Columbia City Council to acquire land for Short Street garage

Monday, June 6, 2011 | 9:39 p.m. CDT; updated 11:50 a.m. CDT, Monday, September 26, 2011

COLUMBIA – The Columbia City Council unanimously passed a bill Monday evening authorizing the acquisition of property on Short Street for the construction of a parking garage.

The garage is to be built in conjunction with the hotel development at the site of the Regency Hotel.

A franchise agreement has been approved with Hilton Hotels Corp. to construct a 114-room hotel dubbed “The Broadway” on the site, Dave Parmley of Broadway Lodging said Friday.

Parmley said his inspiration for the hotel came from the other DoubleTree hotels that have adopted a boutique style, including “The Wit” in Chicago, “Hotel Maya” in Long Beach, Calif., and “The Curtis” in Denver.

About $13,000 has been spent on development of the garage so far, but city staff projects the total cost will be about $9.2 million.

Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl said he was concerned about the changing cost of the garage. According to a previous Missourian article, the projected cost in March was $7 million.

“The number keeps moving around, and we don’t know how much we need to raise,” Kespohl said.

Mayor Bob McDavid said the council would maintain interest in the size of the garage, whether retail stores are a part of it, and whether Short Street will be blocked off or run through the garage.

A bill that would raise downtown parking meter rates to pay for the garage was tabled and will be taken up June 20.

The council unanimously amended the bill before it was tabled. The measure would now:

  • Double the fees at downtown street meters from 30 cents to 60 cents per hour.
  • Increase the fees at meters near MU from 50 cents to 75 cents per hour.
  • Raise the cost of surface lot permits from $40 to $50 per month.
  • Establish free parking on Saturdays in all city garages.
  • Charge $35 per month for permits in the Fifth and Walnut streets garage from July 1 to Dec. 31.

The changes would raise $760,000 in revenue per year, including revenues generated from spaces in garages based on a 75 percent occupancy assumption, according to city staff.

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Phil Wilkinson June 7, 2011 | 3:27 a.m.

Why don't we just open up a lake downtown and stock it with Red Herring?

(Report Comment)
matt arnall June 7, 2011 | 9:10 a.m.

Isn't the city counsil supposed to make decisions that are good for the city and its people. Have they not noticed that there are empty parking garages all over downtown? This seems to be not in the best interest of anyone in Columbia, and they are going to take our tax dollars to finance a private business. What is going on around here? Coulumbia is starting to have shades of DC. Who owns the counsil? It is not we the people, that's for sure.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote June 7, 2011 | 10:38 a.m.

I think the metered rates should be higher, and should be set by market forces, i.e. demand. I also don't think the city should be in the parking lot business. I especially have a problem with the city partnering with a private corporation to enhance the profits of a private enterprise. I think the land could be used much more productively. If Hilton Hotels thinks otherwise, let them buy the land and build a parking garage. I don't mind the city using tax dollars to improve infrastructure, I just think our tax dollars should be invested in forward thinking projects and not based on antiquated city planning models from the 1950s.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 7, 2011 | 11:32 a.m.

Let me do the casual math here for you all.

It shouldn't be needed to double the charge on all the meters in every parking garage in town and every angled parking spot that is metered and everywhere somebody decided to put a meter on an otherwise good street just to pay for one MORE stinking garage. Especially not when it's going to benefit ONE enterprise way more than any other enterprise. But that's beside the point. So will they double the parking fee again the next time they build another? Will they lower the fee when they recover the money they say this will cost? What do you all think? I think it SUCKS.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield June 7, 2011 | 12:26 p.m.

If Parmley and nearby landowners believe that a garage is essential to the success of their businesses, then they should buy the land and build the garage.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz June 7, 2011 | 12:38 p.m.

Jimmy, I don't think the hotelier is pushing the parking garage, but the city is. I'm pretty sure he's stated that the project would go on with or without the garage, but that the garage needed to be built in conjunction with the hotel, not afterwards.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield June 7, 2011 | 12:53 p.m.

Has he said why the garage has to be built at the same time as the hotel? For example, is he concerned about the garage's construction damaging the new hotel? Or is it because he doesn't want to open the hotel and then lose the parking while the garage is being built?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz June 7, 2011 | 1:16 p.m.

I believe his reasoning was it would be difficult to build the garage without impacting the hotel's operation in some way.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield June 7, 2011 | 1:24 p.m.

Well, then he should go ahead and build the garage rather than forcing the city to move ahead with something that might not be required anytime soon.

(Report Comment)
Jacob Kirn June 7, 2011 | 1:54 p.m.

I have relayed your questions to Mr. Parmley and will be writing a story which includes his response and further details about the DoubleTree development.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 7, 2011 | 2:04 p.m.

There must be ten times as many meters existing as there are ones that would be in the new garage. So maybe a badly planned huge garage would justify a couple more cents to park. There must be some terrible cost associated with this. No building is worth doubling the meter rates city wide.
Actually, at this point I'm beginning to wonder why I care at all how much it costs people to park their stupid cars. I suppose it's because there are some businesses that will likely get hurt who, for the most part, did as little as possible to contribute to any percieved problem.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield June 7, 2011 | 2:25 p.m.

Thanks, Jacob. I have no problem with a parking garage being built there. I just don't think the city should be the one building it. If Parmley doesn't already own the land -- I thought that the hotel did at one time -- then he and nearby landowners, such as the developer of the apartments going in at Walnut and College, should build it as a joint effort.

(Report Comment)
Jeremy Calton June 7, 2011 | 3:01 p.m.

Making garages free on Saturday will be nice. It gives people too drunk to drive on Friday a good/safe/free place to leave their cars and take a taxi home.
So there's that.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz June 7, 2011 | 3:53 p.m.

Jimmy, again I don't think he asked for the garage to be built (at least not publicly, I suppose there could be some back room wink-wink arrangement). The hotel did own the lots, but has sold them to the city for the garage.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield June 7, 2011 | 4:24 p.m.

I doubt that he would have sold the lots to the city without the expectation, or least hope, that the city would build a garage there. Otherwise, the city could build something else there (e.g., a shrine to Darwin Hindman), and then the hotel would be scrambling to find off-street parking for its guests.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall June 9, 2011 | 3:08 p.m.

The long and the short of it is that there are a bunch mostly empty garages throughout downtown Columbia and there are a million things that tax money would be better spent on than another garage that is going to only benefit a privately owned hotel. Giving drunk people a free place to park a car on Saturday is totally beside the point. This is blatent foolishness by the city. Where is there any research that indicates the city needs more parking? Who is the individual behind this genius planning for the District? Is there any thought being put into this that has research to back it up?

(Report Comment)

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