It’s not often that one comes across a market segment in commercial real estate where growth of almost 100% over a 5 or 6 year period is considered sustainable. In downtown Omaha, the hotel population is expected to do just that. In 2007, towards the end of Omaha’s first “downtown boom,” the city had a capacity of just over 1,700 rooms; currently, it’s at 2,400. Within the next two to three years, that figure could be well over 3,000 with the amount of projects that are currently proposed, being planned, or under construction. A big piece of that new growth is coming from the new Hyatt Place Hotel being built in the heart of Omaha’s Old Market District at 12th and Jackson Streets.
Upon its expected opening in 2014, the 9 story 159 room Hyatt Place will be the first hotel of any kind for the Hyatt brand in Nebraska. It will also provide a breath of fresh air to a long vacant eyesore in the Old Market. For almost a decade, the property has been a giant hole in the ground, literally. Both a condominium developer and a hotel developer tried to revive the property, but were met with defeat. The project will surely cure a longtime headache for neighboring Old Market businesses and bring a wealth of activity to the area.
To some, this projects importance stems from its ability to meet the demand for hotel rooms to the Old Market area. Currently, the only hotel operating in what would be considered the Old Market District is the 249 room Embassy Suites at 10th and Howard Streets. Given the publicity received by the area in many national and local media outlets over the last couple of years, the Old Market is rapidly developing as both a regional tourist destination and Omaha’s cultural center.
But more significantly, this project is another extension of the idea that downtown Omaha is quickly becoming a destination in and of itself. With TD Ameritrade Park and the College World Series, the CenturyLink Center and events like March Madness and the Olympic Swim Trials, downtown Omaha is quickly becoming the place to be for entertainment and nightlife. Not to mention the fact that it is conveniently located within a close proximity to Eppley Airfield, Interstates 480, 80, and 29 and other Omaha attractions such as the Henry Doorly Zoo. Hotels, like other industries, are attempting to position themselves to capture that. This project is no different.
The steel has already begun rising. The foundations have been poured and the structure appears to be rising above the first level. It should be a fun project to watch!