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City of Ralston

March 30, 2021


Chad Reelfs

Metro “Shark Tank” Creating Jobs in Ralston’s Granary District; Ground Breaking for Project

“Shark Tank” investment opportunities driving job growth;
Granary Green to host public gatherings; event dates announced;
new images show District vision

“Similar to “Shark Tank,” our program offers a competitive environment for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas. If it’s a high-growth business, we can help; we give them financial support and the backing they need right here in Ralston,” said Gordon Whitten, CEO of I See It Ventures.

The I See It Ventures’ business accelerator model in the new Granary District drives economic growth and creates jobs. “Our Granary District Project brings new residential and commercial spaces to lease with a unique recreational infrastructure that will allow our new businesses to attract quality talent and thrive. Given Ralston’s designation as an economic opportunity zone, investors benefit a lot too.” Whitten said.

Whitten is a repeat entrepreneur who has created multiple businesses, including Sojern, ScoreVision, and Its Deductible, which he sold to Intuit. Whitten recently formed several start-up venture funds to invest in opportunity zone businesses. Whitten unveiled Event Vesta as the newest business to have landed his investment and support. Event Vesta provides local event promotion support for the event host to boost attendance and is building an AI-powered mobile app to recommend events to users and their friends tailored for their interests.

The Granary District is a part of the overall Ralston Hinge Project to redevelop the City of Ralston between 72nd to 77th streets and Main to Burlington. Whitten has brought close to 20 high-paying jobs to the area since he moved I See It Ventures, Inc. to Ralston in 2020 and estimates an additional 50-100 jobs after phase one completion in Summer 2021.

Whitten announced that the Ralston Granary District, including the new community space known as the Granary Green, will open in late July 2021. He unveiled new images (see attached) and timelines for the $20 million development near 72nd and Q Street.

“We’re excited to announce the Granary District as a vibrant live, work, and play community in the Omaha metro area that will be open in late July,” Whitten said. “We have already made tremendous progress creating jobs and bringing innovation and economic revitalization to the area. Today we are describing our vision for the new Granary District and announcing several exciting events on the horizon.”

The Granary Green will be the central feature of the late July opening. The public space in front of Bushwackers will include a 14,000 square foot outdoor venue and feature a 27-foot LED display screen for concerts, special events, and community use.

Kelsey Ostendorf, a member of the Ralston Economic Development Corp that has worked with I See It Ventures on the Granary District, says the Granary Green will become a hub of activity in Ralston, Omaha, and the region as a whole.

“The Granary Green will bring together Ralston’s new entrepreneurs in the Granary District and Ralston residents. It will showcase what is new about Ralston while helping preserve and enhance Ralston’s traditions. Some nights the Green will host concerts. Other nights Ralston residents will celebrate the traditional events that make our community special,” Ostendorf said.

Bushwackers will program the Granary Green. According to Talent producer Jason Kinney, Omaha is fortunate to have this private public-partnership. “A unique private venue like Bushwackers that brings a Nashville feel and big-name musicians such as Keith Anderson, Thompson Square, and Kristen Kelly will make the public Granary Green a must-see stop in the region,” Kinney said. “It will be one of the few outdoor venues in the Omaha metro that can hold 2,000 to 3,500 people at a time.”

Event Director, Becky Hans, says Bushwackers will remain open during construction of the Granary District. “We will continue to host national music acts for the remainder of 2021. We are proud to announce that Country Music Association award-winning artist, Lindsay Ell, will be performing on Saturday, May 29, 2021.”

A commercial anchor tenant in the Granary District is set to open in mid-May. Out of the Box is a unique 20,000 square foot retail store that sells high-quality reclaimed and recycled, one-of-a-kind architectural details, furniture, and home improvement accessories.

“We are coming together with the city to create jobs, innovation, and economic revitalization, and we will continue to attract outside investors. We believe the Granary District will become an amazing job growth engine and a hot spot for living and entertainment in the region,” Whitten concluded.

For more information, visit www.granarydistrictomaha.com