COLUMBIA — City government is considering footing the bill for a new parking garage downtown that would add 300 spaces and could cost an estimated $8.25 million.
Dave Parmley of Broadway Lodging has been in discussion about selling the city two parking lots at the Regency Hotel as part of a $17.5 million redevelopment plan that includes tearing down the Regency and building a new hotel.
If the city builds the garage, Parmley said, he would lease 100 of the spaces for hotel customers.
Tony St. Romaine, assistant city manager, said on Friday that the city staff chances of recommending a new parking garage near the Regency Hotel are "pretty good." He said that the city has been in discussion with Parmley about buying the land, which he said could cost more than $1 million.
“We have not come to an agreement on price,” St. Romaine said. “We have been talking to Dave Parmley. … Right now we’re in the middle of negotiating.”
There is no set price for the cost of building the new garage, St. Romaine said, adding that his $8.25 million "ballpark estimate" includes purchase of the land.
The parking lots that are currently used by the Regency Hotel would be combined, St. Romaine said. Short Street would become an entrance into the new parking lot; it currently connects Broadway and Walnut streets just east of the hotel.
On Jan. 14, the Tax Increment Financing Commission recommended funding for $3.2 million to redevelop the Regency by building a new seven-story hotel with 112 rooms. According to a previous Missourian report, the funding will come from new property and sales taxes of the hotel.
The Tax Increment Financing Commission determined that the project would not be able to be constructed without the tax breaks — a finding that needed to be approved before funding is given.
The Columbia City Council on Tuesday heard a presentation about the hotel project that stated a "redevelopment agreement" was being drafted to address parking.
A draft of the parking agreement could be approved as soon as Feb. 21 when City Council is expected to hold a public hearing and vote on the Tax Increment Financing plan and project.
St. Romaine said H3 studios, a planning firm from St. Louis, conducted a study last summer that found a need for a new hotel and additional parking around the area that includes the Regency Hotel and Stephens College. He also said the parking shortage would only get worse without a new garage.
“This parking garage, if it would be built, isn’t being built solely for the Regency Hotel,” St. Romaine said.
St. Romaine said the demand for the parking garage would be high. He also said it would most likely have 300 spaces, in which at least half of the spaces would be spoken for before construction.
Bill Lewis, city parking supervisor, said the city is preparing to open its new garage at Fifth and Walnut streets on Feb. 14, and it will have 703 spaces. That garage cost nearly $14 million.