The Wire

Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Shadow Lake brought new concept

May 14, 2018 | Paula Lukowski | economic development, flashback
FLBK_Shadow Lake_homepage

When developers looked at farmland at 72nd Street and Highway 370 in 2005, they imagined a lifestyle shopping experience that meshed big-town offerings with small-town charm.

They believed it would be a destination that would draw from the region, and spark additional growth in the city of Papillion as well as the greater Sarpy County area.

They were right.

By May 26, 2007, the land had been converted into Shadow Lake Towne Center, and thousands flocked to its grand opening.

The 880,000-square-foot regional shopping center — a joint venture between RED Development and The Lerner Company — was the latest in a series of lifestyle centers for the developers, who had similar properties in Arizona, Nevada, Kansas, as well as Village Pointe in west Omaha.

Home state charm

Architects added a unique stamp to the development, replicating historic Nebraska landmarks in the core facades of several shops. The interpretive architecture includes features from the Rose Theater, the Durham Western Heritage Museum, the state capitol and others.

“Shadow Lake Towne Center has a lot to offer,” said Alicia Peters, Marketing Director for Shadow Lake Towne Center, in an OPPD Ideas magazine article in 2007.

“It integrates a combination of home, fashion, grocery, discount and lifestyle retailing into one convenient location. The open-air design of the center provides optimal vehicle access to the major and junior anchors around the perimeter, as well as specialty shops at the center’s core.”

Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Hy-Vee, Victoria’s Secret, Dress Barn, Old Chicago and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers were among the first stores to open, followed by Dick’s Sporting Goods. Developers lured several newcomers to Nebraska with this project, including Ulta, Sweet & Sassy, Tropical Smoothie Café, Sephora and Nebraska Brewing Company.

Fields of dreams

Now-retired OPPD Account Executive Connie Wilkins spearheaded OPPD’s effort to install the backbone electrical infrastructure to the 127-acre property, which had been Sarpy County farmland for decades.

shadow lake
Now-retired OPPD Account Executive Connie Biddle, middle, worked closely with the shopping center’s developers.

Wilkins worked with developers, OPPD engineers and field workers, and with representatives from the county and other utilities to schedule and coordinate the critical underground work. OPPD’s George Lorincz, then an electrical service designer, worked with individual tenants to ensure they had properly sized equipment to meet their generation needs.

Economic impact

“We anticipate 7 million visitors to the center during our first year of operation,” said Peters in 2007. That’s one reason the project was a huge economic coup for Sarpy County.

Other reasons included:

  • Creation of more than 2,000 jobs at the center.
  • Anticipated generation of more than $3 billion in revenue in the first 10 years of operation, which translated into $170 million in state sales tax revenue and $46 million in city tax revenue the first 10 years.
  • Estimated annual property tax at 2.5 percent of the value of the center, which meant an estimated $3.7 million annually in property tax to Sarpy County and approximately $800,000 annually to the city of Papillion.

Over the last decade, Papillion has topped numerous publications’ national ranking lists, including “best place to live” (CNN/Money Magazine), “best small towns in America” (, and “best place to raise kids” (Bloomberg Businessweek).

In addition, Sarpy County is currently the fastest growing county in Nebraska.

Shadow Lake Towne Center surely has factored into that success.

Author Image

About Paula Lukowski

Paula Lukowski has more than 34 years of corporate communications experience. By far, her favorite aspect of that role has been profiling the great work done by OPPD employees and retirees. Paula and her husband, Mark, have two grown children, Rachel and John, a son-in-law, Josh, and two grandsons.

View all posts by Paula Lukowski >

Leave a Comment


How Does That Work?


Leading the Way

Powerful Life


Working for You