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Charrette Journal

Herb Freeman Project to Set New Standard
From an Omaha beanfield...a new community emerges.

It's a new neighborhood unlike any other built in the last 50 years, but Founder Herb Freemanís planned project for State and 168th Streets will immediately remind Omaha residents of places they revere - Dundee, Happy Hollow, Field Club.

The rolling landscape will be respected, providing a unique setting for a community that comfortably mixes residences of all types with parks, plazas, walking paths, and places to gather for festivals and everyday fun. (Click here to see the site plan; here for the block structure; and here for the greenspace network.)

Interest in the neighborhood and the market choices it represents has been significant since news of the development first became public with articles in the Omaha World Herald and on this website, and has even generated a healthy discussion of traditional neighborhood development online at eOmaha.com.

Developer Herb Freeman's home, a Georgian mansion that sits in the geographic center of his 160 acres, anchors a community commons. On the commons, a tower rises, offering views of the community in all directions. At its base are fireplaces and seating, providing an inviting conversation area in most seasons. A large green, suitable for croquet and Frisbee tossing spreads below the mansion-turned-community center. And across the green from the tower is a classically proportioned building to accommodate festival displays and parties.

The architecture of the new community draws its inspiration from the Colonial-era designs Herb loves. (For Herb's thoughts on architectural personality, click here.) It's a style particularly suited to the contours of the former farmland, affording a variety of lot sizes and slopes. In fact, the rolling topography, considered an obstacle to conventional suburban development, enhances the unique feel of streets and the homes and commercial structures that line the streets.

The designs of individual buildings demonstrate the broad variety of approaches to the Colonial-era styles. Here again is the best of the old with all the advantages of the new. Architects on Herb's charrette team produced a wide selection of single-family homes, multifamily structures, and live-work units.

Future residents of the community will also enjoy one of the key ingredients of a traditional neighborhood design - the ability to walk to cafes, shopping, and other everyday destinations within the community. For Herb's project, designers created a vibrant market area in the southwest corner of the parcel.

Judging by the enthusiasm of folks who saw the final presentation of charrette plans on September 9, Herb is already well on its way towards delivering on his promise to set a new standard for new neighborhoods in Omaha.

In the coming months, as the project works its way through the planning and permitting process and new information becomes available, email updates will be released to those following along. Want to stay connected? Make sure to register here.

Get the Founderís perspective.

Read the story behind the name of
Herb's company.

Sending a message to the future.

Download the final presentation
(.pdf, 12mb)

See the photos.