With the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail headquar- tered in Omaha, NE, the city is an icon of our nation’s toried past. But its pioneering spirit continues today with
developers and community members still committed to its growth.
Jay Noddle, the president and CEO of Noddle Cos., a real estate
firm based in Omaha, has been a major part of the city’s economic
growth, with developments including the Omaha Riverfront
Redevelopment, the First National Bank Tower, Aksarben Village
and the First National Business Park, to name a few.
Thinking about a change? He might very well say, then you
might want to move to Omaha.
To be sure, the unbiased observer might have a few more questions about the viability of such an action. But Noddle has the stats
on his side.
Using 2010 total population numbers from the US Census
Bureau, Omaha’s population is 408,958. Its metro area includes
Council Bluffs, IA, whose population is 62,230. The city is 130
miles from Des Moines, whose city and county population totals
294,667 residents, counting the city and county. In total, these
areas exceed a million residents.
“So there’s a critical mass, which starts to get the area on a few
radar screens,” Noddle says. “Omaha is an emerging market. We’ve
moved from a third tier city to a second tier city and everybody’s
working hard for Omaha to become a first choice city.”
A common thread with all emerging cities—and one stressed
also by Omaha—is that jobs are critical for growth. Similar to
other cities, Omaha is looking to tech jobs to attract millennials.
Google is building a data center in the Omaha-area. Facebook is
expanding its data center in the nearby city of Papillion to 2. 6
million square feet. LinkedIn recently revealed plans to move
into a 200,000-square-foot facility potentially increasing its work-
force to 1,000 by 2021. “Omaha is kind of known as the Silicon
Prairie,” says Noddle.
As it’s a market that’s still emerging, housing is affordable.
Noddle says the best apartments for rent are about $2 per square
foot a month. To buy a home, the median price per square foot is
$145, according to Zillow. The median price of Omaha’s currently
BY BETSY KIM
Across the country similar lessons and challenges
surface for emerging neighborhoods and real estate experts
are able to identify some key places to invest.
POISED TO BREAK OUT