds connected by a canal system with community access for canoeing or kayaking, and a beach area.
Large green spaces and “pocket parks” will be privately maintained.
Rief said the project will help meet housing needs from the growth that will result from Grand Island’s upcoming new casino resort, sports complex, the new hospital and the ongoing needs of local employers.
“This is a critical time for housing across the country and Grand Island needs to be ahead of the game, and take advantage of this opportunity for the future of our community,” he said.
The project also will support local retention of residents, Rief said.
“The goal of the Husker Highway development is to give the community a product of housing they deserve and to keep the members of our community here to work, play and retire, here in Grand Island,” he said.
A blighted and substandard study was submitted Tuesday to Grand Island City Council for the southwest acreage. A study completed by Marvin Planning Consultants reports that the property qualifies for the designation.
“The old farm structures are still there on this property and there are some structures on the very northwest corner that all meet the requirements,” Regional Planning Director Chad Nabity said.
If the designation is approved, Innate plans to complete a tax-increment financing application for the project.
Attorney Ron Depue with Wolf, McDermott, Depue, Sabott, Butz & Porto, LLC, and representing Innate, said city support is critical for the project.
“We’re under a pretty strict time schedule as far as closing on the purchase of the property and meeting some other contingencies,” Depue said.
He said the project would help “fill a void with quality housing of a unique and distinctive nature.”
“In 2015, the council had the vision and foresight to blight the area where the (GIRMC) is located,” Depue said, “which has now become the economic anchor of southwest Grand Island with ongoing TIF projects and developments.”
He added, “This is simply a natural progression of development in that area that was certainly anticipated and expected.”
City Council member Mitch Nickerson voiced support for the project.
“I think it’s very proactive on your part as we take a look at housing needs,” Nickerson told Rief. “It sounds like a great project. I think it’s a legitimate use of the land.”
The City Council approved sending the “blighted and substandard” study to the Regional Planning Commission.
It then will come back to City Council for final approval of the designation.