Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 325

The Annie and Oak Street Issues: Bozeman’s Second High School Faces New Challenges

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

While the overall design for Bozeman’s 2nd high school has been approved, the actual design drawings will be completed sometime this month, at which time the School Board will take its final vote on the design. Previously, we had learned that the design was modern and sleek, with elements of brickwork, black metal cladding and an all-glass entryway incorporated into the plans. Only small modifications to this design have been made by Building Committee members, which include using traditional red brickwork rather than the originally proposed grey, and using white instead of purple for the triangle outside the main entry.

The Annie Street Issue

City staff members are in favor of the school district building Annie Street east-west, which would cut through the middle of the property where the high school will be constructed. This expense is estimated at $800,000, and would require students to cross a city street in order to reach the playing fields. While the school conducted a traffic study and found that Annie isn’t a heavily used street, the city feels as though building this street is needed for the transportation system.

The Oak Street Issue

While the school had discussed using a portion of the budget to build a soccer field and parking lot on the north side of Oak (across the street from the new school), designers have other plans— building a pedestrian tunnel under Oak Street AND constructing an overpass over the tunnel.

The land north of Oak is city-owned, which means that the plans for a field and parking lot would be a collaborative project with the city’s plans to develop a sports complex. Creating both a tunnel and overpass, while great for ensuring pedestrian safety, present the challenge of meeting the budget.

The goal budget is between $76 million and $78 million, the current design is around $87 million, and once site work, streets and the possible tunnel are factored in, the entire project will cost $93 million.

Future Location of Second High School/Sports Complex

Only Time Will Tell

The Annie Street issue will be discussed as soon as next week, although we aren’t sure when we’ll find out whether the tunnel and overpass project will move forward. Revisiting the budget and cutting costs will likely need to happen before any major decisions are made. Sometime after the new year, however, we can expect to find out more about the new school’s colors, logo and mascot.


Related Articles:

Design Plans for Bozeman's 2nd High School in the Works

Belgrade Expands and Prepares for Future Growth

Long-Debated Black-Olive Project Gets Approved by City Commissioners

New Local Businesses Contribute to Bozeman’s Rapid Growth

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman continues to grow, and we aren’t just talking about its population and endless road expansions all over town— new local businesses have been popping up all over town; Evergreen Clothing, Ekam Yoga, Stuffed Crepes and Waffles and Backcountry Burger Bar are just a few of the new businesses that have opened this year. But 2017 isn’t over yet— a new candy shop, new brewery and new diner are either slated to open their doors by year’s end, or have recently done so.

For Those With a Sweet Tooth…

Owner Kimberlee Greenough started Hush Salon in 2011 and has worked as a personal trainer for years, and is now pursuing a lifelong dream of owning her own candy shop. Set to open at the end of October, The Candy Jar will feature more than 500 types of chocolates, gummy candies and other classic candies, as well as a soda fountain and ice cream bar with Wilcoxsin’s and Montana-made syrups. The Candy Jar will be located near Wasabi on West Oak, and an open house on Halloween is currently in the works.

For Those Who Like Locally Crafted Beers…

If candy isn’t your thing, and craft beers are, you’re in luck. Mountains Walking Brewery and Pub opened in late September. Owner Gustav Dose grew up in both Taiwan and Japan, and has studied brewing around the world. His goal with this brewery was to make beers that can’t be made anywhere but Bozeman, taking into account factors such as our climate, altitude and native yeasts. The tap list changes daily, and will still feature familiar favorites in addition to rare finds. Mountains Walking is located on Plum Street on the east end of town.

For Those Who Appreciate Locally Grown Foods…

Opened in September by husband and wife duo Charley Graham and Lauren Reich, Little Star Diner has a menu that changes frequently, as most of the restaurant’s produce is grown by Reich. Depending on the time of year, and with Montana’s short growing season, you may find yourself faced with new menu options based on what’s available at that time. Reich has been growing produce for restaurants since 2009 and Graham was most recently a chef at Blackbird Kitchen. The couple is confident that by combining their culinary experience with the farm-to-table concept, Little Star Diner will soon become a local favorite in town. 

 

New Local Businesses in Bozeman​

Big Sky Town Center: Expansion & Affordable Housing Update

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

In July, Big Sky developers and CrossHarbor Capital Partners (the investment firm involved in Big Sky’s development) announced the opening of a handful of new businesses, as well as the groundbreaking of the first chain hotel in the area. The Wilson Hotel, a Marriott Residence Inn, is being constructed to the east of the newly built Town Center and will feature 129 rooms, a full-service restaurant and a fitness center/pool area.

Fast forward a few months to today— Lone Mountain Land Company (LMLC) has announced construction on another new building in the Town Center—the Plaza Lofts development. It will house five new businesses, including a sushi restaurant, wine bar and a boutique shop, as well as 22 apartments with one-bedroom, two-bedroom and 4-bedroom floorplans. The completion date for this project is set at the start of the 2018 ski season, around the same time as the above-mentioned hotel.

Artist's Rendition of the Plaza Lofts development

Source: Bechtle Architects & Jim Collins

Is Affordable Housing Still an Issue?

Currently, the affordable units that are being planned for future construction are capped at $215,000 for a two-bedroom and $270,000 for a three-bedroom. Future owners will also be required to meet certain criteria, including a cap on income and proof that the unit will be their primary place of residence.

A Speedbump in the Road

In June, the group leading the effort to develop more affordable housing in the area (Big Sky Community Housing Trust) withdrew its application for $1 million in resort tax appropriations. Earlier this year in March, the Gallatin County Commission rejected the group’s plat proposal because certain variances made the project unsafe. Other affordable housing proposals that included raising the resort tax (currently at 3%) were also turned down at the Montana Legislature.

The group will be returning to the County Commission sometime this month for a revised plat hearing, and director Brian Guyer stresses to the Big Sky community that affordable housing is still a top priority, and the application withdrawal is just a speedbump in the road.

Despite overall frustrations and concerns regarding the affordable housing issue, directors and developers alike are excited about the continual growth in Big Sky. With more visitors coming to the area with every passing year, the need to continually build and expand the community to accommodate both newcomers and current residents is at the forefront of city leaders’ minds. 

Design Plans for Bozeman’s 2nd High School in the Works

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

We already know that Bozeman is quickly growing, and it comes as no surprise to anyone in the area that the high school is becoming overcrowded— just last year nearly 2,000 students were enrolled. With a capacity of 2,400 and a predicted enrollment of 2,700 by 2023, it only makes sense that plans for a 2nd high school are currently underway.

Back in February of 2016, several different scenarios for how to solve this problem were presented, a few of which included ideas for staying on Main Street by expanding the current building. However, it has been decided that the best course of action is to construct a 2nd high school, currently planned to be built on a 57-acre plot bordered by Durston & Cottonwood roads, Flanders Mill and West Oak Street.

What Else?

The latest cost estimate for this project is around $83 million, though it is expected to shrink since it is still in the design phase. The entire budget for the school is targeted at $94 million, with more than $10 million going toward equipment, fixtures and furniture. Some of these costs will also be used to renovate the existing high school to keep up with its rapid growth. CTA Architects Engineers, the firm working on developing the new school, will present its final design plan to the Bozeman School Board this December.

The design that was shown last week is modern and sleek, with some brickwork on the three-story classroom building to channel historic Main Street. Extensive black metal cladding, a wedge-shaped roof, all-glass entry and a two-story, stair-like tiered seating structure are all also currently included in the design plans, though these features are subject to change.

Current Design For 2nd High School

Source: CTA Architects Engineers

It’s Green, Too?

The school will also be constructed to environmental standards specifically tailored to schools instead of LEED building standards, which is the most widely used green building system in the world. Though using CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools standard) will run about $10,000 less than LEED, the school chose these standards because it has many of the same features and is more geared toward K-12 schools.

The design report  that was approved by the school board earlier this month contains a CHPS checklist (pages 25 and 118), which demonstrates how the new school will aim to earn 125 environmental points. Many of these points will be earned for its energy efficiency, acoustics, water use regulation and heating system, in addition to sharing the building with other community groups after school.

Pros and Cons

Though we aren’t sure yet when construction will begin, the new school would create more opportunities for students to join sports teams and enroll in special classes like AP and foreign languages.  On the other hand, additional costs for building upkeep, hiring staff and another principal, and funding for double the number of sports teams is generating concerns from both parents and the School Board. Though there are still many details to be worked out over the coming years, one thing is for certain— Bozeman is still rapidly growing, and addressing the soon-to-be overcrowded high school now rather than down the road seems to be the best course of action.


Related Articles: 

Belgrade Expands and Prepares For Future Growth

Bozeman Continues to Grow With New Proposed Airport Expansion

Bozeman Ranks Second as the Fastest Growing Small Town in America

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.

Bozeman Continues To Grow With New Proposed Airport Expansion

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

It comes as no surprise to most of us that Bozeman is quickly growing, in terms of both population and city development. In the past seven years alone, we’ve grown from 37,000 residents to more than 45,000. Last year was a record year for the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, which is located in Belgrade and is the busiest airport in the state— there was an 8.4% increase in the number of travelers in and out of Bozeman, and 29% of all air travelers in and out of Montana fly through the Bozeman airport.

To better accommodate those flying in and out of Bozeman, plans to develop more than 50 acres of land south of the airport have been submitted. These plans include a mixed-use complex that will hold hotels, retail stores and restaurants. A Connecticut-based developer, Charter Realty & Development, is currently in negotiations to purchase the property from its current owner Knife River, a construction materials company headquartered in Bismarck, ND. 


With both the number of new listings and pending sales increasing in Belgrade, this development may also be beneficial to Belgrade residents and those looking to relocate to the area.

While the median sales price for Belgrade sat at $279,900 last month, this is still lower than that of Bozeman, with its median sales price hovering around $369K. Dan Zelson, a principal with Charter Realty, states that with growth coming out of Bozeman and into Belgrade, long-term plans may include residential buildings. While this isn’t part of the current proposal, this development could take place as soon as next year, with its first tenants moving in by 2019.

The plan will be presented to the Belgrade City Council on September 18th. Whether or not lower median sales prices are encouraging some Bozeman residents to relocate to Belgrade, the area is indeed expanding and will likely continue to do so with such a busy airport nearby that continues to set new passenger records every year, as well as with the high population growth rates we’ve been experiencing in recent years. 


Related Articles: 

Black-Olive Proposal Denied by Bozeman City Commissioners

Bozeman's 4th Mid-Rise Building Proposed to Replace and Old Grain Mill

Bozeman Ranks Second as the Fastest Growing Small Town in America

Workforce Shortage in Montana Has Small Businesses Thinking Outside the Box

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Montana’s unemployment rate was an impressive 3.8% in April of this year, lower than that of the national rate of 4.3%.  However, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is now facing the issue of a workforce shortage. The DLI anticipates that this shortage will put Montana’s unemployment rate below 2% by 2025.

So Why Is There a Workforce Shortage?

For starters, Montana’s number of retirees (those aged 65 and older) is projected to grow by 7,000 people each year, while the working age population (those aged 16 to 64) is only expected to grow by 475 each year. Simply put, Montana does not have enough people in the working age group to fix this shortage.

On top of this, another reason for the workforce shortage is due to low wages. In the past, employers generally had an adequate pool of candidates looking for work, and were therefore able to pay employees less. Now however, with a lack of applicants, employers are beginning to reconsider what they’ve paid employees in the past, and whether it’s still enough.

While some state legislators have proposed raising the current minimum wage from $8.05 to $10.10, lobbyists have continued to shut the idea down due to concerns that the increase would be too cumbersome for small businesses.

It’s Not Just About the Paycheck

Despite the working age group being so small and some employers having a difficult time filling open positions due to low wages, it isn’t all about the income for some. In fact, many new employees, and specifically millennials, want meaningful jobs where they know that their work will have an impact.

Typically, millennials measure job satisfaction based on flexible work schedules, a collaborative office culture, relaxed dress codes and validity from their employer. Because millennials are more likely to switch careers than other generations (due to feeling a lack of job satisfaction), employers are finding it more difficult both to attract and retain these employees.

What’s Next?

Many Montana government job descriptions are now being tailored to include responsibilities and the influence in the workplace that an employee would have. To reduce turnover and hold onto employees, some employers are beginning to offer flexible schedules, thus drawing in a larger pool of both interested and qualified applicants.

As many smaller companies begin to struggle with the workforce shortage, employers are encouraged to market themselves and their open job positions to appeal to the younger generation. Many businesses may have to reconsider how their positions are structured, and what they can do to entice and keep millennials who enjoy working in collaborative, honest, and fun environments.


Related Articles:

Bozeman Ranks Second as the Fastest Growing Small Town in America

Montana May Soon Be The New Silicon Valley

Gallatin County Leads Montana's Economy

Black-Olive Proposal Denied by Bozeman City Commissioners

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The long, drawn out debate over the Black-Olive proposal has finally ended. On April 11th, about 7 months after it was proposed in Sep. 2016, city commissioners decided to nix the proposal after concerns were raised about insufficient parking and blocked views of the surrounding countryside.

Bozeman residents seem to agree with this decision too. A recent poll conducted by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle showed that 65.2 percent of its readers approved of the city’s choice to deny the project.


black-olive proposal public poll

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: “Did Bozeman city leaders make the right choice to deny Black-Olive”

The project’s design was to feature 56 apartments in five stories and a commercial business space on the ground-floor, along with 37 on-site parking spaces.

With the proposed project site located so close to Bozeman’s cherished historic neighborhood south of Main Street, neighboring residents were concerned that the building would ruin “Bozeman’s small-town charm.”  

The major reason why commissioners voted 4-1 to deny the proposal was due to lack of sufficient parking, as all housing projects within Bozeman’s zoning districts require at least one parking space per bedroom. Neighbors in the vicinity to the Black-Olive project site raised concerns about residents filling up already crowded street parking in front of their homes.

So What Now?

The project’s developer, Andy Holloran, wants to regroup, modify the design, and resubmit the proposal for later review. If the parking issue and building aesthetics can be reworked and are in line with the development guidelines for downtown’s zoning district, the Black-Olive project may be revisited and reconsidered in the near future.

The Black-Olive project may have been scrutinized, but that’s not to say that mid-rise buildings are out of the picture for Bozeman. There are still three mid-rise projects that have either been approved, already built, or are currently under construction, including the SOBO Lofts, Element Hotel, and the 5 West Building.

All Current Mid-Rise Development Projects/Proposals

 

Perhaps this was the right project but for the wrong location, given that we may be seeing a reconfigured proposal again soon!

Follow us on Facebook, or sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive exclusive information about the housing market, real estate tips and advice, and local news and development in the Bozeman, Montana area.


Related Articles:

Bozeman's 4th Mid-Rise Building Proposed To Replace An Old Grain Mill

 

What Is Parking Worth In Downtown Bozeman?

 

Another Mid-Rise Building Approved For Bozeman

Bozeman’s 4th Mid-Rise Building Proposed to Replace an Old Grain Mill

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman’s 4th mid-rise building is currently being scoped out for a site on the east side of downtown. This BG Mill building will have a little more character than the rest though, turning an old grain mill that has been vacant for decades into a 5-story, multi-use building with a mixed modern/rustic style architecture.

The proposed plan for the BG Mill project includes a parking garage and a small commercial space on the ground floor, 18,000 square feet of office space on the middle levels, and 10 condos on the top two levels. The project developers, Michael Ochsner and Chris Lohss, plan to integrate three silos from the grain mill into landscaping features and hopefully keep the “BG Mill” logo for the new building.

Although there has been a long, drawn-out debate over mid-rise buildings changing the character of Bozeman’s small-town charm, Ochsner and Lohss point out that the site, located on the southeast corner of Mendenhall Street and Broadway Avenue, is already surrounded by other existing commercial properties.

While residents are concerned that the Black-Olive project, another mid-rise building proposed for Bozeman, would cast a shadow over Bozeman’s southern historic downtown neighborhoods, the BG Mill project may not cause nearly the same issue.

Positioned between the south end of a neighborhood and the north end of downtown Main Street, the site seems to be better suited for its location where it wouldn’t obstruct views of the Bridger Mountains to the North—a major point in the argument against mid-rise buildings in Bozeman.

The project developers said they haven’t filed an application for the project yet, but plan to do so by next week. Once approved, construction of the BG Mill project is hoped to break ground this summer.

A public meeting will be held at the Bozeman Public Library on April 13 at 7 p.m. to discuss the project and gather feedback from the public.

All Current Proposed Mid-Rise Development Projects for Bozeman.

Follow us on Facebook, or sign up for our monthly newsletter for exclusive access to our latest market stats, expert tips and advice, and local news and development in the Bozeman, Montana area.


Related Articles:

Bozeman Ranks Second As The Fastest Growing Small Town In America

 

Bozeman Becomes Hot Spot For High-Tech Companies

 

Bozeman Invests Millions in More Parks and Trails

Bozeman Montana Becomes Hot Spot for High Tech Companies

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The high-tech industry is thriving in Montana, growing at a rate seven times faster than other sectors.

Montana’s high-tech companies are expecting to add roughly 1,000 new jobs this year, paying an average salary of $60,000—more than double the median annual income in Montana.   

The Montana High Tech Business Alliance counted a total of 546 tech companies in Montana as of December 20, 2016. Yet the organization says there are even more companies unaccounted for, as smaller companies may be hiding in remote business parks and second-floor offices without signage.

Much of the attention seems to be focused around the Universities. With Montana State University pumping out more qualified talent each year, as FICO Chief Executive Officer Will Lansing says, “the talent pool in this part of Montana has attracted dozens of leading technology firms.”

High Density of High Growth, High-Tech Companies

He wasn’t kidding either. Here’s a list of some of the most successful high-growth technology companies in Bozeman, Montana.

Ascent Vision, an aerospace technology company based in Bozeman, grew from two people to a team of 50 and made millions within just the first year of operation in 2013. Last year, the company began construction of a new 30,000 sq. ft. facility by Belgrade. It will be interesting to see how this company will grow with the rising demand for sensors in UAVs, counter UAS systems, self-driving cars, and ground based military applications.

Elixiter, a marketing services firm, averaged an astounding 100 percent growth rate year over year, landing on the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest growing companies in 2016. Having such rapid and unanticipated expansion, the company relocated four times in four years, finally settling on the northeast side of Bozeman.

FICO, a data analytics company for credit rating services, plans to add a new location in downtown Bozeman, and hire 50 new employees within the next 18 months. The company employs roughly 3,000 around the world, and is a recognized leader in analytic technology. FICO was ranked #31 among the Top Technology Providers in financial services ​by American Banker and BAI, and was also named to the Analytics 50 by Drexel University and CIO.com.

Foundant Technologies, is a “software-as-a-service” company in Bozeman that develops grant and scholarship management software, was also on the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest growing companies in 2016, but for the third consecutive year in a row.   

PrintingForLess.com (PFL), while technically located in Livingston, Montana, is close enough to give credit to the Bozeman area. PFL landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies for three consecutive years, and appeared on CNBC, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times for having innovative HR policies. Having established the first website for commercial printing, PFL has made significant progress since it was founded in 1996. It evolved from a traditional print shop into a sophisticated marketing technology company. It’s expecting significant growth in 2017 with its new software, named “Tactile Marketing Automation.”

Quiq, a firm that develops text messaging software for customer service, scored a $6.5 million investment last year—a great start after just being established in October 2015. Company CEO Mike Myer, a former employee of RightNow Technologies before it sold to Oracle for $1.8 billion, says it was an easy decision to choose to start this business in Bozeman. He says “Montana is a great place to recruit up-and-coming people, and not just recruiting, but retention and loyalty.”

Wisetail, a learning management software (LMS) company in Bozeman, is an inspiring entrepreneurial example. Amidst the most recent housing crisis, company founder, Justin Bigart, started the company with the ambition to repay his debts, refusing to consider bankruptcy as an option. His hard work and determination certainly paid off. Wisetail ranked #32 in Outside Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work in 2016, named one of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in America by Inc., and one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 Best Small Businesses in America.  


Related Articles:

Bozeman Invests Millions in More Parks and Trails

 

Bozeman Ramps Up Development This Spring

 

A Skeptic Outlook for $125 Million Proposal for Two Bozeman High Schools

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 325

Syndication

Categories

Archives