Will publicly-financed owner Glyn Laverick return from the U.K?
COLUMBIA, 5/21/12 (Beat Byte) --
Between City Hall's push to spread tax increment financing -- TIFs -- around the central city, and the Tiger Hotel's
status as Columbia's most high-profile TIF, the nearly 2-month absence of hotel owner Glyn Laverick
is raising renewed concerns about the project's future.
To fully restore it into over 60 opulent rooms, Laverick purchased the hotel in March 2011 after a string of high-profile failures in Canada, Missouri, and the U.K
., some of which had the British impresario quietly disappearing as bills piled up, creditors called, and evictions commenced.
Earlier this year, the popular restaurant Bleu suddenly relocated to the former Boone Tavern building, and Laverick has continued to push his renovation timeline back. A September letter from downtown CID
director Carrie Gartner
to REDI officials suggested inclusion of hotels in enhanced enterprise zones based on the Tiger's continued financial difficulties.
Word of Laverick's departure started to circulate this March.
"Glyn Laverick returned to England this past week, leaving for what was thought to be a trip to visit family," a source informed the Columbia Heart Beat on April 5. "He is now stuck there under what is claimed to be VISA issues."
Another source followed up this month. "Laverick left Columbia two months ago and hasn't returned. I've heard that the hotel is a mess."
"I don't know what all the low ratings are for, I stayed in the hotel last weekend and my room was amazing," one reviewer wrote.
"Dealing with the Tiger Hotel has been an incredibly frustrating experience, and I wish I had chosen another hotel from the start," wrote another reviewer. "Not a 4 star hotel. They woke us up at 7:30 in the morning with hammering and construction that continued throughout the day the length if our stay," wrote a third reviewer. "The fitness center listed online has not even been built yet. Our room was dusty and we constantly woke up with allergies and asthma. We're moving to another hotel tonight."