Tiger Hotel Tries Again For Resurrection

Related Story

COLUMBIA - Columbia's venerable Tiger Hotel has both a storied and a controversial past. With a long history of more than 80 years, the hotel is now working at resurrection and branding itself as a luxury, boutique hotel.

Christine Foley, the project manager for the Tiger Institute of Health, is a long term customer at the Tiger Hotel. Foley comes from Kansas City every week and has been staying in the hotel for 6 weeks now. Plus, she has already booked a room for the rest of the year.

"I love this hotel. Is my home away from home. They are so warm and nice to me," said Foley.

In July 20, 2009 the Tiger Hotel became the first project in the city to be approved for a tax-increment financing (TIF) to make it a boutique hotel. The hotel was initially supposed to be completed by June 2010. But that didn't happen. Previous owners Dave Baugher, John Ott, Al Germon and Renea Sapp sold the hotel to Glyn Laverick in March 2011. The new owner made headlines because it seemed he was never around -- always out-of-town and out-of-country -- because, he said, his grandmother had a heart attack.

Dan Johnson, the assistant developer said this is not impacting the hotel's renovation in any way.

"Family comes before business. I'm still in contact with Glyn all the time. This community has been oddly pessimistic toward Glyn Laverick and I have no idea why, " said Johnson.

Since then, the City Council extended the deadline twice and now the current date is set to be spring 2013. You can see on the document linked below what TIF funding is and how it applies to the Tiger Hotel.

How does it work?

One main part of the project is the property taxes. City of Columbia assistant director of finance, Lynn Cannon, explained the current assessed value of the hotel is $322,700 and it pays close to 6.73% in taxes that currently stands at $21,373. The new reassessed value is going to be calculated this month. After that, any increased taxes paid is credited to the owner's value. 

Second, if there is an increase in sales taxes then the increase is split between the hotel owner and the taxing entities (city and county). The city and county will continue to receive the same amount of taxes set out in 2008, plus 50% of the increase in sales taxes generated by the Tiger Hotel. The hotel gets the other 50%.

Lynn Cannon said she cannot give the numbers for the sales taxes because the city has to separate the taxes that are not subject to the TIF. She said she has to first determine what the base is but...

"Given the information I have, there will be an increase in 2009, 2010 and 2011," said Cannon.

The funding will be given for 23 years starting in 2009 and it can get to a maximum of $1.7 million. But the TIF project will only be implemented if the Tiger Hotel completes its renovation by spring 2013. If not...

"We could ask for a small extension, sometimes the city will understand that things get away and I think they are pretty pleased and impressed with what they see right now. They want to help us. But there is a chance that they can say you know what, tough luck, you didn't finish on time, you don't get any TIF money," said Johnson.

The Tiger Hotel gets its funding mostly from local investors and 20% of money comes in several installments from a federal tax credit partner for qualified rehabilitation expenditures (QRE) costs like plumbing lines, etc. The Tiger Hotel will get an additional 25% from Missouri state tax credit given to help the hotel due to its historical nature once the renovation is completed.

The hotel has nine floors and a capacity of 62 rooms. At the moment, only 15 rooms on the 8th and the 9th floors are open. Rooms vary from standard rooms to a presidential suite. KOMU 8 News asked for a public tour of the facility so the public could see the renovation progress. KOMU 8 News can confirm the 7th and the 6th floor are more than 70% done, the 5th floor is less 50% done and the 4th, 3rd and 2nd floor have been prepared for the renovation with the main plumbing lines and sprinkler stand pipe been run only.

"There were so many ambiguities at the beginning and so much clarity now that 2 floors have been done. The contractors know exactly how to do the next floor. But there are a lot of variables involved so it's tough to give a definitive deadline," said Johnson.

Dan Johnson also said Laverick is planning to build an open-air terrace on top of the ballroom, making it more appealing to visitors.

The current prices of the rooms range from $149 to $250. To learn more about the hotel, you can go to their website.