The importance of perspective is often learned through experience and chance. Case in point: in the not-so-distant past, Omaha’s Old Market boasted some of the last remaining historic architecture from Omaha’s jobbing days—a neighborhood with a European flair and architecture that was burgeoning, but not yet fully appreciated for what it could be. Sometimes, you don’t know a good thing even when it’s in clear view. And so goes the story of Bloc 12: taking the time to look “up” was the biggest motivator in getting it off the ground. Once you look past the old-school storefronts and one-man shops, the beautiful brickwork, arches and cornices really emerge. It’s in the dynamics and the detail: elements that are at once ornate, delicate, and super sturdy. These old structures had something to offer, and this spot in particular was ready for a change.
But as we all know, change is hard. Comprising two separate structures (a three-story built in 1890 as a hotel and a six-story built in 1892, also as a hotel), bringing these two bits together and making them feel whole was just part of the challenge. Two weeks into this first building rehab journey, just after convincing the owners to sell, the 2008 housing market meltdown happened. It was a pretty inauspicious time to kick off a community enhancement project, but still: this had always been about the vision, risky business and all. With retail on the main floor and apartments up top, it was all about building the kind of place anyone would want to live in, with everything you’d need within reach.
About Bloc 12
Doors opened: January 2011
Full service restaurant (finally, breakfast in the Old Market at Wheatfields)
2nd to 6th floors:
15 1–2 bedroom, totally renovated apartment units featuring hardwood floors, granite countertops, washer/dryer in every unit, and more