City interested in financing parking garage at downtown hotel

Sunday, January 23, 2011 | 3:33 p.m. CST; updated 11:24 a.m. CST, Monday, January 24, 2011
Parking lot behind Regency Hotel in Columbia on Sunday.

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.


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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. 

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Corey Parks January 23, 2011 | 6:43 p.m.

The City might be interested in footing the bill but since they do not have any of their own money how do they propose they will do that? Steal from the citizens again?

(Report Comment)
Juan Mendez January 24, 2011 | 5:55 a.m.

Bad idea.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 24, 2011 | 8:35 a.m.

If one looks at an aerial photo array of downtown Columbia and the nearby MU campus one gets the impression that the complex is turning into an endless series of parking garages.

[Another of the four UM System campuses has no parking garages at all! How do they manage with that? Too poor to be able to build them?]

(Report Comment)
Clara Allen January 24, 2011 | 8:58 a.m.

Ellis: Rolla's population base isn't about to support a parking garage.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 24, 2011 | 9:38 a.m.

If memory serves (and a quick search on the city website seems to verify), H3 was hired to perform a charrette of stakeholders and interested parties for downtown entrances, not to perform a study that "would find a need" for a parking garage.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 24, 2011 | 9:59 a.m.

What happened to the colored glass for the BORG stairways? The colored glass was, IMHO, the only thing that was going to give that thing any redeeming visual quality. Now, it really is just a big hulk of visual blah.

(Report Comment)
Clara Allen January 24, 2011 | 10:13 a.m.

Rather than eliminate the junction at Short and Walnut why not allow Short street to tunnel through a parking garage?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 24, 2011 | 10:17 a.m.

Derrick, I think the pretty blue windows are still coming but was delayed for some reason. I think there's a story either here or the Trib archives about it.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 24, 2011 | 10:35 a.m.

All I could find here was an article in September stating the Northwest (only?) panels would be colored. I thought both sides would. I think they're just now putting the panels up. I didn't see any colored glass this morning, but I couldn't tell by just a quick glance if it was just the frame, or glass was already there.

I don't read the Trib much anymore since they put up the paywall. I did happen onto it over the weekend, and saw that putting up a paywall does a better job at keeping good comments out, and letting the braindead in, than vice-versa. Swingline is about the only decent commenter left there. That's probably enough said about that.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 24, 2011 | 1:41 p.m.

Send the paywall to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 25, 2011 | 8:34 a.m.

Clara Allen:

You may be correct about Rolla's population being too small, but a pretty good case can be made that the university campus could support at least one parking garage - but that isn't going to happen any time soon.

(Note: Rolla population ~ 18,000.)

(Report Comment)
Ryan Acker February 2, 2011 | 4:58 p.m.

They really should consider designing Short St. into the garage . It would be a shame if they just bulldozed away a vital connector street for this thing. Short St. serves inbound traffic well by allowing it to avoid 10th & Broadway, a major bottle neck. By removing the street, traffic on Broadway would worsen.

But is now really the best time for the city to be footing the bill?

(Report Comment)

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