- Associated Press - Saturday, May 31, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A cluster of South Omaha worker cottages built more than a century ago to house immigrant meatpackers has been fully renovated, and a modern-day slate of tenants is to start moving in early next month.

Called the Cottages, the 20 rental homes are mostly 1½ stories and share a common alley. They’re bounded by Vinton, Spring, 21st and 22nd Streets and resemble a little village.

“A new community means new blood, new ideas, new friends and neighbors - a grand slam in my book,” said City Councilman Garry Gernandt, who represents the area.

The Omaha World-Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1koryuu ) Harvest Development bought the two rows of rundown homes and began stripping them to shells about a year ago.

Originally constructed around 1890 for Korean workers at South Omaha packing plants, the goal was to retain a historical character but to update with new amenities, said Nick Thomas, Harvest director of operations.



“We bought with the notion we were going to gut them and make them new,” he said.

Reframed, reroofed and reinsulated, the cottages retained cedar siding and wood floors that were refurbished.

Rents range from $1,095 for a 950-square-foot home to $1,695 for 1,450 square feet.

Autumn Gibson, director of property management, said 16 of the 20 cottage homes still are available for rent.

Among those moving in next month are Alex and Quinn Heesch and their black Labrador.

Both 25 years old and college graduates starting careers, the pair currently live in South Dakota. She’s a landscape architect. He’s a construction manager whose Colorado-based employer assigned him to a job site in Omaha for at least three years.

Longtime apartment dwellers, the Heesches said they wanted something more, but weren’t quite ready to buy a house.

An online search led them to the Cottages rentals, where they were impressed by the overall vintage look yet remodeled rooms.

Heesch, who is in the military, also liked the military discount and said he had heard good things about the diverse, southeast Omaha neighborhood.

The couple visited once and picked out a light yellow two-bedroom house with a pair of decks and off-street parking.

“We thought it would be a fun atmosphere,” said Alex. “It was priced right for us.”

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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