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A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Victory II Apartments in Omaha on Friday, September 18, 2020. The apartments are designated for homeless veterans, with supportive services from the VA also on site. General (Ret.) John F. Kelly, center, a former White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Homeland Security, spoke at the opening celebration.

An aging Papillion motel is being converted to apartments, offering an affordable housing option to residents of the growing Sarpy County suburb.

Omaha-based Collective Development bought the Liberty Lodge at 1409 E. Gold Coast Road for about $1.37 million and plans to invest another $400,000 in renovations, partner Max Honaker said.

The plan is to produce 38 one-bedroom and studio apartments that will rent for about $695 monthly, plus a $125 utility reimbursement.

A special use permit was required, because the area was not zoned for apartments. Travis Gibbons, assistant planning director for Papillion, said city officials see the conversion as a positive (and a newer step for Papillion) in providing more affordable housing. He hopes the model can be reproduced in the community.

LibertyLodge9

Liberty Lodge motel in Papillion is being transformed into 38 apartments. 

Collective Development has done a similar conversion in Omaha, turning an obsolete (and bigger) hotel into apartments. Gibbons noted that such projects are finding success in other parts of the country, especially as new construction costs rise.

In the case of Liberty Lodge, it was built in the 1980s as an extended stay hotel with small kitchens and had become run down, Collective's Honaker said. Eleven people who had turned into long-term guests are to remain on as tenants with leases, he said.

Honaker said the property's proximity to Shadow Lake retailers should boost its allure to tenants.

He added: "Buying an existing structure is an opportunity to deliver housing at a price that is lower than what would justify new construction, creating an option that is affordable to the working-class residents of Papillion."

 

This article originally ran on omaha.com.

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