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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

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

5 Areas to Focus On: How to Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

It’s the hottest time of year, and with that comes the hottest selling season. When aiming to sell, keep in mind that the littlest changes can often have the largest impact when trying to increase the resale value of your home. Here are a few ideas to get you started on preparing your home to sell this summer, while also getting a great price for it:

  1. Declutter

It is important to keep in mind that some of the changes you will be making may not suit your personal preferences and tastes— that’s okay! Packing away family photos and sports memorabilia will be less distracting during showings. Keep in mind that many buyers cannot visualize a space, and if you have too much “stuff”, this can overwhelm them and leave them with a negative impression of your home.

  1. Spruce up the bathrooms

42% of real estate professionals surveyed by Consumer Reports agree that bathrooms are one of the most important rooms in a home to have in good condition. You can invest as much or as little as you want into renovations and updates, but simple projects such as re-grouting the tile or replacing an old toilet could give you a potential increase in asking price of up to 3%.

  1. Update the kitchen

Millennials currently make up 34% of all homebuyers, and a “modern/updated kitchen” is one of their top criteria when considering which home to purchase. New or repainted cabinets, stainless steel appliances and a fresh coat of paint can completely transform your kitchen and potentially add between 3 and 7% to the asking price.

  1. Give the walls some TLC

Walls should be a backdrop rather than a focal point when trying to sell. Certain colors work better in some rooms than others and may have an impact on selling price. Homes with warm neutrals such as wheat yellow in the kitchen sell for $1,360 more on average. Comparatively, neutrals such as grey-beige win in the living room, adding an average of $1,104 to the selling price.

  1. Remember the curb appeal

The exterior of your home can easily be neglected when renovating the inside, but some potential buyers won’t even make it through the front door if they aren’t impressed with the outside. Basic landscaping, installing outdoor lighting and planting a few flowers can make a world of difference, and may bump up the asking price by up to 5%.  New roofs are also a huge bonus, as it shows buyers that the home has been cared for, and 31% of real estate professionals agree that the roof is an important part of the home to have in good condition.

In order to attract buyers and leave them with a positive and memorable impression, it’s important to spend a little time spicing up your home without going overboard. Researching which projects will suit your home best before spending money on unnecessary renovations will help to ensure that you’re only putting in what you’ll get out when offers start rolling in. 


Related Articles:

Looking to Sell? 5 Projects to Improve Your Curb Appeal

Top Home Improvement Projects That Sell

Expert Tips for Spring Cleaning: Improve Energy Efficiency and Air Quality of Your Home

10 Best Trails Around Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions


Nestled in the middle of Montana’s great mountain ranges, Bozeman offers adventure seekers almost limitless trails to explore. Here’s 10 of our favorite trails around Bozeman, Montana.

Sourdough

Located within close proximity to town, Sourdough Trail, also known as Bozeman Creek Trial, is popular among Bozemanites. Following the Bozeman Creek, it has an easy grade, and the distance you hike, bike, or cross-country-ski on this 10 mile trail is up to you. The trail ends at Mystic Lake, with interconnected logging trails and roads to continue your adventure.

Lava Lake Trail

Following the Cascade Creek under a thick evergreen forest canopy and through open green meadows, this trail will take you past waterfalls and a lake settled in the middle of granite walls, with clear views of the Spanish Peaks in the distance.

Drinking Horse Trail

This is a short, yet steep, 2.2 mile looped trail gives you a great vantage point for views over Bozeman, Bridger Canyon, and the Gallatin Valley. This is a relatively easy trail to take the family. 

Palisade Falls

This paved, one mile trail is easy for taking the kids on a stroll through beautiful scenery with towering rock walls and a tall waterfalls at the finish line. 

“M” Trail

Taking you up to the signature “M” embedded on the mountain North of Bozeman, this trail is popular among the locals. There are two ways to the top—one with a short steep climb and the other with an easier, moderate climb. This trail offers gorgeous views over Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley.

Baldy Peak Summit

Going above the "M" trail, this hike takes you through forested areas to an exposed ridge with panoramic views high above the surrounding areas. With 4,000 feet of elevation gain over 7 miles, this is a difficult trail for the ambitious hikers.

Sypes Canyon

This trail takes you 6.2 miles up 1,656 feet on the North side of Bozeman. It follows a river through the canyon and opens up to another beautiful view of Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley.

Hyalite Creek Trail

In route to Hyalite Lake, this 5.5 mile moderate grade trail takes you past beautiful waterfalls, high mountain walls, fast flowing creeks, meadows, and wildflowers before rewarding you with the crystal clear lake at the finish line.

Pine Creek Lake Trail

Meandering 5.5 miles through forest trees up 3,400 vertical feet to Pine Creek Lake, this trail in the Absaroka mountain range offers stunning views of the valley below, colorful trees, a series of waterfalls and streams, and a beautiful clear lake at the top.

Storm Castle Peak

This beautiful hike is located south of Bozeman in the Gallatin Range. This trail is a great one for a calf workout, taking you 2.5 miles up to 7,170 feet elevation. Surrounded by interesting geology with swirling patterns of dark and light rock along cliffs, the spectacular views are worth the punishment.

 

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Hart Real Estate Solutions—Your Trusted Guides

Bozeman's Best Restaurants

by Hart Real Estate Solutions
 

One of many benefits of living in Bozeman, Montana is our wide selection of great restaurants. It may seem hard to imagine for a little town of roughly 43,405 people, but there are about 123 restaurants in Bozeman, 44 of which are downtown. It sure is a great feeling to be able to eat at a different restaurant for each date-night without even having to leave town. With so many places to choose from, lets highlight some of the best restaurants for you start with.

Wasabi

Wasabi-sushi-bar is certainly the first restaurant you should try if you’re new to town. At this Hibachi grill, chefs put on a talent show as they cook your food in front of you. Who knows where these chefs come from, but they are the most talented group of individuals I have ever seen. What they can do with a knives, spatulas, and fire is amazing. My personal favorite thing about Wasabi is how its chefs will occasionally squirt a fountain of saki into your mouth while your waiting for your food, really keeping the party going.

14 North

This gastropub combines the best of both worlds of fine-dining and bars. A bar sits in the core of the restaurant, with formal dining space around it, and an overflow and meeting space upstairs. 14 North takes great pride in its menu, spending anywhere from hours to days to prepare and season its steaks, lamb shanks, and filet’s sauce. As Zeglan says, “It takes time to build the flavors we’re trying to create.” With delicious food and a festive atmosphere, you wouldn’t regret having dinner at 14 North.

The Roost

This fried chicken joint really makes you feel at home if you’re from the south. It offers prime buttermilk chicken and biscuits made from scratch, and fired okra and mac and cheese “like mom used to make.” If you’re health conscious, you should feel comfortable knowing that The Roost only uses whole foods. Mike Buck, the co-owner, says he takes pride in the family aspect of his business, the freshness of his ingredients, and the story behind it. The Roost uses natural hormone-free chicken raised on a family farm, and it goes as far as paying extra shipping costs for stone ground grits from a water-powered mill in Tennessee.

Open Range

This is a restaurant for impressing your date. Open Range is a formal, fine dining restaurant with great food and service. While Open Range is known for steak, its duck is also fantastic, and certainly recommended. Along with our personal experience, reviewers really loved how the duck was “perfectly cooked and full of flavor.” Open Range also offers a great selection of wine, beer, and cocktails.  

Red Chair

This is our personal favorite, but not just because it’s across the street from our office, although that is a plus. Red Chair is a neighborhood café & bar located on the quiet, west side of Bozeman. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week. No matter what meal of the day you’re looking for, Red Chair has a menu for it. Its bar also makes killer mimosas and bloody marys to go with your weekend breakfast. What’s special about this place is its view of the Bridgers from the second floor. With windows wrapped around the dining area and a balcony to eat on outside, you can see across across Bozeman’s rooftops with unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains while you’re eating.

Snow in the Big Sky Mountains!

by Hart Real Estate Solutions


Even though we still have had our share of dreamy September days with blue bird skies and perfect 55 – 60 degree nights, the mountains are starting to get a nice coating of ‘ceiling white’.   We are seeing snow in the Spanish Peaks to the South and of course, Lone Mountain – the main ski mountain at the Big Sky & Moonlight Basin Resorts along with the saddle in the Bridgers.


The juxtaposition of 70 degree temperatures in the Valley with snow on the mountains is what makes Bozeman, well... Bozeman. 


We thought you might also enjoy the Big Sky Resort Tram Cam in Big Sky from the top of Lone Mountain– see this link:

                  https://bigskyresort.com/the-mountain/webcams/interactive-tram-cam
 
If you are thinking about a great ski trip this winter, be sure to check out our local, but world class resorts:

Bozeman Market Report - Home Sales Are On The Rise

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Statistically, there have been more sales single family homes in Bozeman in 2016 as compared to 2015. This would include every price range up to $700,000.   Also to note, the list price to sales price ratio is higher across the board, exceeding 98% in all price ranges under $700,000.

In price ranges above $700,000, 2015 had 65 sales verses 49 sales this year.

New construction sales are also slightly stronger in 2016 than the same period last year, with 110 sales of new homes so far this year.

We continue to see new inventory hit the market and go under contract quickly.  If you are thinking about selling, now may be the time to see what your home is worth and plan for winter house projects.

Bozeman is Booming

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

It seems it wasn’t that long ago when distressed properties (bank owned and short sales) made up a significant percentage of the market and there was ‘value’ everywhere.   I put value in quotes as no one really knew how to evaluate value other than to define it as properties that were significantly off their peak value.  I had one particularly wise investor that was purchasing very simple, straightforward investments (condos and townhomes priced under $80,000.00) with the goal of a 10 – 12% return on a cash investment.   He already owned many multi-families but he saw value and also ease of resale in purchasing individual units – he has doubled his investment in most cases.

So much has changed since then.   Without sounding like a glorified cheerleader, here are some quick stats & interesting facts about Bozeman and the surrounding areas, including Big Sky, Gallatin Gateway, Manhattan, Belgrade, and Livingston.

  • Our local university, Montana State University….
    • Had yet another year of record enrollment.  This year enrollment climbed above 16,000 students.  This is the tenth time in the last eleven years that MSU has set an enrollment record.  This makes MSU Montana’s largest university. 
    • Montana State is among the top 3% of colleges and universities in the nation for research expenditures and typically exceeds $100 Million per year – are you kidding me?  This makes MSU the largest research and development entity of any kind in the state.
  • Tech companies are booming in Bozeman
    • A few years ago, in 2011, a boot strapped tech company named Right Now Technologies was purchased by Oracle for $1.5 billion
    • According to Oracle’s founder, Greg Gianforte, in a recent speech he gave, Bozeman is now home to 82 tech companies
    • We are seeing tech companies come here for a myriad of reasons – quality of life, affordable housing as compared to Silicon Valley and other hot beds of tech, a talented work force and more.
  • Montana ranked first in start-ups in the entire US for the fourth straight year
  • The Bozeman Yellowstone International airport is the busiest in the state – 2015 saw over 1,000,000 passengers – a record for the state and the first time this many passengers were accommodated ever
  • Yellowstone Park is just down the road – an absolute jewel in the US
  • The Big Sky ski area also saw record guests at 440,000 visits in 2015 – Big Sky also announced a 10-year plan to invest $150,000,000.00 in improvements to the mountain to accommodate over 650,000 annual visits projected by the year 2025.
  • Bozeman population grew at 4.5% from 2014 to 2015 – standing at 43,400 residents according to the US Census Bureau

I am only scratching the surface – more to come in future letters. There is no better time to join us in Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley!

Bozeman Market Report - Condos and Townhome Sales Through June 2016

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

This month, we will highlight condo and townhome sales through June 1 2016 and compare them to 2015 totals in the greater Bozeman area and Belgrade. Here are a few stats:

  • Condos and Townhomes sales have increased by 7.35% in 2016 (204 sold in 2015, 219 sold in 2016)
  • Dollar volume has increased by 14.73% in 2016 ($44,716,616 in 2015, $51,305,072 in 2016)
  • Condos and Townhomes have spent 26.98% longer on the market than they did in 2015 (46 Days on the Market in 2015, 63 Days on the Market in 2016.

Summary: Condo and Townhome values continue to climb steadily in the greater Bozeman, Belgrade area. As values have risen, these homes have spent more time for sale but as of yet, total sales continue to go up. Having total sales increase suggests that the buyer pool still has an appetite for well-priced multi-family properties. Bozeman and Belgrade’s multi-family market continues to grow and remain healthy.

Bozeman Montana Commissioners Approve City Budget

by Hart Real Estate Solutions


Commissioners have been debating the city’s budget, discussing where spending needs to increase and by how much. Bozeman Montana is one of the fastest growing towns in the nation, so commissioners did not consider lowering the budget, but rather trimming back on possible spending increases.

Commissioners had debated several budgets, with City Manager’s Chris Kukulski’s budget dominating the conversation. Kukulski called for major investments in infrastructure, while also addressing issues created by Bozeman’s population and economic growth. If adopted in total, this budget would have increased a typical Bozeman resident’s city fees by 5.5 percent.

In Kukulski’s budget, the average Bozeman resident would see their taxes increase by $114 per year. Infrastructure spending would take $72 of the yearly tax increase per resident. The fees would fund deferred maintenance as well as street creation and maintenance in new Bozeman neighborhoods.

An alternative budget reduced the increase to $80 per year, representing a 3.9% total increase. However, this plan required cuts in both planning studies and affordable housing efforts, both topics that have been high on the Bozeman’s list of priorities.

The city ultimately decided to approve a budget closer to Kukulski’s budget, but with additional cuts, representing a middle area between the two proposed budgets. They city approved the new budget with a 3-2 vote. Bozeman Commissioners passed on several new hires and a few planning initiatives to cut an additional half million from the budget. They did add some spending in a few places, including the Bozeman Public Library’s new mobile library, the bookmobile.

The approved budget will add $92 a year to a Bozeman resident’s lifestyle. Total yearly costs per resident have increased to $1,148 per year. The 4.5% increase fell between Kukulski’s budget (5.5 percent increase) and the alternative budget (3.9 percent increase). Homeowners can expect to see a $1.32 increase in their property taxes.

Sources: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-budget-passes-on-a-split-vote-as-commissioners-spar/article_fe577606-0987-5ec5-9127-3c4303a0dd65.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-city-commission-debating-budget-tax-increases-monday-night/article_b337d1b8-0451-53ce-b795-c93180feddb5.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/blogs/city/getting-a-handle-on-bozeman-s-budget/article_8ebe8f60-6dde-56e8-929d-8756366b8241.html

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