Tax Increment Financing Commission discusses Regency Hotel Downtown redevelopment plan

Monday, December 13, 2010 | 10:04 p.m. CST; updated 3:50 p.m. CST, Thursday, December 16, 2010

*A previous version of this article misidentified where the hotels were situated.

COLUMBIA — The potential redevelopment of the Regency Hotel and its value to downtown Columbia was discussed at a Tax Increment Financing Commission meeting on Monday. 

Assistant City Manager Tony St. Romaine said the redesign of The Regency Hotel Downtown could be "a catalytic project for development in the North Village Arts District." 

Commission member Nikki Krawitz said a college town like Columbia was missing a boutique hotel in the downtown area. The Regency, at 1111 E. Broadway, could become a Hotel Indigo franchise if the TIF project is approved.

"Urbana-Champaign has one, and Bloomington, Indiana. It's actually strange that we don't have one," Krawitz said about boutique hotels. The University of Illinois is located in Urbana-Champaign and Indiana University is located in Bloomington.

Both college towns have a Hilton Garden Inn, part of another boutique franchise.*

The Regency developer, Dave Parmley of Broadway Lodging LLC, is currently requesting tax-increment financing assistance of $3.2 million. The total budget for the project is estimated at $17.5 million.

The next step in the TIF evaluation process is a public hearing, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 4.

Tom Rose, the Columbia school district's representative, said the public might have a hard time accepting the TIF request, in light of the one approved for Tiger Hotel.

The city's first TIF project was the redevelopment of Tiger Hotel, also located downtown, which is ongoing.

The commission reviewed minor modifications in Broadway Lodging's plan documents. In addition to Parmley, a consultant to Broadway Lodging, Pat Nasi, and the company's attorney, Robert Hollis, also attended the meeting.

The new hotel's effect on parking was discussed. Parmley said the parking area adjacent to the existing hotel serves its current needs. He said the proposed plan would increase the existing number of hotel rooms by 12, which would not affect parking significantly.

A future residential complex that could be developed at College and Walnut streets would need a parking garage, St. Romaine said. In that case, he said the city might purchase the additional land from Parmley to develop the garage.

The TIF amount would be regained through sales tax on food service and beverages but not on room rates, according to the developer's cost-benefit analysis document.

Following the public hearing, the TIF Commission will pass on its recommendation about whether to approve the financing to the City Council. The council will then vote on the project.

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John Schultz December 13, 2010 | 10:43 p.m.

That's funny, I thought the Tiger Hotel was supposed to be the downtown boutique hotel?

(Report Comment)
Bill Fisher December 14, 2010 | 3:49 a.m.

I thought the Tiger was a retirement home only.

Also, are there still plans on closing Short St. if the Regency expands? I know that was originally part of the plan, and I'm not too happy about it. It may be a little used street, but when you need it, it's pretty much invaluable.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz December 14, 2010 | 11:12 a.m.

Bill, I don't believe it's been a retirement home for a few years now. I think the owners weren't making money on that venture and decided to change gears.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield December 14, 2010 | 12:05 p.m.

If there's such a clear need and a can't-miss RoI for a boutique hotel downtown, then both properties' developers should have no trouble lining up private financing without also hitting up taxpayers.

I'd like to see a follow-up article that examines the Urbana-Champaign and Bloomington boutiques to see if they're consistently profitable, what their occupancy rates have been each year of operation, the occupancy rate for the rest of their markets and the amount, if any, of taxpayer subsidy.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire December 14, 2010 | 2:45 p.m.

Why should the hotel be allowed to tax those who choose to eat downtown while exempting those who rent rooms from the same?

(Report Comment)
Amrita Jayakumar December 14, 2010 | 4:05 p.m.

I'm Amrita, the reporter who's been tracking the Regency story.

You've all raised some interesting questions and I will look into it and post back here or let you know if there's a follow-up story.

Thank you.

(Report Comment)

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