Constructing an enormous development like The Mercantile in the heart of downtown Omaha is no small feat – especially when it involves navigating challenges related to the pandemic, coordinating efforts with numerous contractors, and working through a bustling work and entertainment district environment. It has been Valley Corporation’s honor to play such a large role in the project that will make a positive impact on Omaha for generations to come.
• LOCATION: Southeast Corner of 10th & Farnam Streets, Omaha, Nebraska
The Mercantile is a groundbreaking mixed-use destination that will redefine the cityscape of downtown Omaha. Overlooking what was once the serene Heartland of America Park lake, this development is the culmination of Hines’ ongoing collaboration with Conagra Brands, a renowned packaged foods company based in Chicago. The Mercantile represents a remarkable redevelopment effort focused on the northwest section of Conagra’s former corporate campus.
Envisioned as a vibrant community, The Mercantile will encompass a diverse range of offerings, including multiple apartment buildings, a boutique hotel, new office spaces, and a meticulously landscaped boulevard. In addition, Hines will construct a 720-car parking structure on behalf of the City of Omaha, serving the needs of residents, retailers, and the public alike.
Once completed, The Mercantile will occupy over 20 acres of prime riverfront land, making it an expansive and dynamic addition to downtown Omaha. The project aims to create a harmonious blend of residential, commercial, and green spaces that will cater to the needs and aspirations of generations to come.
On Site Since Day One
The construction of Conagra’s headquarters involved a wide range of tasks, including demolishing the original ConAgra headquarters structure and massive parking garages, collaborating with another firm building the new structures erecting a parking garage, and ensuring the installation of necessary public infrastructure such as sanitary and storm systems. While the buildings themselves were entrusted to another firm, coordinating the various aspects of this extensive project within a tight deadline proved to be a significant challenge.
Overcoming Deep Sanitary Lines
One of the most formidable obstacles encountered during the construction process was the installation of a sanitary line, located a staggering 35 feet below ground level. Tackling this obstacle required a meticulous approach. The construction team employed directional boring techniques, drilling a 10-foot diameter hole and subsequently placing a sturdy steel casing to support the sanitary manhole cover. Successfully tying in this line was a major accomplishment and a testament to our team’s ingenuity and expertise.
Traffic and Pandemic Impacts
Another hurdle the team faced was managing traffic and handling the influx of dirt from various other construction sites. Normally, this would have posed a significant challenge, but while the pandemic posed challenges of its own, the fortunate timing of the project resulted in reduced traffic congestion. Throughout 2020-2021, Valley Corp trucks transported over 170,000 cubic yards of dirt to the site, raising the subgrade over 30 feet in some areas and preparing it for subsequent concrete work.
Surcharge for Stability
Ensuring the stability of the site and its foundation is crucial for any construction project. To expedite the consolidation process of the soil, a surcharge technique was employed. Surcharging involves applying an additional load to the soil, allowing excess water to be squeezed out and the soil particles to rearrange, ultimately reducing settlement and enhancing stability. This method guarantees that the soil can adequately support the weight of the upcoming structure.
Future Development Opportunities
Once the first phase of the construction project is completed and occupied, there will be additional space available for future development. This foresight demonstrates the long-term vision behind the project, with plans to optimize the available land and expand as needed.
Before & After
The Heartland of America Park lake has been reconstructed to connect to the renovated park and Riverfront. The approved streetcar will also have stops at the doorsteps to The Mercantile on Farnam Street.