|| On May 9, 2000, the voters of the City of Omaha approved the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA) to manage the construction and operations of the new Qwest Center Omaha. MECA is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. Formal operations of MECA commenced on August 25, 2000, when the City approved a 99-year Lease and Development Agreement with the City of Omaha which allowed for MECA to construct and operate the facility. MECA's President/CEO, Roger Dixon and his staff report to a five person board of directors who are appointed by the Mayor and the Omaha City Council.
The overall development site for Qwest Center Omaha spans 422 acres which is approximately 100 city blocks. The facility opened in September 2003 and contains more than 1,100,000 square feet, including a 194,000 square foot exhibition hall, more than 63,000 square feet of meeting space and an 18,300 seat arena. The site includes approximately 4,500 parking spaces, including a 3-story, 500 stall parking garage attached to the arena portion of the facility. The facility is connected via skywalk to the 450 room Hilton Omaha. The Hilton Omaha is Nebraska's only 4 Diamond AAA property.
The cost for the entire project, including utility work, sewers, streets, parking lots and the building, totals $291 million. Private individuals and organizations donated $75 million with the remainder provided through a general obligation bond issue by the City of Omaha.