Regency Hotel sold; Doubletree to be built on downtown property

Monday, December 5, 2011 | 7:18 p.m. CST; updated 12:15 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 6, 2011

COLUMBIA — What had been the only hotel operating downtown has been closed and will be torn down, rebuilt and turned into a new hotel, The Broadway, a Doubletree by Hilton.

David Parmley, president of Chesterfield Hotels Inc, closed on the Regency Hotel property for $3 million Wednesday and plans to get started on the redevelopment right away.

The property includes the land the Regency Hotel sits on as well as two surface lots on Short Street, Parmley said. The city, in turn, bought the two surface lots for $1.25 million on Thursday and plans to build a six-story, 410-space parking garage with 100 spots leased to the new hotel, Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said.

Parmley said demolition of the hotel will begin in mid-January and last between 60 and 90 days.

“We hope to build back up starting in April, and we have a 14-month project, so expect to be done sometime in June 2013,” Parmley said. The estimated project cost is up to $20 million, he said.

St. Romaine said the timeline for construction of the hotel and the garage are pretty much in sync.

“We have an agreement with the hotel developer that we will be complete with the garage either at the same time or prior to the completion of the hotel,” St. Romaine said. “Obviously, he sold his existing surface parking lots, where he would have normally parked his hotel guests, to the city so we could build the multilevel garage.”

Parmley said he tried to secure about one parking space for each room in the new hotel. He also said that, although there is no requirement that businesses provide parking to customers downtown, he wants to give customers the best experience possible, including parking.

“It became pretty obvious there is a need for parking in that quadrant downtown,” Parmley said. “So we think the parking garage will be valuable for us and for the city.”

With only a month before the old hotel is scheduled to be torn down, Parmley plans to auction off its furniture and equipment. The sale will be at 9 a.m. Dec. 19 at the hotel.

The seven-story, 114-room hotel will offer lower-level meeting space, rooftop bars and a rooftop lounge. The ground floor will feature a fitness center, a small restaurant and a lobby bar, Parmley said.

The Broadway, a Doubletree by Hilton is a name that gives the developers room to build a unique hotel fitting for Columbia and to offer amenities offered by Doubletree.

“We’re very excited to be planning an upscale project in downtown,” Parmley said. “We went through the extra length of having Doubletree approve this name because we want some more room for design to fit with the downtown environment.”

The Columbia City Council approved a tax-increment financing for the Regency redevelopment in February 2011, according to a previous Missourian article.

Tax-increment financing is a way local governments can help redevelopment projects that need financial assistance and encourage economic development. Tax-increment financing freezes property taxes based on the value of the property before redevelopment. The taxes that normally result from increased property value help offset the developer’s cost.

The tax-increment financing approved by the council will reimburse Parmley $3.2 million over time. St. Romaine and Parmley said the progress so far and the construction timeline comply with the agreement.

“The previous developer approached them about it before I came on the scene,” Parmley said. “It’s expensive to develop, and they recognized the need. If they wanted a full-service hotel downtown, they needed to help make it happen.”

Parmley explained that high land costs make developing an upscale hotel downtown difficult without public assistance.

Parmley sold the two surface lots under two conditions: that the garage would be done by the time the hotel was complete and that he would lease 100 spaces. Still, St. Romaine said the garage is for more than just the hotel.

He said the city actually had to approve expanding the garage to six stories and 410 spaces because there has been increasing interest in leasing parking spots.

“We want to satisfy future demand. And thinking forward, it’s easy to imagine the remaining space will be taken fairly quickly,” said St. Romaine.

Parmley said the decision to build on the Regency's site was simple.

“It was a great location and has been in the market for 50 years,” Parmley said. “So it made a lot of sense. We want to come back with something a little bigger and a little better. We would like to take it up a notch and provide upscale lodging for Columbia tourists.”

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Steve Baumann December 7, 2011 | 1:01 p.m.

I remember when it was the Downtowner, and then when the Schultz family remodeled it and gave it a go. Hope it works out, not really sure that is a good location for a hotel (poor parking), but hey, go for it!!/photo.php?fb...

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