A little birdie has once again tipped me to goings-on along Pacific Street in the mysterious 85th to 87th vicinity. I had written about the real estate development scheme involving the razing of seven Mid-century Modern ranches and older trees in Loveland’s Longview Addition to be replaced by “The Estates of Loveland” back in 2019. Please catch up on the finer details by perusing this link, as we won’t be covering much historical data today: The Pacific Street Ranches.
Detectives, we watched with delight or disdain as the seven large parcels, all about an acre in size, were to be reordered as 18 single-family luxury homes encircling a new cul-de-sac, running parallel to Pacific Street. Readers, friends and the curious of mind have continued to tittle-tattle about The Estates of Loveland, as nearly everyone familiar with middle Omaha mischief has observed the dirt carefully inched to and fro within the confines of this planful pile. Frankly, I had figured the project was suspended, like so many of these chalked up proposals until I received this recent real estate intel.
Hello Miss Cassette:
I thought I’d share this with you. When you first reported this Loveland Estates development, my heart sank. Yet with the loss of the old, I pragmatically hoped for forward-thinking, architecturally significant design. I believe this is a missed opportunity to showcase extraordinary architecture. This project doesn’t reflect the aesthetic of the existing homes of Loveland; nor do they claim a ‘green’ initiative to use recycled materials, etc. I’m of the conviction that people will pay more for good design. And at a starting ‘base price’ of $850K, this is an exorbitant amount to pay for pedestrian design. What’s presented here looks like tract housing in _________*. This is such a missed opportunity. Truly a shame!
*name withheld as not to offend this part of town.
The fellow sleuth, who shall remain anonymous, included designs for the new housing development as well as the site plan. (Revealed shortly.) I was also able to look up the website for additional information. For more info, check out: Lovelandestatesomaha.com My oath, Sherlock! It was a stunning display. It wouldn’t be long until I had a Nancy-Drew-toodle over to the area myself to have a proper look-see.
By the way, there is no mistake. The Estates of Loveland has changed its name to Loveland Estates.
Brief Pictorial Overview
I said we wouldn’t do much backtracking and yet here I am backtracking. Some of us just need a visual to get our bearings.
1941 aerial view of land along Pacific Street. The top of the image is north. Pacific Street runs east and west along the top of the frame. 84th Street is viewed perpendicular to Pacific, on the right side of the image. Loveland Drive is the southern most street. 87th is seen on the left, western side. Homes are not yet built along the Pacific Street thoroughfare. Likewise there is no Countryside Village. Photograph borrowed from the DOGIS website.
1955 aerial view of the same stretch of land. The Pacific Street ranches of the Longview Addition in Loveland had been built. Their large rambling properties are easily seen extending between the homes. The ranches on the north side of Pacific were also built by this time period, in addition to Countryside Village. Photograph from the DOGIS website.
2013 aerial of the same properties, with the inclusion of Westside High School on the far left, parallel to 87th Street. It is a bit easier to see the huge acre long parcels in this shot. Oh look, there’s that tennis court I was obsessed with when we last met. Some of the original ranches along the winding Loveland Drive (to the south) have been expanded and/or torn down for new, larger houses.
Brief Synopsis of the Acquisition
Don’t fret, I already made a big enough stink about this the first time through and will not be ruminating on old material. From what the My Omaha Obsession detective’s office gathered initially, SNC Investments LLC began buying up the seven lots on Pacific Street (viewed in the previous photos) one by one in the 2000s. The properties then transitioned into the D & L Real Estate Group LLC name, under the same address. Royce Enterprises, Inc. was the developer of The Estates of Loveland, according to the city’s preliminary plat application back in 2019. A friend in the know educated me Chip James is actually the developer, as President of Lockwood. Lockwood, along with Century Development, as you might know, has now undertaken the massive Crossroads Mall revitalization plan.
2020 aerial of the same area, the proposed site of The Estates of Loveland. Razing of the seven ranches and trees began in 2019. Current parcels are held in the D&L Real Estate Group name according to the Douglas County Assessor. All new addresses shown. Photograph from the DOGIS website.
I know this is extra nerdy but I do love these peculiarities. Oddly when you view the Douglas County Assessor’s site, it now shows the proposed cul-de-sac street as a graphic in the middle of the original tracts. Funny. Image from the Douglas County Assessor’s site.
The new cul-de-sac road is now easily viewable from Pacific Street and the Westside High School parking lot. The Loveland Estates website hints that utilities are in and furthermore that specific lots and perimeters are staked. The private road, with entrance off of 87th Street, will have an expected security gate in time. This will become a gated community. From the developer’s website: “Perimeter of the development on the East, North and West Side will be board-on-board wood privacy fencing with brick columns on the lot lines of the North border.” Am I the only one who finds it odd that Loveland Estates is being marketed as a walkable community contribution when it is a closed off, gated cu-de-sac?
Camera facing east. Pacific Street is seen on the far left. 87th in the foreground. New, unnamed street is in the approximate center of the development site.
New, driveable road.
I found it strange that the developer’s website made a point of some of the proposed home lots backing to mature trees, when I could only suss out one tree. (Maybe there are two others on the far east side?) But then I realized they meant the southern lots abut the neighbors’ trees on Loveland Drive.
Anatomy of a Design
The Loveland Estates development is to be comprised of 10 semi-custom homes on the north side of the new unnamed cul-de-sac. These 10 lots will be called “Loveland Homes.” The opposing side of the street, will offer 8 semi-custom to full-custom parcels called “Loveland Estates.” Confused? Here’s the site plan.
“On the north side of the development backing Pacific Street are the 10 Semi-custom homes Lots 1-10 and the south side are the Full Custom Estate Homes Lots 11-18.” The “base home” starts at $850,000—which is why those in the business have been saying they’ve heard these will be million dollar homes. Foundations are to be laid in the spring of 2021 as buyers come forward. Development Site Plan shared by the Lockwood Development team through the Key Group website.
What follow are Architect Vince Kunasek’s four designs for the Loveland Estates portion, with back yard abutting Pacific Street.
Overview of the Plans and My Thoughts
The four models featured most certainly fall under the “Millennium Mansion” building style, (albeit the Omaha Mini Mansion version) as defined by The Queen Virginia Savage McAlester: Tall entry porches feature one or two story entries high. Differing window shapes. Typically lacking windows on the sides of the homes. Multiple wall cladding, applied like wallpaper. Emphasize on the stone trend. High pitched roof with multiple crossing gables or hipped roofs. Taller interior ceiling heights. Built out to the limits of the zoning envelope. “They can be built on higher priced land because their vertical massing allows far more square feet per lot than the horizontal Ranch.” This is how 18 homes get built where 7 ranches used to be. The American fondness for the larger, swollen house presentation, usually abutting smaller, traditional housing, in older neighborhoods, led to the name McMansion. The reference to the McDonalds franchise, nodded at the “supersized” or oversized housing, disjointed in style to its historic neighborhood.
I was underwhelmed by the Loveland Estates’ plans. These did not look like luxury dwellings to me. The gated community put forward hints at a lifestyle downsize. Yes, the names are a little bit (or a lotta bit) cheesy. I am not altogether sure of the demographic here, based on the names. But I am often swept up in these matters of propriety and recognize that others just see words. The attached blueprints (not included in this article) depicted unceremonious floor plans with a “Gathering Room,” rather than a traditional living room and “Casual Dining,” as opposed to a dining room. Now, mind you, I have heard whisper that we are headed for a pajama society and I see that many like the open, casual floor plan. I also recognize that I am not in the million dollar home radius, so maybe these are simply differences in class taste. But detectives, if I was in the million dollar home range, I would need a formal dining room. I am not saying I would ever enter said room; I would just want a dining room on principle alone. And a dumb waiter. A coved ceiling. Large windows on all sides of the home. Plenty of inlaid acorns, a carved stairwell finial, complete with stair rods, while we’re at it. I would require parquet and yes, a back stairwell for sneaking. Formality. Please, for the love of Thomas Rogers Kimball and all of those fellows on This Old House, someone care a little. Someone care a lot. These are my needs.
I have accepted that an intact neighborhood was already decimated. The slate is clean. Let’s move on. This is an opportunity. Now is the chance to create a cohesive place of high quality and character that stands the test of time. I think about lasting architectural stewardship and pride in the culture of Loveland. I would love to see these homes possessing a smidge of local character befitting Omaha and this part of town. These four models could be have been scraped off of any landscape anywhere, for this very problem is happening all over this country. Let us study the surrounding, local vernacular. I, for one, would like to see traditional design rather than the awkward shapes and steroid box trends that we all know will not age well. Are we still capable of beautiful design? One would think so at this price range. In summation I dream the Loveland Estates could adjust to the historic, architecturally mixed nature of the area and build beautiful, classic homes with strong traditional touches with longevity in mind.
In the past I have had people *ahem* (developers) ask me what exactly it is that I like, since I have so many judgments to share. What follows are examples of delicious New Traditional homes built in the 2000s. The 2000s! They all follow along classical styles and will age with honor. Behold.
If you build them, they will come. We often misunderstand and assume people want Millennium Multi-roof Lined Housing, when in reality, buyers just want a new house. They don’t know they have gorgeous, traditional options.
Notes on 8402 Loveland Drive
A mystery long taunting me sat at the northwest corner of 84th and Loveland Drive. By Miss Cassette’s standards, Loveland Drive, (a winding road, somewhat parallel to Pacific, tucked away on the south side) was always one of the most beautiful and intriguing in all of Omaha. The original ranch home at 8402 Loveland Drive was actually pointed out by a man in a landscaping crew years ago. I assume he was the landscape architect or manager by the way he was directing others about but maybe it was on his polo uniform. I happened to be be out slinking around Loveland Drive, taking photos when he approached and asked what I was doing. I smiled and told him I was a spy. Mind you, this was when I would readily talk to anyone and let him or her know what I was up to. He liked that. Nodding at the sprawling 8402 Loveland Drive ranch, he suggested I investigate it because there was something bad luck about that place…or haunting or some word with a similar meaning, that had made inhabitants continue to move in and out of the dwelling. He confirmed he had been working the neighborhood for decades. Observing nearby well-traveled 84th Street, I rationalized that the general public typically disparages real estate on corner lots on busy streets.
The way glorious and pitted, nonchalant Loveland Drive used to look. And I remember when it was way worse than this. Always an adventure in Loveland! 8402 Loveland Drive’s old driveway is seen casually on the right, complete with basketball hoop. Camera pointed west.
How wonderful 8402 used to look. Slight angle toward the corner of 84th and Loveland Drive, in the trees, but not obscured.
8402’s garages and side entrance off of Loveland Drive.
Unpretentious. Back gardens with room to roam.
Not a vaulted ceiling in sight. Her old living room.
Intrigued, I began a preliminary investigation file—until one day, the whole house vanished. A nearby neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, later told me 8402 Loveland Drive was demolished after a tree branch fell through the roof. “It must have been easier to rebuild,” he assumed. But I had to admit, that was yet another bit of bad luck potentially substantiating the landscape manager’s theory.
Mind you, this was no average District 66 scrapper-rebuild drill. I only bring this up today because I Am Really Taken with this new home and the whole situation. Yes, I know I have fallen under the spell of a McMansion Mirage…but this one is pretty impressive, at least from the sidewalk. The last owner of the original 8402 Loveland Drive ranch had purportedly sold the property in September of 2014. The new owner, under the enshrouded Loveland LLC name, incorporated their name shortly before in August of 2014. (Upcoming article on Americans’ growing need for privacy and LLCs in homeownership. By July of 2018 Oster Construction, Inc. had filed a new home building permit for “slab on grade, one and one half stories, main level 3167 sq ft, second level 1464 sq ft, four car garage 1918 sq ft.” The building permit listed the marvel to the tune of $330,120. I understand these building permits are usually way lower of an estimate than what ends of transpiring. I only share these calculations for those who are comparing with the Loveland Estates math.
Front entry of the new 8402 Loveland Drive.
And now there’s even a pool house.
Photo borrowed from the Douglas County Assessor’s site.
March 2020 aerial of 8402 Loveland Drive. Photograph from the DOGIS website. From this image one can see the large property. 84th Street viewed on the far right. Loveland Drive runs along the bottom of the photo. House faces south.
Yes, it is a “Millennium Mansion” by McAlester’s definition. I can see the complex high pitched roof with lower crossing gables and hips and wings jutting out here and there and everywhere but I would like to give the new 8402 and its architect credit for attempting to stay in the range of historic reference. It tries to conform to a traditional 1920s-30s time period. This home is less exuberant than proposed by Loveland Estates because this is an overall finer detailed, related design. Extra points for resisting the cheap Jenga stone façade pileup. The proportions are not ridiculous, compared to other new District 66 steroid housing. 8402 feels solid. Honestly I always fall hard for a stately white with hard edges. Yes, I can see its hints of the 2000s and the almost industrial, barn roof in parts. An older home would have had more generous windows, I confess. I can allow that 8402 is indeed built out to the corners, with no front garden, as would be typical in the well to do country suburbs. But I soothe myself about all that, considering the swimming pool and accompanying bathing house. I wanted to bless it with a New Traditional rating for its classical elements but there are few too many McMansion features present. Unfortunately I’ve heard from the same previously mentioned neighbor that although 8402 Loveland Drive looks gorgeous, “It’s all plywood and 2X4s underneath.” I’ve heard tell of these chewing gum and cardboard houses. Is this the reality of 8402? She looks deceivingly solid to my eyes and as I said, there is something about her that I am just smitten with.
New privacy plantings at 8402 Loveland Drive on the 84th Street perimeter. The home now barely visible. Camera pointed west, looking across 84th.
The Loveland Drive view looking west. Now cleaned up and barely recognizable.
Admittedly 8402 Loveland Drive has some stiff competition, what with the stalwarts lined up across the street on the southern side–some of the most mesmerizing homes in all of Omaha, I proclaim. I will only list their names, rather than photos, because this was intended as a brief piece and we don’t need everyone drooling everywhere. Trust me when I say you have to drive by 8401, 8415 and 8419 Loveland Drive at your earliest. Stay tuned, friends.
I welcome your feedback and comments on this article—the wonderful and mysterious Loveland and District 66 neighborhoods, the Loveland Estates development, new buildings and the future of the whole West Pacific area. Feel free to leave a thought in Comments. I welcome you to poke around with your flashlight. Investigate. Hide in the shrubbery. Look under these rocks and down those alleyways. I am more than pleased to have you tiptoe about. By the time you head for home, I hope you have been fully Sherlocked and Satiated. Thank you, detective friends.
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If you are looking for more architectural and Omaha history sleuthing fun, ask your local or bigbox bookseller for my new book: My Omaha Obsession: Searching for the City. Also available everywhere online. Thank you.
Great follow up article. I walk this neighborhood every chance I get. I live south of this magnificent area. Thank you for the update.
Hello to a frequent favorite—I am glad you get to walk this wonderful area. You live in a great part of town with such pretty gardens! Mr. Cassette and I will sometimes drive over in the spring and walk around, as he grew up over there. He tells me who lived in each house and what they were like. Always the same stories and I listen for the same parts. Love the Feel. Can’t wait to experience his memories again and soak it all in in the spring.
I love your newsletters. I have always loved different areas of Omaha and what is happening to them. Further down Loveland many of those homes have been redone but have the Loveland look from the front. The rear of the homes is another story but with the taste of the area. Thanks for your “detective” work.
Thank you so much, Kathy. Good detecting! I will have to go looking for these contemporary additions.
Hello! I must begin by saying that I absolutely love your work! Don’t ever stop! Now to business… I can confirm, perhaps to your chagrin, that the house is of a traditional modern wood-frame construction. I have had the pleasure (I think) of watching the property’s transformation over time, as most every weekday I am the designated parent to pick up the children at Loveland Elementary. I would agree with you that the end result blends very well, albeit not perfectly, with the area. I even did some DC assessor sleuthing after the original house was razed, just to satisfy my own curiosity! But I digress… as I often do. I am so happy to live in this part of town, and I am so happy I discovered your Omaha Obsession! Thank you for this added piece, and thank you for doing what you do! I look forward to more adventures. Best wishes!
Thank you so much for the nice compliment! I really appreciate your feedback on watching my dream house gets built. We always need local eyes. What a beautiful part of town you live in. Lucky!
“If you build it they will come.”
Thanks, Miss Cassette, for triggering me! Here’s my diatribe:
I believe part of the aesthetic issues with Loveland Estates is they’re not designed by an architect with any worldly consideration. There’s a complete disregard for scale, rooflines, materials, etc. Indeed the website mcmansionhell.com offers consulting services on how to reverse engineer the McMansion aesthetic that’s become the herpes of suburban America. What’s presented here is laughable.
But there’s hope! Very exciting design is happening right now across the country. Go to Instagram and look what other builders are doing in major cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Birmingham, etc. You don’t even need to go that far—both Des Moines and Kansas City have new in-fill projects that are gorgeous! 8402 Loveland is a great example of a graceful, pretty home in an older neighborhood. Indeed 8402 Loveland is what Loveland Estates should strive to reflect.
And why would Lockwood not mood board award winning architects? Or put these designs before a focus group of their targeted demographic?
Great design exists. For example, McAlpine House and Paul Bates et.al. are architects winning accolades for modernizing a “traditional” house vernacular. Their designs will age gracefully as they warmly embrace the nostalgia of “home” while leaning into modern conveniences.
Sadly, what’s presented here for Loveland Estates is indeed a “missed opportunity”. This feels completely out-of-place in the Loveland neighborhood. And I hope it’s not too late for the developers to reverse course and right this proposed plan.
Bravo!!!! I loved every word of this.
Haha—thank you! I’m a brutal critique when it comes to architecture and design; and I really need to learn to soften my rhetoric. Too often I introduce myself to these conversations as “Hello I’m Ms. ‘Your Life My Way’. Now buckle up because I’m taking you to school….”
Here are the Instagram pages of the referenced architects. Truly swoon worthy homes!
“The herpes of suburban America” – ha! I too follow McAlpine House on Instagram. Incredible design and details and, just as importantly, quality materials. Thank you for the tip on Paul Bates. I am acquainted with a local developer and one time I asked him, What would it take to build a new home that looks *exactly* like a home, say, on 38th in the Gold Coast, or in Fairacres? He said it’s very hard to do because materials that were once used aren’t readily available to builders anymore, if they exist for residential construction at all. Still, Bobby McAlpine gets close. You can tell his homes are new, but the quality is there. As for the new Loveland tract housing (that’s what I’m calling it and I refuse not to), what a missed opportunity. Sameness soullessness. There should be a law.
Hi Jill! Will you be my new BFF? I’m in complete agreement with everything you’re saying. Yet I disagree with your developer friend about availability of materials to do quality construction. Omaha literally has a construction mafia that controls pricing and install on plumbing/tile/brick/stone/carpet/flooring/appliances, etc. The local vendors tend to only supply manufacturers where they have established minimums and maintain existing relationships (dare I say “kickbacks”?). You quickly get smacked down and quoted exorbitant pricing for venturing outside the box. And if you say you’ll supply the materials, you get a speech that they won’t guarantee the install work and install/construction will be 2-3x what it should cost. It’s all a racket and this is why most Omaha architecture and design looks the same. Soulless indeed. My hope and aspiration is to represent the change that needs to occur. If we show superior work and get the deserved accolades, we may be the instruments of change. It just requires getting the peeps in charge to see the value and understand that good design may also be monetized.
BFF Mark – Oh yes, I am familiar with the whole kickback thing. That was an eye opener. I did a stint in interiors in 2019. It’s something I’ve done my whole life for people for free, so I thought I’d try my hand at it for $. For one thing, it was so depressing because everyone wanted everything to be grey. Now, I like grey, with restraint. Why people are afraid of color, I’ll never understand. And for another, I quickly realized that once I got my business going, I would have had to work *a lot* in west Omaha and I didn’t want to do that, but I wouldn’t have been able to refuse that business and still make a living. At least, that was my perception. I changed course and got out, and haven’t looked back since. SO, how do we change the racket? How do we defend against any more McMansions (mostly going up in west O so frankly I’m not sure I really give a hoot except they *are* sprinkled here and there throughout older neighborhoods, too – case in point the Tract Housing of Loveland) and what I call “box things” (those atrocious quasi-brutalist[?] looking apartment/condo buildings that are bringing shame to many neighborhoods of character east of 72nd) that make me so sad. As an aside, can I just cry for a second about the house on the NW corner of Underwood & Fairacres? Another missed opportunity. They stripped all the character out of it. So maybe this problem extends to renovations of old homes, too? My experience is limited but I know a sad house when I see one, and that house is grief stricken. Nobody seems to want it. Anyway, happy to have connected with you On Here. Would love to hear more about how to right this mess. Thank you Miss Cassette for offering us this forum!
Yes, Jill, YES! As to this area, I would be satisfied with smaller historically referenced housing. (I understand the Gold Coast building cost and quality dilemma, as much as it pains me to face. It hurts to see any pre-70s teardowns in town because of the materials and craftsmanship alone. Well in some case, I’ll limit to pre-war.) I’ve got books of older house blueprints and floorplans; anyone can study these online for reference. If Loveland Estates is claiming older neighborhood infill status and they’re at a $850K base to start, (many in the know suggest this is a polite way of saying these will be million dollar homes), they could easily adopt a traditional style upgrade and stay within budget.
Miss Cassette – I agree with smaller and better looking as the way to go, but I don’t even think people think about it. I think people in the market just kind of accept whatever is offered them. I could be wrong. And I am not for tear downs unless there are so many structural issues that you can’t avoid it. Which reminds me, at one time it seemed there were a fair amount of individual tear downs happening in this exact area, like the Loveland/Swanson areas and surrounding. People were tearing down big meandering ranches on big lots and putting up new houses. I wonder if that is still going on. I never understood why they didn’t just remodel but obviously I’m not privy to anything happening behind the scenes. As for your books of blueprints, goodness gracious there are few things I love doing more than looking at old floorpans. It feels like I’m stealing a peek. So fun!
McMansion Hell has coined the double height entry a “Lawyer Foyer”. Makes me giggle.
Thank you for your sleuthing! You do a fantastic job.
I love reading about all your adventures uncovering Omaha’s history, history of homes and the people that lived in them.
Found the Next Chapter Book Shop and the Zen coffee shop. Both delightful. Picked up the last copy of your book. The owners love your book.
Both shops welcomed my Lily, so of course will return. The coffee shop was pretty full. Hopefully not so during the week.
Have a great day.
Thank you! I last encountered your writing about a house on Dodge just north and 90th I believe. Love your perspectives.