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The Diner to close, a new hotel on its way

The owners of the property sell to hotel group
Posted at 5:31 PM, Feb 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 10:06:29-05

The Diner has served customers in the Old Market since 1983 and will soon be closing because the property it sits on has been sold. 

Business operator Ken Schroeder has rented this place for over 5 years and was shocked to learn the owners sold the property, "Oh let me tell you--there were a few sleepless nights".

Schroeder said The Diner is a place for everybody from the homeless to Fortune 500 workers, "There's not many places that are not only providing a product or a service but we're also providing a sense of community and that' the key."

During Schroeder's tenure operating The Diner, the property has been on the market to be sold but no one actually took up the offer until now. Schroeder said he wishes he could but it but doesn't have the $1.5 million to fork up for the land. 

Now Hawkeye Hotels will build a 6-story hotel with over 500 rooms catered to a millennial clientele.  

"We believe this to be a good fit for downtown and to achieve maximum economic intensity and increase spending downtown as well as increase pedestrian flow," said Raj Patel with Hawkeye Hotels. 

On Wednesday, the Omaha Planning Board unanimously approved the development. 

There was mixed reaction during the public hearing portion. 

Jake Gardner, owner of The Hive, likes this project, "Our values directly align with each others."

Patel said he hopes to start construction of the hotel by the end of summer to give The Diner its final farewell in that spot. 

"I would love for The Diner, the owners and ken whoever have the ability to relocate to take anything from that site and able to continue that legacy and move the diner elsewhere," said Patel. 

As for the future of The Diner, it's a big unknown. 

"The Diner is The Diner can you replicate it, maybe, but we really have to think through it," said Schroeder. 

This development proposal goes to the Omaha City Council for final approval. 

There is a Go Fund Me page to help The Diner with expenses: