Representatives from the City of Omaha; Landmark Organization, now known as FaulknerUSA; Hilton Hotels Corporation and numerous community leaders, construction workers and hotel project supporters celebrated the “topping out” of the new 450-room Hilton Omaha last Thursday. This full-service, downtown convention hotel broke ground in April 2002 and is scheduled to open its doors to guests in April 2004.
In honor of the Hilton Omaha reaching its highest point in construction, the ceremony was kicked off with supportive speeches from The Honorable Mike Fahey, mayor of Omaha; Greg Eden, CEO of developer FaulknerUSA; and Kenneth M. Smith, senior vice president—hotel operations, Mountain/Central region of Hilton Hotels Corporation.
The hotel is owned by the City of Omaha Convention Hotel Corporation and has been developed by Austin, Texas-based FaulknerUSA. Hilton Hotels Corporation will operate the new property under a 15-year management agreement.
“We continue to make great progress not only with Omaha`s convention center arena but its fabulous anchor hotel, the Hilton Omaha,” said Fahey. “Nestled on Omaha`s blossoming riverfront development, the Hilton Omaha will provide Omahans and visitors alike a front seat view to a fabulous new destination for our city. Hilton Corporation and FaulknerUSA have been good partners to Omaha, we appreciate their commitment to our vision as we build a new gateway.”
A topping out ceremony marks the construction milestone of the last concrete being poured at the top of the building, which signifies that the pinnacle of the structure has been reached and that the development project has now safely passed the halfway point.
In honor of the Hilton Omaha reaching its highest point in construction, the highlight of the ceremony featured the hoisting of a live Evergreen tree to the top of the hotel. Traditional tree-topping ceremonies are a 1,000-year-old custom. Dating back to its origin in Scandinavia, local superstition believed it necessary to appease the gods and ancestral spirits living in the trees cut and used for building structures. This tradition became an integral part of American culture, thanks to the numerous immigrants that joined in the building of modern-day America in the early 20th century.
“FaulknerUSA couldn`t be more satisfied with the progress we`ve made with the Hilton Omaha development. We are particularly proud of our local subcontractor participation in this project, which currently stands at more than 95 percent,” said Greg Eden of FaulknerUSA. “I am proud of the solid working relationship we`ve created between the City and Hilton. And as a person who called Omaha his home for a number of years, I am particularly proud to say that the residents of the greater Omaha area will soon have a landmark hotel for many years to come that was built by Omahans for Omahans.”
Located on the north side of downtown and connected to the new Omaha Convention Center & Arena by a 200-foot glass, enclosed skybridge, the Hilton Omaha is quickly being recognized as the city`s new convention headquarters hotel. When completed, the mid-rise, eight-story hotel will feature more than 30,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a dazzling 10,000 square-foot ballroom, 6,800 square feet of pre-function space and 16 additional meeting rooms suited for any meeting or event requirement. The Hilton Omaha also will feature a restaurant and lounge; a 24-hour business center; a fully equipped fitness room; an indoor, heated swimming pool; a whirlpool and two spa treatment rooms.
“Our local Hilton Omaha team, which now includes the leadership of a seasoned general manager and a dynamic sales team, demonstrates our commitment to welcoming the world`s travelers and meeting attendees to one of America`s most unique and friendly meetings and conventions destinations,” said Kenneth Smith of Hilton. “The progress of the Hilton sales, marketing and technology efforts have led to the recent launch of a Hilton Omaha hotel website and the development of an aggressive nationwide marketing campaign to be launched later this Summer. The commitment of our partners, along with the commitment of the Hilton team, will lead to the celebration of a successful opening next April.”
For a virtual, interactive tour of the Hilton Omaha and complete details on its facilities, visit the hotel`s new website at www.omaha.hilton.com or contact the Hilton Omaha pre-opening office at 402-342-4313.
The Omaha, Nebraska metro area spreads over five counties and 2,500 square miles. More than one million people live within a 50-mile radius of Omaha and enjoy a unique quality of life. With highly rated schools, world-renowned attractions like the Henry Doorly Zoo and Boys & Girls Town, and a very attractive cost of living, Omaha is thriving. Home to five Fortune 500 companies, Omaha`s unemployment remains below the national average at 3.2 percent. Omaha`s educational institutions, which include Creighton University and the University of Nebraska, continue to produce a highly qualified, competitive workforce with a Midwest work ethic. Visit our city`s website at www.ci.omaha.ne.us.
Hilton Hotels Corporation is recognized internationally as a preeminent hospitality company. The company develops, owns, manages or franchises more than 2,100 hotels, resorts and vacation ownership properties. Its portfolio includes many of the world`s best known and most highly regarded hotel brands, including Hilton(R), Conrad(R), Doubletree(R), Embassy Suites Hotels(R), Hampton Inn(R), Hampton Inn & Suites(R), Hilton Garden Inn(R), Hilton Grand Vacations Company(R) and Homewood Suites by Hilton(R). For more information about the Hilton Family of Brands, please visit our corporate website at www.hiltonworldwide.com.
From convention hotels and sports arenas to public schools, military housing, hospitals and correctional facilities, FaulknerUSA delivers innovative design-build and construction solutions for a broad range of clients nationwide. A merger of Landmark Organization and Faulkner Construction Company, FaulknerUSA`s 40-year construction background and renowned expertise orchestrating public-private financing structures for its public entity clients helps make development projects a reality for communities across the nation. In addition to the Hilton Austin and the accompanying Fifth Street Tower luxury residences, other FaulknerUSA Hilton projects include the Hilton Omaha and the award-winning Hilton Austin Airport. Visit our website at www.faulknerusa.com.
Note to Editors: Hi-Res Digital Color Photos from the Topping Out Event are made available upon request. Please contact Thomas Wingham at 310-205-3381, if interested.