Columbia hotel owners offer downtown redevelopment plans

Monday, October 8, 2007 | 10:57 p.m. CDT; updated 9:19 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

This story was updated at 3:25 p.m. to clarify details of the proposal from Regency Hotel.

COLUMBIA — The owners of Columbia’s two downtown hotels presented separate remodeling plans to the City Council at its work session Monday night.

The call for renovations of the Regency Hotel, 1111 E. Broadway, and The Tiger hotel, 23 S. Eighth St., represent efforts to improve the Special Business District.

Regency Hotel co-owner Michael Ebert presented a plan that involves razing the existing hotel, building a new 120-room, six-story Hyatt in its place and contructing a new city-owned parking garage next door.

There’s a need for an upscale hotel in a ground-zero area like this at the doorstep of the District,” said Citadel Construction Management President and CEO Greg Mullenix, who is working with Ebert.

The new hotel would encompass about 72,000 square feet and cost $16 million.

The parking garage, with an estimated cost of $7 million, would have about 290 spaces, City Manager Bill Watkins said. The city would build it after buying from the Regency two parking lots currently bisected by Short Street. The hotel would then rent 120 spots from the city for its guests, for a term as long as 30 years, and the remaining spots would be public. A transportation development district encompassing only the hotel and garage property would then be formed to collect sales tax that would defray a fraction of the cost of building the parking garage. Watkins estimated the TDD would collect about $50,000 a year.

The council recommended that Watkins put together a formal development agreement for the Regency Hotel plan.

John Ott, owner of The Tiger hotel, wants to turn his building back into a hotel. The Tiger hotel now houses businesses and hosts banquets.

Ott said other uses for the building haven’t been successful, and a hotel is important to the development of downtown.

“It is one piece of the puzzle and we want to do what we can to make sure this piece gets done,” Ott said.

Mayor Darwin Hindman said because the building is a landmark, its success could make a huge difference to downtown and redevelopment will generate economic activity.

To begin renovations of the Tiger hotel, Ott requested that the council hire an attorney to develop a tax-increment finance so the project can begin.

Tax-increment financing is an option for helping redevelop blighted areas.

It funnels a portion of the sales and property taxes generated by new projects toward related infrastructure. Central business districts are eligible for the State Supplemental Tax Increment Financing Program if they have at least one building more than 50 years old and are experiencing a decline in either population or property tax. The State TIF covers gaps in financing for redevelopment that local TIFs can’t cover.

Ott said a TIF will help the success of The Tiger hotel.

Hindman said, “If we don’t jump on this ... By gosh what are we going to use downtown?”

He also said a TIF would be an ideal solution for The Tiger hotel project.

The council agreed to look into the possibility of hiring a lawyer.

The council also discussed other ways to create development incentives to renovate downtown at the work session. Council examined the possibility of using the Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Act to aid redevelopment. MODESA is similar to a TIF, but it involves state participation and funds are used for infrastructure improvements.

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