October 25, 2012 by
Photography by Scott Drickey

Dundee is one neighborhood in Omaha trying to continue an historic, authentic feel. One Dundee building in particular, brimming with charm and grandeur of old, has succeeded in that effort—the Ambassador Apartments.

The 20-unit Spanish Revival building, which sits just south of Dodge Street on 49th, has undergone serious renovations over the past three years. The Ambassador was recently recognized by a regional chapter of Commercial Real Estate Workshop, CREW Midwest, as the 2012 Renovation of the Year.

Dundee Apt Ambassador Remodel

The project was the result of the vision and work of local business people Randy Wheeler, Bob Sadler, Neil Willer, and Carol Jones, who combined their individual expertise to restore the Ambassador Apartments.

The parties are equal owners of the property and each add a unique talent. Wheeler’s experience is in landscaping, while Willer is a building engineer, Sadler is an electrician, and Jones’ experience is in real estate.

The renovations were unique in that they kept many of the aspects of the 84-year-old building while incorporating several new, modern upgrades. Each unit contains modern conveniences, such as a washer/dryer, air conditioning, and modern kitchen appliances. Yet what make this property such a Dundee gem is the Spanish tile roofing, scrolled ironwork, original tile, lighting fixtures, doors and hardware, and parquet floors, in addition to the spectacular entry ways and barrel ceilings.

Walking into one of the spacious units you will feel, if for only a quick moment, like you’ve stepped back in time in many ways.

“We wanted to maintain the flavor of 1928, in addition to having all of today’s modern conveniences, while creating a beautiful place where people can live,” Wheeler said.Dundee Apt Ambassador Remodel

During the renovations, the group combined their efforts with local architects from Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture.

“They were a big help in how to configure and arrange the apartments, specifically in the kitchens and how we could modernize them and still maintain the historic aspects,” Wheeler explained.

Christina Jansen, who is a project designer with Alley Poyner Macchietto, served as a historic consultant on the renovations and said it was a great experience to work with such a rare property. The group also worked with the Omaha Historical Society in its efforts to preserve historical details.

“The building is very unique and any opportunity to preserve historic fabric is great,” Jansen said. “We focused on the historic aspects of the building with the goal of salvaging as many of them as possible.”

Dundee Apt Ambassador Remodel

Alley Poyner Macchietto also assisted the group with paperwork for tax credits and financing, which were extremely beneficial to the project, according to Wheeler.

The group was drawn to the property largely because of its architectural beauty, as they all share a passion—as do many in Dundee—to maintain an historic feel.

“It’s a great location in a great neighborhood and we are very proud and excited for the future of this property,” Wheeler said. “We all had worked on remodeling projects in the past, just nothing on this scale. You definitely had to have faith and a vision with something like this. I’m glad we were able to salvage the building and make the [new residents] living here happy.”

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