Developers hope to model Playland Park site in Bluffs after Omaha's Aksarben Village -
Published Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 6:56 am
Developers hope to model Playland Park site in Bluffs after Omaha's Aksarben Village

The lead developer of midtown Omaha's Aksarben Village wants to help replicate that mix of residential, office and entertainment space in the Playland Park area of Council Bluffs.

Noddle Development Cos., along with Waitt Real Estate LLC, is interested in leading an effort to redevelop the 25-acre site on the Iowa side of the Missouri River. Omaha-based HDR also would be involved, as well as other Bluffs entities, said Jay Noddle of Noddle Development.

The Council Bluffs City Council on Monday night gave its formal go-ahead to Mayor Tom Hanafan to begin laying out responsibilities and details with Noddle and Waitt for the estimated $60 million venture.

Approval from various city government departments still lies ahead.

The settings and sizes are different, but Noddle said the Playland Park property near 41st Street and Interstate 480 would be modeled after the thriving and growing Aksarben Village.

“We think the Playland site is spectacular,” Noddle told the council during its Monday afternoon study session. “We'll push to dream big.”

The 70-acre Aksarben Village, built on a former horse-racing track, has shops, restaurants, offices, a park, hotels and residential areas.

Documents submitted to the Bluffs City Council said the planning process also would look at how to position the Playland area so further development can occur in the I-480 and West Broadway vicinity.

Ideally, Noddle said, the redeveloped Playland Park would create momentum to bring more jobs and business opportunities to the West Broadway corridor.

Hanafan has called the redevelopment of the riverfront and Playland Park area a top priority for the city, saying he wants it to be a site that residents are proud of.

Noddle said he hopes other developers will participate in the planning because his firm focuses on commercial and retail projects, not residential. The redevelopment could take six to nine months, Noddle said.

“This is the first step in taking a new look at Playland Park,” council member Sharon White said.

The Noddle-Waitt involvement comes after officials announced last year that bids were being sought for the redevelopment of the city-owned Playland property. A previously adopted master plan for the area would be used as a guide, city planners said, but re-examined and likely modified.

Playland Park is just east of the $7 million River's Edge Park that recently was developed at the Bluffs landing of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, which spans the Missouri River.

WHNS staff writer Tim Rohrer contributed to this report.

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Contact the writer: Cindy Gonzalez    |   402-444-1224    |  

Cindy covers residential and commercial real estate, economic development, tourism and hotels, and immigration issues related to businesses.

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