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City of Omaha - Nebraska

City of OmahaOmaha, Nebraska

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(July 5, 2018)

The City of Omaha and Freestone Capital Management, an independent wealth advisory and asset management firm with over $4 billion in assets under management, announced today that Freestone and its affiliates plan to acquire The Hilton Omaha.   

Freestone will acquire the hotel via a long-term lease structure and will retain the Hilton brand. 

The new ownership agreement allows the City to pay off its $37 million bond issue with payments made at the closing of the transaction.  The buyers will also be obligated to make lease payments sufficient to meet outstanding related bond payments for the duration of the lease, equivalent to approximately $95 million.

“One of the greatest benefits of this deal is it will reduce the city’s debt obligation to The Hilton Omaha while still maintaining a first class hotel connected to our convention center,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.

The City of Omaha expects the hotel will continue to pay approximately $6 million annually in taxes.  Over the last 14 years, The Hilton Omaha has paid over $66 million in taxes.

Freestone intends to maintain the Hilton’s quality ratings and plans to make select property improvements over time. The City of Omaha and Freestone are excited about the partnership and both parties believe it is the right time to transition the hotel from public to private ownership.

The Hilton Omaha opened in 2004 alongside the CenturyLink Center, which was financed by a $109 million bond issue.  The City originally developed the hotel to support the CenturyLink Center and to encourage related positive impacts for the local economy.

In 2013, the City completed a renovation, expanding to 600 guest rooms, financed by a $37 million bond issue.  Today, The Hilton Omaha is a full-service convention center hotel with a Four Diamond rating.   Having performed its objectives of supporting economic activity and growth for the region, the City of Omaha began a search to divest the hotel in 2017. 

“We look forward to strengthening our relationship within the community through the preservation of the hotel's long standing track record," said Freestone's Erik Morgan. “We plan to carry out incremental improvements to the property and we believe the hotel acquisition provides a unique opportunity for our clients."

The agreement requires approval of the Omaha City Council.

“The vision for this hotel was to build Omaha as a convention and visitors destination and just look what has been achieved,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.

“Next door is the beautiful home of the College World Series. Omaha will host the Olympic swim trials for the fourth time in 2020, the CenturyLink Center is on the concert tour road map. We are proud of the achievements we have made and the plans for our future, especially downtown.  The Hilton Omaha is an important part of that future.”

About Freestone Capital Management

Freestone Capital Management is a Northwest-based wealth management firm that brings together superior client service within all aspects of wealth management and a comprehensive investment approach for clients. Founded in 1999, Freestone has offices in Washington, Oregon and California. 

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