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Are There Enough People to Fill All These New Apartments?

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Are There Enough People to Fill All These New Apartments?

By Lindsey Theis. CREATED Jul 24, 2014

Omaha, NE-If you haven't noticed, there seems to be an apartment boom in Omaha. Complexes are going up left and right. In the Old Market alone, three large capacity units are underway: 15th and Jackson, 13th and Jones, and 9th and Jones. It's happening city-wide. We wanted to know why, and who's renting.

Omaha weathered the economic downturn in 2009. Now, there's a residential up tick and it's pitting West Omaha against East.

Attorney Michael Stagemen, 30, has wanted to live in downtown Omaha for months. He works at the courthouse, and spends a lot of free time downtown too.

"I like the denseness of it. It just feels right," he said.

Stageman, is among many moving downtown, the experts say.

"You've got different groups out there. You got the empty nesters who don't want to have the responsibility of taking care of a house on their own and so they're a great candidate for the apartments, and you have the young professionals out there," Mark Norman with the Omaha Chamber of Commerce said.

And they have options, with two major complexes ready to open this late Summer or Fall.

At 1501 Jackson, work is still underway on the upper floors. Bottom floor renters can move in next Friday, August 1.

"It's going really well. We're 37 leased out of 72. So over half the building is pre-leased," Moira Bickford, Property Manager at 1501 Jackson told KMTV.

The monthly rents range from $950 for a one-bedroom to $2695 for a penthouse. Old market property managers don't fear the competition next door.

Brandon Johnsen is with the Seldin Company, the property management company that overseas 1501 and 9 other existing Old Market apartment complexes.

"You'd think we'd be in competition out here, but we're not. We're actually all working together, our biggest competition is out west," Johnsen said.

There's also been additions to existing properties, like the Limelight apartments at 16th and Harney. A few weeks ago, construction finished on an additional floor of luxury apartments, Johnsen said. He went on to say the key is having luxury rentals that resemble condos. Ones with high end amenities and finishes that can mimic what a renter might be able to buy out west, but at a lower rental cost and with a better location.

"You're coming here for that downtown lifestyle," he said.

Right now the Limelight is at 85% capacity, with the new floor preleased at 35%.

However, in the long term, competition may force the hand of developers and apartment managing companies to lower rates. Bickford predicts at some point there could be a ceiling reached in the capacity and rental rates.

"I think there will be a point where rents are going to have to drop, because the demand is not as well," she said.