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03/12/2015

Fashion Week

Omaha Fashion Week is moving to a permanent location.

The group that operates the biannual fashion show plans to purchase the Tip Top Ballroom at 1502 Cuming St. and renovate the space for its permanent headquarters, set to open in March.

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The Omaha Design Center, as it will be called, will host Omaha Fashion Week’s March and August shows, plus other fashion events. It will include office space, retail space, a bar and a ballroom, which can be rented out for weddings and other events.

“We weren’t able to showcase the event where it was large enough and had the right aesthetic for us,” said Nick Hudson, founder of Omaha Fashion Week. “So we just thought, ‘OK then, we’ll just create our own.’ ”

The deal will be a partnership between Omaha Fashion Week and Cutchall Management Co., which owns several restaurants in town and a catering company, Hudson said. Together, they plan to purchase the building and kitchen and administrative space for $2.77 million. The sale is scheduled to

close today, Hudson said. After remodeling and construction costs, the total investment should be about $4 million for the 30,000-square-foot space.

NuStyle Development, which currently owns the property, declined to comment on the sale.

Construction is slated to begin in January. Hudson said plans call for creating one 15,000-square-foot ballroom that can be sectioned off into smaller rooms, if necessary.

The ballroom will have an industrial feel, with exposed brick and duct work, a polished concrete floor and curtains and chandeliers overhead. There will be a bar area nearby, two catering kitchens, 2,000 square feet of pop-up retail space for rent and rooms for offices and workshops in the back.

Hudson said Omaha Fashion Week wanted to join a growing arts and design district in north downtown that includes The Mastercraft Building, Hot Shops Arts Center and the Co-Lab, which is housed in the Tip Top Building.

“We’re very much part of that creative entrepreneurship community,” Hudson said. He sees the area as a place for creative types to bounce ideas off one another and play to each others’ strengths. “We were really excited about doing something and being a part of this bigger picture as well.”

The Omaha Design Center will give Omaha Fashion Week a place to launch new events, including more opportunities for young designers. The volume and quality of the show’s young designers is beginning to define Omaha’s fashion, he said.

“Having this building is going to be a huge step forward in that process for us,” he said.

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