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OMAHA — A proposal for a new hotel in downtown Omaha has been approved by city planning officials, despite pleas from fans of the popular restaurant currently on the planned hotel site.

Iowa-based Hawkeye Hotels plans to build a six-story, $15 million Marriott franchise, called the Moxy Hotel.

The Planning Board voted 7-0 to recommend that the Omaha City Council approve the redevelopment plan.

But some local residents disagreed with the decision, saying the restaurant located at the site, called The Diner, is the part of "the soul" of downtown.

"I would hate to see that icon go," Mark TeVogt, owner of Iron Decor and More in the Old Market, told the board.

A campaign to raise money to relocate The Diner has been created.

The board also has approved a $1.9 million tax-increment financing, known as TIF.

The financing allows developers to borrow a portion of their property's future property tax increases to assist in paying upfront development costs.

The tax-increment financing and redevelopment plan is expected to the City Council in a few weeks.

Raj Patel, chief development officer of Hawkeye Hotels, said he's willing to accommodate restaurant owners Ken Schroeder and Rick Daly, who've said they want to remain open at the site as long as possible, including through the College World Series.

"We'd be flexible with them on how long they could stay open," Patel said.

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