Posted: Mar 25, 2014 7:16 PM by Emily Spain, KOMU 8 Anchor
Updated: Mar 25, 2014 9:29 PM
COLUMBIA - The newest addition to Columbia's downtown skyline opens to the public this week. You can stay at The Broadway hotel, a DoubleTree by Hilton, starting Wednesday. KOMU 8's Emily Spain was the first TV reporter to get a sneak peek inside the hotel, check out the video on the left side of the page.
The 114 rooms at The Broadway are almost ready for guests. Staff has mostly been working on clearing construction equipment and dust in the past couple of weeks.
"It's just getting everything cleaned up and doing those last minute touch ups that go on with any project," said Bob McDonald, the hotel's general manager.
McDonald said this week's debut was three years in the making.
"We think this will be a huge draw to bring people back downtown and experience the district that maybe haven't...in years," he said.
The Broadway stands eight stories tall in the same spot the old Regency hotel claimed for years. The city approved a tax increment financing district or TIF for the area surrounding the hotel to help pay for improvements, like the new parking garage on Short Street.
"Part of that was they really wanted to make sure that this was a well taken care of space, that it was something that the citizens would be proud of and part of that was to spend the money...to do so," McDonald said.
No other hotel in the country looks like this one. Even though it's part of a national chain, local management was able to come up with a design unique to Columbia.
"Also, we use a ton of local artwork because we're in the North Arts District. So we're able to use pieces like this, steel piece that was made exclusively for the Broadway and it is the Missouri River start to finish," said Natalie Imhoff, the hotel's director of sales. That piece of artwork she described hangs in the lobby. The work of local artists can also be found on the walls in the hallways and rooms.
You'll find local talent in the kitchen as well at the hotel's in-house restaurant called, Eleven Eleven. It gets its name from the address of the hotel. The Eleven Eleven chefs come from the University of Missouri and the Columbia Country Club.
"The great thing is that we really wanted to hire local talent and we have," McDonald said. "We've got about 170 positions already hired here for the hotel. And all of them for the most part are local. Our management staff is all local too, we have a lot of Mizzou grads."
Event rooms were named after Columbia parks and creeks like Capen, Hinkson and Grindstone.
"It's important that we stay in touch with Columbia. We want to make sure that when people come visit here that they know what Columbia's about," McDonald said.
You'll certainly be able to see what Columbia looks like from the rooftop of the hotel.
"The Roof is an indoor, outdoor facility," Imhoff said. "It's open to the public everyday at four."
The Broadway opens Wednesday, but Imhoff said the rooftop won't open until one week later. The hotel will hold an official ribbon cutting on April 3 at 4 p.m.