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Downtown Continues to Grow: The 5 East Project

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Do you remember the Black-Olive proposal that originated in 2016 and was later approved in the fall of 2017? How about the One 11 Lofts that were proposed just this year? The developer behind both of these projects, Andy Holloran, has proposed another mid-rise building for the downtown area.

Called 5 East, the proposed six-story, mixed-use building will include 30 condos with space on both the second and third floors for retail and office space. The current proposal for 5 East also includes 29 parking spaces on the ground level, with a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom condos on the top four floors, all ranging from 790 to 1,500 square feet. Located on the corner of Mendenhall and Tracy, the build site currently houses the Straightaway Motors auto shop and several homes, which would be demolished per an agreement with the landowner.

While many downtown residents are still concerned that contemporary buildings will negatively impact Bozeman’s small-town charm and compromise its historic integrity, Holloran states that in order to preserve our open land and agricultural space, we need to further develop our urban core, which includes “building up” instead of “building out”. As it currently is, the proposal includes in the northwest portion of 5 East scaled down to three stories “in order to respect the lower-density housing to the north and provide open space and outdoor amenities for residents”. These amenities include landscaped outdoor terraces, restaurants, and a spa.

5 East is currently set for review by the city planning department. If the plan is approved, construction could begin as early as the beginning of 2019.

 

Current Mid-Rise Development Projects/Proposals

On the Rise: Condos and Townhomes

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

If you drive past any part of Bozeman, you’ll more than likely find some sort of new housing development under construction. What may be surprising for some though is how many of these new developments are actually condos and townhomes, as opposed to traditional single-family detached homes. With both mortgage rates and gas prices having risen recently, some buyers (especially younger, prospective buyers) may feel a bit uncertain about what they’re able to afford. Luckily, condos and townhouses may be more attainable than they think.

Nationally, new townhouses account for 12.3% of all single-family housing starts according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Over the past 5 years, the number of new construction condos and townhomes for sale in Bozeman has fluctuated quite a bit, with the most recent dip in activity having taken place in March of 2017. Since then, the number of condos and townhomes for sale has been on the rise. In Belgrade, there has also been some fluctuation during this same time period, with new condos and townhomes for sale having also been on the rise since March of 2017, though not nearly as rapidly as Bozeman.

 

Condos and Townhouses for Sale in Bozeman & Belgrade, Jan. 2013 - Present

            

This data was pulled from the Big Sky Country MLS for 2018. While we attempt to provide reliable, useful information, we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, current or suitable for any particular purpose. Estimates are subject to change without notice.

Similarly, the median sales price for condos and townhomes has also risen in recent years. As of April 2018, the median sales price for both condos and townhomes was $289,900, while in Belgrade this median sales price was $267,400. (Disclaimer: either of these numbers could be skewed toward the higher end of the spectrum by a higher-end listing on the market.) While this may still seem high to many, the median sales price of a single-family home in April 2018 was $396,250, while in Belgrade this median sales price was $310,000. (Again, either of these numbers could be skewed toward the higher end of the spectrum by a higher-end listing on the market.)  Based on these stats, choosing to purchase a condo or townhouse in Bozeman (as opposed to a single-family home) could save you up to $106,350, while choosing to purchase a condo or townhouse in Belgrade (as opposed to a single-family home) could save you up to $42,600.

Number of Condo/Townhouse Sales 2014 - Present

Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for NAHB, states that “future gains in the share as townhouses are a useful bridge from rentership to homeownership for younger prospective buyers in high cost markets…”. This is good news for millennials, as they represented 34% of all homebuyers across other generations in 2017. With condo and townhouse construction on the rise, we can continue to expect an increase in closed sales for these types of homes as we move further along into 2018, and even into 2019.

 

More Housing Coming to Both Bozeman and Belgrade

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman Development

The longtime trailer park on North Willson Avenue may soon be transformed into a series of duplexes. Santa Clarita-based company, William Homes LLC, has filed plans to replace the trailers with 16 three-story duplexes, each designed to include 3 bedrooms and an apartment above the garage for future owners to rent out if they choose— all contained within 1,800 square feet.

William Homes, LLC has a portfolio that encompasses many different types of projects, ranging from $159,000 to $1,000,000, which includes everything from townhomes to gated luxury communities.

Although the details about price range and the transition process haven’t yet been announced, construction could start as early as this summer if the city approves the project. 

 

 

Belgrade Development

Plans for a 595-lot subdivision were discussed on Monday with the Belgrade City Council. The future proposed location for this new development sits on 153-acres of the former Prescott Ranch on Belgrade’s west side.

Some board members expressed concerns over non-existent streets that are currently reflected in the plans. The board wants all streets to connect through the subdivision as they are concerned with traffic pileups and proper traffic distribution, both of which are current problems in Belgrade. Another point of concern amongst the board were park sizes— the current plan reflects 5 parks spread out across the subdivision, each averaging 3 acres in size. The board suggested reducing this to either one or two larger parks.

Additionally, developers want to change the zoning from R-2 to R-3 in order to boost density and allow for multi-family housing. All input gathered at Monday’s meeting will be taken into account before developers submit a formal proposal to the city.

Bozeman's Future- What Lies Ahead

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Earlier this year, we learned that Bozeman had hired the city’s first affordable housing director in an effort to generate solutions to help reduce the gap between the cost of housing and affordability. In a recent city report, 22% of homeowners were found to be spending more than 35% of their income on their mortgage payment, while 44% of the city’s renters are spending more than 35% of their income on a monthly rent payment.

With current affordability statistics this high, Bozeman’s median single-family home price having reached $398,000 last year, and the current population estimated to be above 47,000 (and growing), it’s more important than ever for this new director to begin mandating affordable housing across all types of homes.

Another New Position

Another top priority for the city, in addition to working on the creation of more affordable housing options, is the construction of a new public safety complex. Whether the city will go alone to build the new center or partner with Gallatin County is to be determined, but either way, the plan will come with a big bill that will need plenty of support before citizens vote on it.

When it comes to large city plans that have an impact on Bozeman’s future (such as affordable housing options or the new safety complex), there’s a bit of a disconnect with city hall’s goals reaching residents. In effort to better communicate the city’s plans to citizens, Bozeman will be hiring its first communications coordinator.

This new role will serve as City Hall’s voice in order to manage which information goes to the public, and how. Largely intended to be an outreach position, the person who fills the job will keep citizens informed via social media and traditional press releases and will likely step outside of the traditional 8-to-5 schedule. Although the search to fill the position is national, the job could be filled as early as April if the city finds the right applicant.

Looking Forward

When Bozeman reaches 50,000 people (and so far, it’s on track to do so very soon), a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) must be established, per the federal law. This organization will help with transportation planning and give citizens more control over what happens to the area. At this time, Bozeman will also receive federal money for future expansion projects. If the city and the county can work harmoniously together, some officials believe that an MPO would be beneficial as Bozeman continues to grow, while others are skeptical because of uncertainties with a limited pot of money and strained relationships between Bozeman and Gallatin County.

As the future unfolds and new city positions are created to help determine the direction in which Bozeman will develop, it will be interesting to see how some of the city’s current issues are solved in terms of both population growth and more affordable housing options.

More Affordable Housing Coming to Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman is growing exponentially— this is no surprise. What might be surprising though is how quickly it is predicted to grow by 2045. Between 2000 and 2016, Gallatin County added roughly 2,200 new residents each year. From 2017 to 2045, Gallatin County is expected to gain nearly 55,000 new residents, with 50% of these residents expected to live in the City of Bozeman.

It’s been a seller’s market in Bozeman for some time now, with both available inventory and housing affordability increasingly becoming more of an issue in our market. The greater Bozeman area has experienced an average 8.3% increase in median sales price over the last 5 years. Currently, the median home price in Bozeman is $398,000— meaning that a household needs to earn at least $68,400 per year, or $32/hour for one earner, in order for this home to be considered affordable at the 30% of income affordability standard. While the median household income in our area is $68,000 (indicating that home prices are in line with incomes), this statistic doesn’t account for the quality of the housing that is available at this price.

However, with the city’s prices on track to surpass wages, and so many people moving to the area over the next few decades, the need for more affordable housing options is critical. The latest affordable housing project is being led by HRDC, and will be constructed on a parcel of land that partially wraps around Baxter Square Park (just under 3 acres), a quarter mile northwest of the North 27th Ave and Baxter Lane intersection. The 24 townhomes will be available to families who earn between $30,000 and $40,000/year, and those who are interested must financially qualify and complete HRDC education and home buying courses.

The Location Dilemma

Years ago, previous developers created a human-made pond adjacent to the future location of the new affordable townhomes. Their project was stalled in 2008 after the recession and was never fully completed. Over the past decade Cattail Creek merged with the pond, creating an expanse of wetlands in the area, resulting in a difficult location to build on.

Originally, HRDC had plans for a few single homes— they’ve since asked city commissioners to approve constructing the new affordable units closer to the pond, in addition to reducing both the size of the lots and the amount of space between homes and the streets. HRDC also proposed the creation of dog stations, individual lot fencing, and enhanced building signs for each of the units. City commissioners approved the project on February 26th, as it falls in line with their preference for constructing more homes on less space as Bozeman continually adds several thousand new residents every year. 

Future Location for Affordable Townhomes (Approximate)

 

Next Steps

If Bozeman continues to grow as quickly as it is predicted to (an additional 27,500 residents by 2045), then projection estimates will demand 12,700 new housing units over the 2017 through 2045 time period. In order to construct all of these units, developers need between 1,800 and 3,100 acres— the current supply in city limits for residential development is 1,300 acres.

While some of these new 12,700 units will be single-family homes, others will be multi-family buildings, townhomes and duplexes. Some will be affordable housing opportunities, and others won’t be.  At any rate, Bozeman IS growing, and quickly. Whether growth means that we expand up, or expand out, expansion of some sort and the addition of more affordable housing options will be necessary over the next few decades as our city prepares for massive growth.

Another Mid-Rise Building Proposed for Downtown Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Last fall, construction on the controversial Black-Olive building was approved by Bozeman City Commissioners after more than a year of discussions, meetings, and revised design plans. Many Bozeman residents (and in particular, those who live downtown) were and still are concerned that the building will ruin Bozeman’s small-town charm, while others believe that the solution for our rapidly growing community is to “build up” instead of “build out”.

Andy Holloran, the same developer behind Black-Olive, has recently proposed plans for a five-story, 50-unit building on the corner of Lamme and Willson, across the street from the old Deaconess Hospital building. The new mid-rise (currently being called the One 11 Lofts) is expected to include 4 studios, 24 one-bedroom, 11 two-bedrooms, and 11 three-bedroom units. Based on its proposed location, the building is zoned in the city’s Central Business District— which means that the ground floor may or may not include commercial space for businesses.

Will Parking Be an Issue?

One of the major reasons why Black-Olive was originally denied was due to a lack of sufficient parking being included in the first round of design plans— only 37 on-site parking spaces for 56 apartments. Neighbors in the vicinity to Black-Olive were concerned about residents filling up already crowded street parking in front of their homes.

The One 11 building plans currently include 53 parking spaces for the 50 units, which is within the city’s requirements of a single space per unit. Most of these parking spaces will be located within an enclosed garage on the building’s first floor, with 6 spaces on the street outside. So far, the amount of parking provided in Holloran’s first draft of plans is significantly larger than that of Black-Olive.

Next Steps

Though construction on Black-Olive will begin in May, the One 11 plan is under review by the city. Planning documents describe the building as featuring corrugated metal, wood paneling, a flat roof and light-colored brickwork, ultimately giving it a “timeless and contextual quality”. Will this mid-rise threaten Bozeman’s small-town charm and obstruct mountain views? Or will it help maintain downtown’s sense of historic value while still offering a solution to limited housing in the area? For now, all we can do is wait to see how the city responds to the proposal.

 

Proposed Location for One 11 Building

A New Solution: Bozeman’s First Affordable Housing Director

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman’s Affordable Housing Action Plan pinpointed several major strategies to implement over a 5-year timespan (2012-2016). Its purpose was to work on providing more affordable housing units and down payment assistance for both renters and homeowners alike. While this plan outlined several goals that were partially met by the end of 2016, affordable housing in Bozeman is still a significant issue that needs continued attention and work in the future.

In 2010, 28% of homeowners and 49% of renters in Bozeman were living in unaffordable housing, when using the widely accepted benchmark amount of <33% of total income for homeowners and <30% of total income for renters. It’s important to note, however, that there is no universal home price or rent benchmark that defines “affordable”— this varies by income level and should be based on ability to pay.

 By 2015, at least 4,000 of the city’s 8,400 renters were paying rents at or above the 30% threshold, while a third of homeowners were paying at least that much, if not more.

Is Something Being Done to Help?

With these statistics not having improved much in recent years, the City of Bozeman has decided to hire its first affordable housing director. The person who will fill this new position (expected to begin by the end of January) will be responsible for generating solutions to help reduce the gap between the cost of housing and how much many Bozeman residents can afford to pay.

Six months ago, Bozeman planning adopted a new rule that mandated that builders and developers would have to either sell 3 in 10 homes in new developments at $260,000 or less, OR 1 in 10 homes at $215,000 or less, subject to change based number of bedrooms per unit. The city has been trying to keep up with this rule, which is where the need for an affordable housing director stems from.

Additionally, the new director will help to track housing projects from the time a building permit is issued to the time that someone closes on their home, in order to ensure that this 6-month-old rule is followed from start to end.

As 2018 unfolds, it will be interesting to see how this new position begins to change the affordable housing market and what impacts it will have on many of Bozeman’s renters and homeowners who are currently above the income threshold for housing. 

New Short-Term Rental Rules Adopted in Bozeman City Limits

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman City Commissioners adopted an ordinance on September 11th that includes new rules and regulations for the estimated 500-550 short-term rentals in Bozeman through platforms including Airbnb, VRBO and Homeaway. A short-term rental (STR) is defined as the rental of rooms or dwellings to paying guests anywhere from 1 to 29 days.

What’s the Gist?

This ordinance was adopted with a 3-2 vote by city commissioners—commissioners also passed the new fees that homeowners will pay in order to continue using their property as an STR. There is now an annual $250 registration fee, in addition to a one-time fire inspection fee of $225. In addition, some homeowners may find themselves paying an administrative conditional use permit of $1,508. Commissioner Chris Mehl states that there may be adjustments to these fees in the future, as the city commissioners will have the chance to look at and assess the fees every year.

What Else?

The new fees will be used to balance the program’s cost— they will cover resources needed to process applications, respond to complaints, monitor regulations and inspect rentals. Many older homes that are being used as short-term rentals do not have the same fire-safety features that newer homes have.

While some are concerned that the new mandatory fees will have a negative impact on homeowners who use their properties as short-term rentals in order to generate additional income, Mayor Carson Taylor supports the fee increases because they are important to overall public safety.

Additionally, the new ordinance will forbid STRs that aren’t owner-occupied at any time within Bozeman’s residential districts. In this case, owner-occupied indicates that the owner occupies the dwelling for more than 50% of the calendar year. People who have been operating in these areas prior to January 1st will have the option to be grandfathered in.

When Does This All Start?

These rules will go into effect starting December 1st, and once the ordinance is passed (30 days from September 11th), homeowners will be given a 60-day grace period to meet compliance.

What makes Bozeman both unique and a desirable place to live all comes down to quality—quality of the community, quality of housing and ultimately the quality of the people who live and work here. The intended purpose of this ordinance, while seen as frustrating and expensive to some homeowners, may help contribute to the quality of life that is so valued here in Bozeman, and continue to make living and visiting here so enjoyable.

Mid-Rise Buildings to Doom Bozeman's Small-Town Charm?

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

 

There has been rising controversy in downtown Bozeman over development plans for mid-rise buildings in the heart of the city. City commissioners will soon make the decision whether to approve developer Andy Holloran’s proposal for his Black-Olive project, which will transform the south-east corner of Black and Olive Avenue into a three-story building with 56 apartments. 

Black-Olive Project(3-story building on black-olive avenue as of December 28, 2016 that the new apartment building is planned to replace.)

With the Element Hotel now built, the 5-West building already standing, and the Clark Hotel’s expansion underway, downtown residents are concerned that the Black Olive proposal is the breaking point that ushers “the final doom of Bozeman’s small-town charm.” Most members of the “Save Bozeman” effort are not entirely against development, but what they want is “balanced growth that benefits everybody, and not just developers.”


 

5 West Downtown Development

(5 West Project on Mendenhall Street under construction as of December 28, 2016.)

Several concerned residents have responded with the “Save Bozeman” effort. They made a Facebook page to coordinate their efforts and inform other residents about issues facing the community, and you might have noticed their yellow yard signs popping up around downtown neighborhoods. Stewart Mitchell, one of several coordinators behind the “Save Bozeman” effort, says their goal is to draw more members of the community into the city’s planning process.

What About The Housing Shortage?


To counter the opposition, there are some benefits of denser developments that may make the case for the Black Olive project. People want our Bozeman lifestyle, which can be credited for much of the county’s explosive growth in recent years. Unfortunately, with rising demand, comes rising prices. Housing inventory is being stripped away, and prices are climbing at such a rate that it may finally slow our city’s growth.

Having these apartment buildings spring up downtown may help to address our current housing shortage issue. More apartments will loosen up the market for renters, and keep prices within a reasonable reach. Even luxury, higher-end apartments may improve housing affordability. When luxury options are limited, wealthier renters may have to settle for mid-market options, and outbid lower-income residents who can’t compete. By meeting the demand for high-end housing, affordable housing would be left alone and made available for families who truly need them.

Another proposition to be made is that denser development may help preserve Montana’s countryside. Even if we build a financial wall around Bozeman, development would likely spread to outlying areas, encroaching further into the untouched territory that we value about Montana. “Building” up may be the alternative to “building out” with residential neighborhoods, like we’re seeing in the development of Bozeman’s west side.

State Your Opinion


There are many arguments to made on either side of this issue. Mid-rise developments will transform the city’s core, and may alter the course of the city going forward. The community deserves a fair debate over this matter. For those that are concerned and want to be more involved with the community, be sure to attend the city’s Community Forums held at the City Hall to state your opinions.


Related Article:

Development Projects In Downtown Bozeman


Source:

Saving Bozeman: There’s a generational divide on development in the heart of the city

Bozeman Bans Vacation Rentals

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

 

There has been some controversy among Bozeman’s downtown residents this year over the matter of allowing vacation rentals in Bozeman’s historic neighborhoods. Residents are concerned with losing our “community character,” noise disturbances, and increased traffic from the number of vacation rentals being established in their neighborhood.

On August 8th, city commissioners voted to temporarily ban new permits for short-term rentals in most neighborhoods south of downtown. The city is now working on long-term regulations, taking considerations from public listening sessions, scheduled on the evenings of this coming January, and an online survey.

A number of public meetings have been set up for early 2017 to allow the citizens a voice.

According to Eric Dietrich, a Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer, a number of listings for short-term rentals on websites like Airbnb and HomeAway have already been avoiding regulations and operating without permits in Bozeman. This is a problem that commissioners will have to address in their upcoming long-term regulations. 

This ban of short-term rental permits was originally set to last six months, expiring February 8th, with intentions to observe its effects and allow time to develop other solutions. However, Chuck Winn, the Assistant City Manager, requests to extend the period to study “best practices” from other cities’ experiences, and consider the public’s input. 

Sources:

Bozeman gearing up outreach efforts on possible vacation rental regulation—by Eric Dietrich

http://www.bozeman.net/STR

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