COLUMBIA — The sounds of hammers, heavy machinery and workers shouting directions on Broadway and Short Street should come to an end by early fall.
For more than a year, drivers heading through downtown on Broadway have dealt with a small stretch of narrow lanes due to construction of The Broadway by DoubleTree, a hotel being built at the former site of The Regency. The total cost of the new hotel project, which is partially funded by a tax-increment financing agreement with the city, is estimated at $20.3 million.
The removal of a temporary wall along the north side of Broadway will alleviate some of the traffic issues caused by the construction. The wall is scheduled to be taken down by Aug. 1, after a new sidewalk is built, said Deb Kobacich, project manager for the hotel.
Dave Parmley, developer of the hotel, said he expects to open it in late September. An agreement between the hotel and the city of Columbia calls for that project, the accompanying Short Street garage and the North Light commercial and residential development to be done this summer, according to a previous Missourian story.
"It's been nearly a three-year project," Parmley said. "It'll be very exciting to see it done."
Parmley purchased the site in November 2011 and demolished The Regency in April 2012.
For some downtown business owners, the hotel construction has been a sore subject. Since demolition began, the temporary wall has blocked the sidewalk on the north side of Broadway from Short Street to the front step of Willie's Pub and Pool.
Willie's shares its eastern wall with the new hotel and arguably has been most affected by the construction. Chad Morrow, general manager of Willie's, said that the hotel project has been a bit problematic but has gone better than expected. Morrow is also the general manager of The FieldHouse, a bar directly west of Willie's.
"I don't think any downtown business owner would be happy about half of the sidewalk traffic being cut off," Morrow said.
Overall, though, Morrow is upbeat about The Broadway.
"Long-term, we're really positive about it," he said. "They've been as good of neighbors as you could be given the situation."
Morrow said the slowing of business has allowed time to remodel some of the interior of Willie's and the back of The FieldHouse.
The hotel's construction also has affected business at Gumby's Pizza just east of the hotel. Noah Schmidt, executive regional manager of Gumby's, said he also took the opportunity to remodel.
"We can't be the only crappy looking place on the block," Schmidt said.
Both Morrow and Schmidt said they are excited about the business the hotel will bring to the eastern end of downtown. Morrow said he looks forward to additional traffic during MU football weekends.
Parmley said he's setting a late September date for the hotel's opening because he doesn't want to be too optimistic.
"Knowing it's football season, we don't want to disappoint people," he said.
North Light, the building under construction directly north of The Broadway, also should be finished soon. North Light is a $4 million, 22,000-square-foot residential and commercial space.
Tony Grove is in charge of the North Light project and said he expects to finish work on the exterior within the next five weeks. He said builders broke ground on the structure in October 2012 but were working on plans and designs for 16 months before that.
"It's gonna feel absolutely wonderful (to have it done)," he said.
North Light will have a full ground floor of commercial space, including a hair salon, while the plan for the other seven floors includes about 12 "upper-scale, high-end lofts," Grove said.
The interior of the building has yet to take shape and can still be turned into either commercial or residential units, Grove said. He expects 60 percent of the building to be slotted for residential use.
Short Street garage
The city-owned parking garage on Short Street should be finished in September.
The six-story, 423-space garage initially was slated to be done in August, but weather delays have pushed back the completion date, Public Works Department spokesman Steven Sapp said in an email.
All 423 spaces in the garage have been reserved, and a waiting list has been created, Sapp said. Parmley said The Broadway has leased 101 of the spaces full-time.
The $9 million garage is on budget despite delays, Sapp said.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.