COLUMBIA — Overwhelming support was expressed Tuesday night for the Regency Hotel to be approved for tax increment financing. The only opposition communicated was in a letter, which was not read aloud during the public hearing held by the Tax Increment Financing Commission.
Downtown business owners and Columbia businessmen and women talked about the need for a more appealing hotel downtown and how replacing the Regency will bring more economic development.
The Regency developer, Dave Parmley of Broadway Lodging LLC, is requesting TIF funding of $3.2 million, according to previous Missourian reporting. The total budget for the project is estimated at $17.5 million.
"My endorsement of this project is overwhelming," Blue Note and Mojo's owner Richard King said during the public comments section of the meeting. "One of the most common questions I get from tour managers, booking agents and all kinds of folks is, 'This is a great town, but why don’t you have a hotel downtown?'”
*Nick Peckham, a downtown building owner, talked about the economic benefits.
"This kind of development will be a benefit to businesses and real estate," Peckham said.
Formal letters of approval were submitted by the Missouri Department of Revenue, Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Columbia Leadership Council. One Columbia resident, John Patrick Barnes, wrote a letter to the commission expressing his dissent to the plan.
"No power or pressure groups have formed to support this ill-conceived proposal, and there is no notable local interest in this project," Barnes said in his letter.
The Columbia Public School Board, which voted against TIF funding for the Tiger Hotel in 2009, has not taken a final vote on the Regency and has no official comment, Tom Rose, school district representative for the commission, said.
After David Parmley spoke, the commission clarified with him that his current building plans did not include a parking garage to be built to serve the hotel. Commission member Steve Erdel said there is "adequate parking" currently serving the hotel, and it should suffice for the new building.
Parmley said the city would need to purchase the land if a garage were to be built.
The commission will meet on January 14 at 5 p.m. to address the resolution for the funding plan.