- Associated Press - Monday, February 9, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The old Pershing auditorium in Lincoln might be given new life as a modern food marketplace with space for produce and other food booths, restaurants, a greenhouse and loft apartments, under a draft plan being discussed.

But the city also is considering tearing down the auditorium, which closed in August after more than 57 years of operation. This week the city has opened up the building to people who want to buy pieces of the Pershing at auction.

The renovation proposal calls for renovating the auditorium and creating an administrative structure for a regional food hub to connect ag producers, consumers and distributors. The plan was given to a mayoral committee last week by the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/1IDxZad ). The Omaha-based institute was created in 1996 by the University of Nebraska College of Architecture and today works independently from the university to promote sustainable development.

The entire project could cost about $25 million, which organizers say would require some government and philanthropic support.

When the proposal is finished in late February, it will be sent to the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, which is considering whether state and federal new markets tax credits could help pay for the renovation.

Under the proposal, the 28,000-square-foot basement would be used for parking and could become an initial distribution and food processing center. The arena floor would be filled by booths where locally produced food, arts and crafts would be sold.

There would be space for three restaurants that likely would focus on local or ethnic foods.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com


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