"You know, through the times we've lost a lot of companies," Spielman said. "So any development would be great." Businesses along Millard Avenue hope new plans for the old lumberyard will bring back more activity to the historic area.
"More people in the area, and it can only just enhance everything around here," Old Millard Neighborhood Association President David Rathbun said. "It'll help. It'll help a lot." Rathbun lives across the street from the lumberyard and is excited about the new addition, too.
"We lived here for 20 years, and have since Millard Lumber (was) in the height of its glory," Rathbun said. "And we've also seen the past 10 years where they have moved out."
Developer Jason Lanoha spent months working on plans to revitalize the area. The results are an estimated $40 million project, including more than 300 apartments and 60,000 square feet for offices and retail.
"We hope that our team has the proper vision, and that someday we'll drive back down there and see it coming to fruition and see other folks investing in the area," Lanoha said.
The plans are about moving forward, but also include preserving a rich past.
"This property's been a lumberyard since before 1900," Lanoha said. "We've collected a few hundred of these old photographs." The pictures will be a part of the project, incorporated into murals around the space. It's a way to remember the history of the place while beginning a new chapter.
"I think, generally, the community's really excited about turning the page," Lanoha said.
The developers went before Omaha's Planning Board last week to begin the re-zoning and planning process. Lanoha said they will go before the Planning Board and City Council again during the process, but he hopes to break ground this summer.