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Rainbow Market site up in the air

By: Ashley Cisek, News Messenger Intern
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A new owner is in the works for the Rainbow Market space, pending the city of Lincoln’s approval. Katz Kirkpatrick Properties is trying to buy the Rainbow Market site at 255 G. St. to redevelop and put it back on the market. Currently, the property is in escrow, contingent upon approval of certain conditions with the city. However, before the redevelopment company can acquire the site, according to Fred Katz, the city must approve the abandonment of what used to be an alleyway, located between the market and the parking lot, and Katz Kirkpatrick Properties’ redevelopment plans. Katz is the principal from Katz Kirkpatrick Properties, a shopping-center development leasing and management company in Roseville. Recently, a few companies were interested in leasing the property but backed out of an informal sit down with Lincoln’s redevelopment department, according to Steve Art, economic and redevelopment manager for the city of Lincoln. Companies interested in the site were Big 5, the Dollar Tree, and the Grocery Outlet. Without the financial backing from the three stores, the current Rainbow Market property owners said the property was put up for sale due to lack of remodeling funds. The Rainbow Market site is currently owned by HWB Enterprises, LP. “We want to take that shopping center and put a facelift on it,” Art said. Any redevelopment to that site would be at the owner’s expense, Art added. The “facelift’s” estimated cost is $3.5 million, according to Art. “We’re not developers,” said Diane Watkins, general partner of HWB Enterprises, LP. “So we weren’t able to move forward after meeting with the city.” Watkins confirmed that the property is in escrow with Katz Kirkpatrick Properties, pending approval of the alleyway abandonment issue and project plans. “(The city) told us they want to maintain the old Lincoln downtown architecture,” Katz said. “We anticipate that we will be able to resolve a mutually satisfactory design that meets their requirements.” Katz Kirkpatrick Properties is working with Sterling Pointe and Lincoln Crossing architects, Rauschenback Marvelli Becker Architects, in redeveloping the Rainbow Market site. “From what we’ve seen, the plans have merit,” said George Dellwo, Lincoln’s assistant director of community development. “They will be getting a recommendation for approval with conditions.” Katz Kirkpatrick Properties has a budget of $6 million to acquire and redevelop the parking lot and landscaping, and to remodel the building. Plans for the parking lot include adding 32 more parking spaces to bring the parking lot up to the current code of four cars per 1,000 square feet of building with the condition of adding an entryway off of highway 65. A meeting between both the city’s redevelopment committee and Katz Kirkpatrick Properties on Tuesday “went great,” Art said. Art added that the redevelopment committee will recommend on July 14 to the City Council, acting as the city’s redevelopment agency; that the city proceeds with abandoning the alley. By taking this action, the acquisition of the property by Katz Kirkpatrick moves forward. Katz Kirkpatrick Properties will continue to work with the redevelopment committee to design a building that will fit with historic downtown Lincoln, according to Art. The city’s redevelopment staff will present the changes to the city’s Planning Commission on Aug. 19.