COLUMBIA — Twenty-five years and several redevelopment plans later, The Tiger Hotel will once again function as a hotel.
The 84-year-old Columbia landmark has taken a hiatus from accommodating tourists and travelers since 1987, when it was closed by a federal bankruptcy court. The hotel reopened as a senior citizen living facility in 1990; in 2003, it was purchased by Tiger Columns LLC to function as an event space.
In March, Glyn Laverick, of Columbia Hotel Investments Inc., purchased the property with plans to restore the space as a functioning hotel. Laverick sought aid from tax increment financing provided by the city to help fund the venture.
The new boutique hotel will open for lodging in several phases. The first phase, which includes the top two floors, was originally expected to be complete last fall. In November, however, Laverick extended the project and pushed the opening back to late February — just in time for the True/False Film Fest, which begins March 1.
Laverick is confident renovations will be finished in time for the start of the festival. Furniture for the top two floors will be delivered Wednesday, and building materials for the fifth, sixth and seventh floors were delivered Monday.
"True/False will be having several out of town guests stay at The Tiger," Laverick said in an email. "We are told that they will mainly be directors and producers from New York and (Los Angeles)."
David Wilson, the festival's co-director, said he was wary of placing all his eggs in one basket.
"Construction projects take time, and they often do not go as fast as people think," Wilson said. "We are still holding out hope that some rooms will be done, and we'll have some rooms to put people in, but we're not holding our breath."
Due to the uncertainty surrounding The Tiger's renovation schedule, True/False organizers have booked their guests at other hotels.
"The bulk of our guests will be staying at the Courtyard Marriott and the Hampton Inn & Suites — two of our sponsor hotels," Wilson said. "Some of our guests will be staying at Travelodge, and we have a few other rooms scattered around town as our backups."