Gene Leahy Mall at The RiverFront

  • Location
    Omaha, NE
  • Completion Date
  • Size
    200 acres
  • Team
    Architect: Gensler; ADBC Architecture
    Engineer: HDR; M&R Global
    MEP Engineer: Alvine Engineering
    Water Feature Designer: Fluidity Design Consultants
    Signage + Wayfinding Designer: RSM Design
    Lighting Designer: Atelier Ten
    Ecologist: Applied Ecological Services
    Soils Consultant: Pine & Swallow
    Play Consultant: Studio Ludo


Gene Leahy Mall sits in the heart of downtown Omaha. Its renovation and reimagining is an essential component of the Riverfront Revitalization Master Plan, which reconnects the downtown Omaha and Council Bluffs park systems to the Missouri River for the first time in several generations. Constructed in 1977, the 9.6-acre park was built in a wave of urban revitalization that brought green space to the center of the city. As the downtown changed, the steep edges of the sunken park with a meandering lagoon at its center presented challenges of access and activation.

Revitalization is centered on the impetus for a more active place, with diverse social and recreational areas. The mall site is re-graded to return pedestrian access at the street level, and organized around a formal body of water, including a central event lawn and performance pavilion, multi-use social spaces, a sculpture garden, a dog park, an iconic children’s play area, an interactive water feature, restrooms, and a games area. Water-efficient irrigation, bioretention facilities, and specialized soils ensure the long-term health of the native and drought-tolerant trees and plantings parkwide. Once complete, the necklace of public spaces will once again connect downtown to the riverfront.

New public sidewalks, street trees, and energy-efficient lighting align the park periphery, and new cross-park connections better connect the north and south sides of downtown and the neighboring Old Market District.