- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A long-shuttered meat processing and cold storage facility in the heart of the former Omaha Stockyards will see new life as a center for area small businesses, startups and community activities.

The first phase of the construction for the Las Americas Global Market project is expected to start in the spring. The entire project could take four or five years to complete, according to the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/2f8Eq9W ).

Marta Sonia Londoño Mejía, executive director of the Midlands Latino Community Development Corp., said the market will support businesses and startups in a neighborhood that has a high rate of poverty and unemployment.

The nonprofit works to help empower the Latino community by assisting in economic development, and received a federal grant of $800,000 to get the community center project started. Latinos make up nearly half of the legislative district’s population of 38,000 according to a 2014 report by the Center for Public Affairs Research.

More than 17,000 square feet of the building’s third floor will be renovated, including a 4,400-square-foot commercial kitchen for use by local restaurants, caterers and other businesses.

A 2,000 square-foot space will also be developed for a clothing manufacturer.

“We want people to come here and learn how to improve their business, how to improve their salary,” Londoño Mejía said. “Everyone is welcome.”

The center’s architectural designer Denny Duer said that the project is going to need more money. The multimillion-dollar project may get funding help from investment companies, new market credits, bank loans and tax-increment financing, however these funds haven’t been finalized yet.

Londoño Mejía said tenants will be responsible for completing their spaces. The entire project could cost an estimated $20 million.

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


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