Construction Boom: Commercial Projects Fuel Sarpy County

With projects ranging from new retail stores, hotels, and housing to large entertainment venues, Sarpy County is enjoying a construction boom.

For the first half of the year, Sarpy County has had over $670 million in building permit valuation, according to Mike Rooks, executive director of Grow Sarpy.

Those projects include Bellevue University’s Field House at $18.3 million, HH KIA at $15.6 million, two Papillion Sanitation buildings at $11.5 million, Smash Park Entertainment at $6 million, HH Shine Shop at $4.3 million, and the Springfield Library Renovation at $2.2 million.

The labor force for the second quarter of 2023 is roughly 101,700 compared to 101,100 for last year at the same time, which is up slightly but “not as much as we need to be,” Rooks said. The unemployment rate after the second quarter of 2023 is 2.4%, the same as last year.

“Currently we are seeing a lot of quality-of-life development throughout Sarpy County and that is very exciting,” Rooks said. “Hy-Vee, On the Boarder, Aldi, and the renovations at both Sarpy County Target stores are several of the retailers either completed or working on projects in Sarpy.”

Notable areas of growth include Nebraska Highway 370, Southport and La Vista City Centre, the area around Nebraska Crossing, Nebraska Highway 50 and R&R Commerce Park area in Papillion.

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Sarpy County Museum

During the pandemic, the Sarpy County Museum was approached by Bill Wimmer, a retired railroader, who wanted to donate his entire railroad collection, according to the museum’s Executive Director Ben Justman.

“It’s an amazing collection with virtually everything railroad,” he said. “Dining car China, 100-year-old handcarts, model toy trains, and all sorts of engineering equipment — and it’s all in immaculate condition.”

The problem is that the current museum, built in 1977, is out of storage and exhibition space.

“We have a 6,000-square-foot museum that’s already bursting at the seams, and Mr. Wimmer’s collection is about 5,000 square feet,” Justman said.

After an in-depth search, a location for a new museum was found at 90th Street and Highway 370, next to Trinity Church. After raising the capital to secure the land, the museum had its site dedication in June.

“Our next phase will be to raise money for the building,” Justman said. “We expect to complete the building in three to five years. The great thing about the museum is we’re telling the story of Sarpy County. I like to say that we’re the Smithsonian for Sarpy County. We have a great collection and are looking forward to highlighting some of that in the new facility.”

Construction site of the Bellevue University Field House. (Photo courtesy of Grow Sarpy)
Construction site of the Bellevue University
Field House. (Photo courtesy of Grow Sarpy)


The U.S. Highway 34 and U.S. Highway 75 interchange will be Bellevue’s economic engine, according to Mayor Rusty Hike.

The NC3 Project, a $200-million commercial development that will start at 13 acres, with the ability to expand to 60 acres, is in progress on the southwest corner.

The city is building an entertainment area with an $80 million water park, including an Olympic-size pool and an auditorium with the capacity to seat 3,000 people. The park will have a recreational area with a retractable roof for year-round use.

Along U.S. 34, further toward the river, a couple of manufacturing facilities are looking at a sizeable amount of land.

“We’re talking anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion of investment just on the manufacturing side,” Hike said. “All together that interchange will probably have an additional $1 billion value in the next five years.”

The Sarpy County sewer system, to be completed in 2024, will service the area. Bellevue is working with the Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) to bring in a water line—about an $18 million project—from 36th Street down the U.S. 34 corridor.

Offutt Airforce Base put in a new runway, and over the next five years is planning to invest another $1.5 billion. The city is working with Metro Transit to extend busing down Fort Crook Road.

“Right now, they’re coming down to 24th and Q,” Hike said. “We want to extend that all the way down to the Base. That will promote lots of development.”

In Old Town Bellevue the city is doing a streetscape along with a new project by a private developer on the old city hall building, which is planned to be a 68-unit apartment building sitting above 18,000 square feet of retail stores that will service the local area.

“We’re slowing apartments down because we’re running out of ground,” Hike said. “Bellevue has a lot of flood plain, and a lot of zones for the military, which eats up lots of ground. When you take out all those pieces of ground that are undeveloped, we really have to protect what’s left of our ground. You can’t just put apartment buildings on major intersections where there should be services for our community.”

Lakewood West at 60th Street and Highway 370, is an extension of the Lakewood Village area. Currently underway are 280 houses, more apartments, and commercial services along Highway 370. Redwood Development, south of Cornhusker Highway and east of 25th Street, will have 130 rental homes.

“We won’t see a lot of tax relief right now, but our goal is to shift the tax base from residential to more industrial, then bring in more entertainment dollars and more sales tax,” Hike said.

HH Shine Shop in Papillion. (Photo courtesy of Grow Sarpy)
HH Shine Shop in Papillion. (Photo courtesy of Grow Sarpy)


The multi-tenant industrial space R&R Warehouse, buildings one and two, which were finished in April, added to the four already completed. The cost was $26 million for a total of 438,000 square feet, according to Trenton Albers, communication director for the city of Papillion.

Projects expected to wrap up in September include a $4.3 million, 200,000-square-foot Target remodel, and the $8 million, 70,000-square-foot, Sheltering Tree apartment community for adults with disabilities.

Google’s SRP4 Data Center No. 4., a $45 million, 170,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024. The $15.6 million, 63,000-square-foot H&H Kia dealership is also set to open next spring.

The four-building, 148-unit, 148,000-square-foot Gold Coast Heights Apartment complex is expected to be completed late next year at a cost of $12 million. The Rotella’s cold storage facility is planned for completion by late 2024.

Vestara Apartments, a 12-building, 215,000-square-foot complex is expected to be completed by 2025 or 2026 at a cost of $20 million.

Construction site of Smash Park in La Vista. (Photo courtesy of Grow Sarpy)
Construction site of Smash Park in
La Vista. (Photo courtesy of Grow Sarpy)

La Vista

La Vista’s 84th Street project will have The Astro music venue along with a multi-faceted development including retail, multi-family living, restaurants, and bars, according to La Vista Mayor Douglas Kindig.

The project is nearing the end of its first phase with the music venue set to open soon.

“That’s a big project for bringing in people throughout the region to enjoy their concerts which in turn will help benefit all the other businesses in that area,” Kindig said.

In the Southport district, Smash Park has entered its construction phase. The entertainment center, located across the street from Embassy Suites and kitty-corner from Costco, is expected to attract visitors from the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area and beyond.

“With all of our hotels out there, I can see that it will be a great amenity for everyone who’s coming in,” Kindig said.

Two side-by-side hotels are going through their design phases and are hoping to break ground by the end of the year. Those will put an additional 231 rooms in the area.

PayPal employees have mostly worked remotely since COVID-19, and the firm has sold the building to Kiewit Construction.

“I think [Kiewit’s] estimate, once they do some remodeling, will bring initially 900 to 1,100 employees back into the area,” Kindig said. “PayPal at one time had 3,300 employees that officed out of there, but they were down to about 80 to 100 people coming to work. Restaurants, fast food, and convenience stores suffered with the loss of that many people. I’m glad to see that Kiewit will help bring those employees and people back in.”

Springfield Library renovation. (Photo courtesy of Grow Sarpy)
Springfield Library renovation. (Photo courtesy of Grow Sarpy)


Gretna has many projects recently completed or under development, according to City Administrator Paula J. Dennison.

Gretna East High School opened on August 10. A new Hy-Vee has also opened.

“The Hy-Vee will need approximately 600 employees,” Denison said. “At approximately 155,000 square feet, it is the largest [Hy-Vee store] built so far.”

Smaller projects in progress include a Walgreens, a Scooter’s in the Aspen Creek Commercial area, a Culver’s, Heartland Dental, Rocket Car Wash, a Chipotle, and Veridian Credit Union.

“The $95-million Hillcrest Highlands senior living and continuum of care campus, a total complex with some commercial and office uses, is under construction,” Dennison said. “The 76,000-square-foot Gretna Logistics Industrial Development also is under construction at a cost of $6.85 million.”

The 157-acre, $60 million Gretna Crossing Park — which is sponsored by URB — will have a 70,000-square-foot YMCA building, athletics complexes, an amphitheater, two dog parks, an 18-hole disc golf course, fishing pond and nature area. It is scheduled to open on September 16, 2023.

At the Gretna Landing development, a Fleet Farm retail and fueling station will break ground in the spring of 2024. The store will be approximately 150,000 square feet and will be Fleet Farm’s first in Nebraska. It is expected to open in the fall of 2025.

Multi-family developments under development include Windsor West at Giles Road and 180th Street with 258 units and Harvest Creek at Lincoln Road and 222nd Street with 300 units. 

In March, Darland Construction broke ground on a 400,000-square-foot spec warehouse near Nebraska Crossing, according to Project Manager Ben Knapp.

“The building is a precast structural steel warehouse,” he said. “We’re the general contractor. NewStreet Properties owns the property and the building.”

The warehouse, set for completion in March 2024, will have 41 docks and four drive-in overhead doors.