Omaha business owners see growth potential for Leavenworth corridor

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – For decades, a stretch along the east end of the Leavenworth Street corridor has been labeled as run-down, underserved and challenging.

But there are business owners who now see that neighborhood as an opportunity to grow business.

Wendy Pivonka moved her legend Comics and Coffee to 31st and Leavenworth about a year ago. Wendy sees the growth in the area, she hopes that growth and cleanup won’t sweep the people who live here out of the neighborhood.

“There’s a potential especially with the growth of the med center just to the west I differently see the potential but I would hate for it to impact the residential area around here for that to grow over and people start losing their homes,” Wendy said.

Steve Basilico recently purchased a large building near 25th and Leavenworth. He plans to start an antique mall here.

“What I want to do is kinda provide space for more curated goods where people know the history of them, and where they came from, and what they really are,” Steve said. “And back from a different time when things were created a little more organic with the mind and not so computer-ish.”

Steve has collected furnishings and nick-knacks from the 50′s 60′s and 70′s. Steve is excited about the possibilities of this neighborhood.

“Ever since I’ve been here there’s been a couple of different buildings that have been purchased. The company next to us is expanding into the building next to it so the growth is evident, and the rejuvenation that’s taking place is great.”

“What we’re trying to do is bring more activity to this area and help the other businesses around as well.”

Steve is hoping growth sparked by Nebraska Medicine and UNMC on the other end of Leavenworth and downtown development will rub off on his Leavenworth Street neighborhood.

“With the development of the mall downtown, I mean progress has to keep spreading to the city.”

Some business owners in the area tell us they’ve heard of more properties in the area changing hands, and they believe more new business is on its way to the neighborhood.