The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

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RockHarbor
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The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby RockHarbor » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:23 pm

In the tail end of the 1970's, I can remember driving with my dad & brother down I-680 several times in a common route we took every few weeks, and I have a very faint memory of always passing by buildings around the I-680/Dodge interchange. However, I can remember things looking sparser than they do now (which makes sense), so I've always been curious what buildings were there, and what buildings weren't there, in 1978-1979. So, finally... I went on the Douglas County assessor site, and looked at all the dates the buildings were constructed.

To my surprise, the Regency Center was built in 1970. I always thought that was likely built around 1980, when the Marriott Hotel went in. However, in that Late 70's memory I shared, I can remember a fairly significant building that caught my eye, and that must have been it. After that time period, I have no memories of the I-680/Dodge interchange until around 1989, when my family moved across town, and we suddenly were passing through that interchange more frequently. I have fuzzy memories of Westroads Mall as a kid, though.

Anyways, by 1989, most of the office buildings in Old Mill existed, as they were mostly constructed in the early 80's (makes sense, as I don't remember any of those going up). However, as I remember, much of Miracle Hills went up post-1989 (which I witnessed).

In fact, I can remember the black, half moon-shaped First National Bank going up on the corner of 114th & Dodge. (I've included a picture of how nice it once looked on the corner, before they built the elevated expressway through. Now does my griping about that elevated expressway make sense? Look how nice the slick, curving architecture used to be featured w/ a green lawn, w/out obstruction, from that corner.) Surprisingly so, the Miracle Hills Golf Course was put-in in 1940. I'm guessing that Miracle Hills Parkway must have been strung through in 1985, as nothing existed along that parkway until that time.

To think this is basically the center of town now. Any thoughts & discussion is appreciated. :)
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Last edited by RockHarbor on Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:06 pm, edited 6 times in total.
"Crossroads Village" down the street from "Aksarben Village?" Does "Crossroads" have any meaning to people 20 and under? "Dodge At 72nd" is a type name I like better, drawing from the excitement of the iconic, special Omaha intersection. My $.02.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby RockHarbor » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:27 pm

More files. The Regency Center, to my surprise, was built in 1970. It doesn't look like a "1970" building to me. It looks more like a "1980" building to me. To think that was already 5 years old when the Tornado of '75 struck.

The last two images courtesy of Google Earth. I had to shrink these down, so they would be accepted. Sorry...it is hard to read the dates on the buildings, with the files so small.
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"Crossroads Village" down the street from "Aksarben Village?" Does "Crossroads" have any meaning to people 20 and under? "Dodge At 72nd" is a type name I like better, drawing from the excitement of the iconic, special Omaha intersection. My $.02.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby RockHarbor » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:10 pm

Darn...nobody has nothing to say on this topic. :( Oh well... I don't expect it.

I'm wondering: Does anybody remember that Regency Center being built? At first, I thought the "1970" listed on the Douglas County assessor site, as the year it was erected, must be a type-o. (Again, the building looks so "1980's" to me -- not 1970's. The neighboring Marriott was built in 1981. And, nearby buildings that look older to me, were built in the later 1970's.) Yet, Regency was put-in in 1969, and had those signature octagonal lantern light fixtures & poles installed along with it. And, I notice the Regency Center has those same fixtures around it. So, I'm sure 1970 is accurate. But, to think my parents were only in 9th or 10th grade when that was built is still strange to me...

Speaking of the year of construction listed: I came across some amazing new views & angles of the Tornado of 1975, pictures posted by the Bishop/SwanFarm family. I'm so grateful they put these online to share. In all the '75 tornado pictures I've seen, and all the research I've done, I have never, not ONCE, seen a picture of these damaged apartments (off 76th & Pacific -- now called "Mandalay.") In fact, I drove the tornado path one day years ago, and I came across these apartments, and I figured these apartments were built afterwards. Yet, this picture verifies they were there in May 1975 -- and they were damaged. On the assessor site, these apartments are listed as 1976 as being the year of construction. (I've never seen an inaccuracy yet on the assessor site. But, this may be an inaccuracy. If there is simply a remodel, or a damaged building is simply fixed, they don't change the year of construction. I think the entire foundation on the plot has to change for the year to be changed. For example, in the path of the 1975 tornado, you can click on houses in 1950's neighborhoods, and actually see "1975" as the year of construction on some homes that were entirely rebuilt, but not on other homes in the path, that were simply damaged, and fixed again.)

http://www.swanfarm.com/p329778713/ha447ee5#ha447ee5

Speaking of Omaha tornadoes, I live in a building built in 1912, I look out west-facing windows, and I'm about 1.5 blocks east of the path of the 1913 Omaha tornado. So, I literally look out old windows that would have had a direct view of the twister back in 1913! So amazing to think...when I look back at those pictures, and I see over-turned Model T cars, and buggies, and people in old petticoats & hats, surveying the damage to their city.
"Crossroads Village" down the street from "Aksarben Village?" Does "Crossroads" have any meaning to people 20 and under? "Dodge At 72nd" is a type name I like better, drawing from the excitement of the iconic, special Omaha intersection. My $.02.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby Joe_Sovereign » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:56 pm

Thanks for the information on the development of this area. It was long before my time.

Does anyone know if the City of Omaha has any kind of Master Plan for this section of the City? If you look at the Dodge Corridor from 84th Street out to 120th Street including Westroads, Regency, Old Mill and Miracle Hills there is a Business Core on par or larger than downtown, a lot of high density residential, and huge retail establishment. It seems like a long term plan and a common identity for this area would be a great idea.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby RockHarbor » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:14 am

Thanks for your reply.... I agree.

I just wished it all looked better. It kinda looks shabby & hodgepodge to me, a bit, which gives it a semi-tacky element, I feel. It took around 20 years for all those lots to fill-in, and many were filled in with 1 to 3-story buildings (because Omaha was smaller back then). So, we have this major, major interchange, now in the center of town, much prime land taken up with such short, mediocre-looking, dull buildings.

I'm still wondering about that Regency Center. I just can't believe that was built in 1970. However, somebody could have easily "fat-fingered it" on the assessor website, and really meant "1980." I'm sure it is accurate, though. It just does not look like a building from that era to me, though. Also, it's hard for me to imagine that 5-story building standing there isolated along I-680 when Westroads was only 2 years old, when Regency was mostly empty curvy streets with the first new houses just going up, when all those other major office lots were not filled-in yet (including the large empty lot Regency Fashion Court was built on, a small mall built in 1975).

That fairly big Regency Center sat there mostly isolated for many years? Just hard for me to believe... Can anybody verify that? Does anybody remember that?
"Crossroads Village" down the street from "Aksarben Village?" Does "Crossroads" have any meaning to people 20 and under? "Dodge At 72nd" is a type name I like better, drawing from the excitement of the iconic, special Omaha intersection. My $.02.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby bigredmed » Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:02 am

Regency started in the late 60's and was slowly filled in over the 70's and early 80's. The houses are a mix of quality and frequently, those built in the late 70's have structural compromises to budget for design details.

The main retail locations were Regency Fashion Court and the Sheppler's building which is now Whole Foods. RFC was pretty empty for a lot of years. The Marriott was there and the medical building was there from the beginning as was the club.

The apartments between the club and Pacific were also fairly close to the beginning of Regency.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby RockHarbor » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:54 pm

Thanks for your reply...

It doesn't surprise me that RFC sat empty for years. It is a cute, stylish little mall, but it was built so close to Westroads, with Crossroads and Countryside Village not that far away. I'm almost surprised they put a little mall there, in fact.

Yes, I can remember those lots taking years & years to all fill in. In fact, I can remember them still building houses on the north end of Regency in the early 90's (near Dodge, across from Westroads). So, it took a good 20-25 years. I can remember coming around that I-680 'S' curve in the mid-1980s, and you could see all the wood/shaker roofs & gables of Regency clearly (as the oldest trees were only 15 years old, and weren't that big yet), and you could see the Theisen mansion as the highest, grandest roof in the middle of the subdivision. Now, in the summer, you can barely see any roofs, the trees are so big...

That's interesting that you mention some of those homes had structural compromises, in the wake of design details...

As you mentioned, the Marriott Hotel was seemingly there from the beginning... But, I show it was built in 1981, which a good 10+ years after Westroads and that Regency Center was built, and a good 5+ years after the RFC was built. That area sure took a long time to build up -- as you indicated.
"Crossroads Village" down the street from "Aksarben Village?" Does "Crossroads" have any meaning to people 20 and under? "Dodge At 72nd" is a type name I like better, drawing from the excitement of the iconic, special Omaha intersection. My $.02.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby HR Paperstacks » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:53 pm

Speaking of when areas of Omaha were developed, I came across this graphic that has all that info (along with sidewalk coverage):
Omaha Time of Development.JPG
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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby RockHarbor » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:14 pm

Wow....thanks for that! That's awesome!

By the way, it is pretty accurate to when the town was actually built, but it is not perfectly accurate. If the city were coded these same decade colors by the dates subdivisions were put-in, it would look similar, but a little different. I realize this is a "sidewalk coverage" color coded map, technically. I'm surprised by the 1980's color-coded sections (mustard yellow sections) within Central & Eastern Omaha.
"Crossroads Village" down the street from "Aksarben Village?" Does "Crossroads" have any meaning to people 20 and under? "Dodge At 72nd" is a type name I like better, drawing from the excitement of the iconic, special Omaha intersection. My $.02.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby HR Paperstacks » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:26 pm

RockHarbor wrote:I'm surprised by the 1980's color-coded sections (mustard yellow sections) within Central & Eastern Omaha.

Yeah, I was surprised by that too. Apparently the 80's brought a lot of infill instead of sprawl.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby RockHarbor » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:48 pm

HR Paperstacks wrote:
RockHarbor wrote:I'm surprised by the 1980's color-coded sections (mustard yellow sections) within Central & Eastern Omaha.

Yeah, I was surprised by that too. Apparently the 80's brought a lot of infill instead of sprawl.


Is it infill, or just them making sure sidewalks were installed in those older areas? Because, I was a child of the 1980's, and I know all those Central & Eastern areas were already urbanized in the 1980's. For example, take even the Regency area. They built One Pacific Place in the 80's at 103rd & Pacific, but all those other areas (in that mustard yellow zone) existed before the 1980s. Same with all the mustard yellow-coded areas around Crossroads Mall, ect. It must mean when sidewalks were installed (in older subdivisions that didn't have them). Out west, naturally sidewalks were installed with new subdivisions, so the western metro probably more accurately reflects when the town was built.

However, even out west, I see discrepancies. I'll point several out: "The Colonies" & "Summerwood" large subdivisions, between 144th & 156th, north of 'Q', and south of Industrial Road, were all built in the 1980's -- not the 70's (as the map indicates). "Pepperwood" & "Seville" subdivisions, all east of 156th & just north of Dodge, were built in the 1980's -- not 70's. Parts of "Eagle Run" & "Champions Club", all built in the early 1990's, is covered mostly in the creamy white color that indicates the 1970's. I could point out more. It's generally accurate, but technically, West Omaha should look more spotty (vs. perfect waves of sprawl) than this color-coded map indicates, imo.
"Crossroads Village" down the street from "Aksarben Village?" Does "Crossroads" have any meaning to people 20 and under? "Dodge At 72nd" is a type name I like better, drawing from the excitement of the iconic, special Omaha intersection. My $.02.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby Omaha_corn_burner » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:05 pm

HR Paperstacks wrote:
RockHarbor wrote:I'm surprised by the 1980's color-coded sections (mustard yellow sections) within Central & Eastern Omaha.

Yeah, I was surprised by that too. Apparently the 80's brought a lot of infill instead of sprawl.

By way of annexations possibly? I dont know

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby bigredmed » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:37 pm

Omaha_corn_burner wrote:
HR Paperstacks wrote:
RockHarbor wrote:I'm surprised by the 1980's color-coded sections (mustard yellow sections) within Central & Eastern Omaha.

Yeah, I was surprised by that too. Apparently the 80's brought a lot of infill instead of sprawl.

By way of annexations possibly? I dont know

A lot of infill annexations once SIDs got ripe and some of the more commercial areas were developed. There were horses in the area west of Burke in the 70's. These all went away with annexation.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby RNcyanide » Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:42 pm

If love to see a map like this of Lincoln. I feel like a lot of the city was built in one go between the 50s or 60s.
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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby Stargazer » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:14 pm

A lot of memories from these areas. When I was a kid, you could rent a Sunfish sailboat at the Regency lake... I guess liability keeps them off today perhaps. Remember Rusty Scupper? Sound of Peacocks 'meowing' from the Renstrom farm. Sneaking through the golf course into the Golden Spike. I got my own apartment about the time Cub Foods first opened. I remember being in awe of how big it looked. About the same time I was in the 'dawn' of my IT career, working for both ACI and First Data in Old Mill. Remember Stuart Andersons ? Anyone remember the Pace membership warehouse (long before Sams/Costco) in Old Mill north ?

I've been working the last few years in one of the Miracle HIlls office buildings with a view of the 12th fareway. Unfortunately, we're being consolidated with another group in a much less desirable strip location soon.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby Coyote » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:28 am

Golden Spike...
Image

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby choke » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:17 pm

Stargazer wrote:A lot of memories from these areas. When I was a kid, you could rent a Sunfish sailboat at the Regency lake... I guess liability keeps them off today perhaps. Remember Rusty Scupper? Sound of Peacocks 'meowing' from the Renstrom farm. Sneaking through the golf course into the Golden Spike. I got my own apartment about the time Cub Foods first opened. I remember being in awe of how big it looked. About the same time I was in the 'dawn' of my IT career, working for both ACI and First Data in Old Mill. Remember Stuart Andersons ? Anyone remember the Pace membership warehouse (long before Sams/Costco) in Old Mill north ?

I've been working the last few years in one of the Miracle HIlls office buildings with a view of the 12th fareway. Unfortunately, we're being consolidated with another group in a much less desirable strip location soon.


My mom worked at Pace. We lived in Old MIll Apartments right across the street.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby bigredmed » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:59 pm

Stargazer wrote:A lot of memories from these areas. When I was a kid, you could rent a Sunfish sailboat at the Regency lake... I guess liability keeps them off today perhaps.


Something must have happened to that lake. You used to see private sailboats and other low wake craft all the time, now not so much.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby NovakOmaha » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:45 pm

Well, as one of the Grampas here....

First, I remember when Westroads, Regency and Old Mill were developed and of the three Regency got the most national press. It was one of the first Planned Unit Developments in the United States. A PUD is a development where everything is planned, residential, commercial, retail, etc., right down to the schools. Every street, every inch spoken for. On the residential side, Maenner Company built a $100,000 house on spec, and that was a huge risk. $100,000 was high end for houses at that time. There was to be a school where the park and amazingly ugly house are (Willy's old mansion lot). Never happened. The mall was originally Regency Fashion Court and it had a Hoveland Swanson store if I remember. Upscale for its time. The entire development kicked Omaha development in the "rear end". It was a really big deal. No cookie cutter houses, no cheap stuff either. Shorty after the first phase of the residential part was done my friends & I used to race on what we called Regency Speedway, the main drag, I think it's called Regency Parkway. There were very few cars & zero cops. Regency was written up in a lot of national real estate publications. It was also, if I remember, United of Omaha's first foray into development financing. Without United of Omaha it wouldn't have happened. Think Midtown Crossing. No Mutual, no Midtown. Same with Regency.

While Crossroad's opening killed downtown Omaha retail, Westroads opening p.i.s.s.e.d. (can anyone tell me why this site has language cops?)on its ashes. It was also a big deal. At the time it was huge and had some really cool stores. Spencer gifts, Gizmos (pinball & bumper cars), etc. Again, game changer. Right down to the helipad.

As for Old Mill, it looks nothing like the original design. It was proposed to be a group of 5-6 story office buildings in a park like setting. (The south of Dodge part) I'm not sure the north of Dodge part ever had a plan.

Ok, now for early memories. Dodge as a 2 lane road west of Westroads, and 2 lanes west of 90th before that. Going to Cliff's Chicken at 114th and Dodge when it was in a house and the dining room was their living room. Boys Town was actually out of town and truthfully going to Cliff's was quite a drive.

Pace was amazing and cheap prices. It was, I believe, a KMart idea. Or maybe Sears? I would bet the low prices are what killed it, in addition to Sam's Club.

I bought a condo at Whitehall Condos at 127th and Dodge in 1984 when Dodge wasn't divided. You took your life in your hands turning left from westbound Dodge into Whitehall at rush hour. You never knew if the car behind you was going to stop when you wanted to turn left. The speed limit was 45-50 and quite a few times cars would be going 65 or more behind you. Whitehall is pretty cool. Indoor pool, underground parking garage, game and party rooms. I actually bought three, a one bedroom and two two bedroom units. All on the third floor. One of them faced east and on the 4th of July the entire eastern horizon lit up with fireworks. While it was low on the horizon I could see the fireworks at Rosenblatt. The view was over Burke High School.

Man I feel old.

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Re: The Development of Regency, Old Mill, and Miracle Hills

Postby bigredmed » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:45 pm

Paid my way through pre-med working for Millard Lumber. The end of the residential construction in Regency was happening in the late 70's and early 80's. By that time much cheap |expletive| was being built there. As long as it looked cool, it could be built worse than a high school shop class project. If you want to buy in Regency, look at the carpenter's name on the papers. If it was built after 1977 you want to see Seirt Construction on the deed.

I recall ops and Westside fighting over Regency. Perhaps that is why the school never happened?


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