Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive

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The Downtown Improvement Plan: Past, Present, & Future

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Over the last 30 years, various recommendations have been developed to improve downtown Bozeman, including everything from construction of more mixed-use buildings, to decreased parking requirements, to more affordable housing units. While some of these ideas have come to fruition in recent years, others are still on the table discussion. The most recent improvement plan states that all recommendations in the plan are both realistic and attainable, but because some require more analysis than others, they are either partially completed or haven’t been started yet.

While only a small portion of the recommendations presented in the original plan aren’t listed below, a list of ALL of the recommendations can be viewed here.

A few notable recommendations from this plan, which was released in 2009, include the following:

  • Addition of a downtown conference center
  • Construction of a “boutique” hotel
  • Addition of plazas and courtyards
  • Conversion of Babcock and Mendenhall to 2-way streets
  • Encouragement of bicyclist traffic downtown
  • Exposure of Bozeman Creek as a centerpiece of the downtown area
  • Extension of Babcock to connect to Bozeman Public Library

Almost a decade later, a 2018 Progress Report has been released. Here is the current status of the above recommendations:

  • Addition of a downtown conference center (Not Completed)

*However, a substantial amount of meeting space has been designated— American Legion, Baxter Hotel, Element Hotel, Emerson Cultural Center, etc.

  • Construction of a “boutique” hotel (Completed)

*Element Hotel—2015; Lark Hotel—under construction; Etha Hotel—construction to begin in 2018

  • Addition of plazas and courtyards for public use (Partially Completed)

*Element Hotel, 5 West, & Lark Hotel have front patios and rear courtyard spaces

  • Conversion of Babcock and Mendenhall to 2-way streets (Not Completed)

*Extensive traffic analysis for not only Babcock and Mendenhall is required, but also for Main, Lamme, Olive, N. 7th, Willson, Rouse and Wallace before this project can be further considered

  • Encouragement of bicyclist traffic downtown (Partially Completed)

*Four on-street bike parking stalls are available seasonally; Dero Fix-It Station was installed for cyclists to inflate tires and perform minor repairs; bike “sharrows” were added to Babcock & Mendenhall

  • Exposure of Bozeman Creek as a centerpiece of the downtown area (Not Completed)

*Financial constraints— the project will cost $350,000

  • Extension of Babcock to connect to Bozeman Public Library (Not Completed)

*Land needed for the extension is privately owned by Empire Building Materials and currently contains a warehouse. If the property is sold or redeveloped, this recommendation will be revisited.

 

​Downtown Boundary Map

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.

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The Cost of Improving Bozeman's Transportation Infrastructure

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

It’s great to see Bozeman, Montana grow and prosper as a thriving community, but there’s always a catch to population growth—traffic.

The city expects that by 2040, Gallatin County will have 77,000 new residents, 36,000 housing units, along with 48,000 new jobs. Even if all of Bozeman’s road projects on its 5-year plan are completed, the city projects that traffic will still overcrowd major streets like Huffine, College, Griffin, 19th and 11th Avenue

The Cost of Adding Traffic Capacity

The city is well-aware of the challenge ahead to accommodate for Bozeman’s rapid growth, and they found that the cost would be staggering. According to actual construction bids, a standard two-lane road in Bozeman, with curbs, bike lanes and sidewalks, costs about $2.2 million per mile. Four lane roads are more than double the cost, at roughly $5 million per mile.

Upgraded intersections are also incredibly expensive. A large traffic signal was estimated to cost about $2.4 million, and a roundabout would cost about $2.9 million.

If the city follows through with every project that it has planned for Bozeman for over next 25 years, the total cost would amount to an estimated $380 million. This plan includes 58 major street network upgrades ($174 million), more than 42 miles of new roads ($129 million), and 53 “system management” projects, which mostly includes intersection upgrades ($77 million).

How Can We Mitigate These Costs?

With such a high price tag for new roads and intersections, it’s understandable that the city is so conservative about starting new construction projects. Fortunately, with the exception of Rouse Avenue north of Peach Street and Kagy Boulevard between 19th and Seventh, Bozeman’s streets are still big enough to handle their current traffic volumes, according to the engineers working on the plan.

To minimize the need to sacrifice hard-earned tax-payer dollars, the city encourages drivers to use alternative transportation options.

One option, of course, is to have more commuters walk or ride a bike. However, while this may work for the summer months (which wouldn’t help much because school is out for summer anyways), we wouldn’t see many people enduring the brunt of winter just to get to work or school.

Another more practical idea is to break up the typical 9 to 5 work schedule. City planners are currently working with researchers at the Western Transportation Institute (an affiliate of Montana State University) to coordinate alternating work schedules with employers in attempt to calm the intensity of rush hour traffic.

For those that simply have no other option, they can try to plan a route around the most congested intersections. For your reference, below are some the most overloaded intersections to avoid:

  • Baxter and Davis
  • Babcock and Ferguson
  • Kagy and Seventh
  • Kagy and Sourdough

Here are also several intersections that are most prone to crashes:

  • Valley Center Spur and Frontage Road
  • 19th Avenue and Goldenstein
  • Willson and Peach

 

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Bozeman Ramps Up Development This Spring

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Looks like this spring is going to be a busy season for Bozeman, Montana. Aside from the many new residential homes and apartment buildings sprouting up around town, numerous new businesses are opening soon and development projects are breaking ground.

Here is a quick snap shot of some of the new development happening now in Bozeman.   

Restaurants

There are several new restaurants coming to town, and most are opening around the same time in April. Here are a few of them.  

The M Donut Factorylocated on Main Street, is set for a slow opening in April, and then a grand opening in June. The owner, a retired cop from California, is excited to share his love for donuts with Bozeman. He plans to offer all traditional doughnuts at first, then specialties, and eventually some gluten-free and vegan options. 

The M Donut Factory

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream will be opening in April, replacing the old Rockford Coffee shop on Seventh Avenue and Main Street. The ice cream shop will offer more than a dozen flavors, ranging from honey cinnamon to Madagascar vanilla, and homemade waffle cones.

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

Stuffed Crepes and Waffles will be bringing a little piece of France to Bozeman on downtown Main Street, next to the Country Bookshelf. Sometime in April, this crepe and waffle joint will offer both authentic and non-traditional crepes and waffles, smoothies, ice-cream, and delicious parfaits.

Sidewinders is set to open on June 1st on Bozeman’s west side, off Huffine Lane. This family-owned and operated American grill will feature 8,000 square feet, with rooftop seating, a large bar, and even an arcade! The restaurant is popular for its chicken pot pies, French onion soups, and stuffed pretzels, while also serving burgers and steaks. The best part about this place? — a selection of more than 70 draft beers!

Taco del Sol will be catering to Four Corner’s growing appetite in April with a second location closer to home. On Shedhorn Drive, in the old Frugal Frame Shop, this new shop will be much smaller than the one on Main Street, with under 1,000 square feet floor space. The owner intends to cater to the “summer crowd” that passes through Four Corner’s, offering to-go cold wraps, snacks, bars and fruit in addition to its regular tacos and burritos.

Commercial Development

There are two new commercial development projects set for Bozeman, with one underway right now.

#1 A project has just started to turn 20-acres of the Opportunity Subdivision (south of Target and the City Brew on North 19th Avenue) into 6 developed lots—5 will be for shops and businesses, and 1 will be residential. Right now, construction of two roads is underway for this development, named Kimberwike and Max streets. The plan does not specify what the businesses and tenants will be for the commercial lots.

#2  There is also a 19-acre development project in the works for the Ferguson Farm development. The plan includes yet another restaurant and a 22,000-square-foot multi-use space that will host about nine businesses, including anything from brew pubs to coffee shops, and eventually a lodge and grocery. The project is planned to start sometime this summer.  

Office Buildings

Two new office buildings are being built across from each other on the intersection of 19th Avenue and College Street.

On the northwest corner, the old house currently sitting on the lot will be torn down to make way for a 17,000-square-foot commercial building. According to the planning documents, this space will be used for offices.

On the northeast corner, next to the Montana Skin Cancer and Dermatology Center, Excel Physical Therapy is constructing a two-story, 8,500 square foot building that the company plans to relocate to. The top floor will be rented out to a separate business.

More to Come

As a rapidly growing and thriving community, there is much more to come for Bozeman. The city has been attracting a lot of attention for its entrepreneurial activity and business success, making-up another great reason to move here than for just its beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation, and small-town charm. It will be exciting to see what the high-tech sector brings our town in the years to come.

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Another Mid-Rise Building Approved for Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The lots currently occupied by the vacant old Pizza Hut at 716 W. Babcock Street and the home next to it may soon be the site of another four-story apartment building in Bozeman. The SOBO Lofts, or South Bozeman Lofts, is planned to hold 42 one-bedroom apartments and 3,000 square feet of commercial space facing Babcock Street.

The project came by surprise as it was approved by Bozeman planning director Marty Matsen without a public hearing before the Bozeman City Commission. Meanwhile, a heated debate over another mid-rise building is already underway for the Black-Olive proposal downtown. It will be interesting to see how the neighbors respond when they see this building go up.  

Here’s a map of all the mid-rise buildings that are currently planned or being constructed in Bozeman: 

 

Matsen said that the SOBO Lofts plans abides by Bozeman’s zoning code, which does not merit a hearing before city commissioners. The SOBO building is planned to be 50 feet high, and include 52 parking spaces, which Matsen says is well within the zoning requirements. In this B-2M zoning district, buildings are restricted to 60 feet in height. However, some residents have expressed concern about overflow parking and the scale of the building conflicting with the character of the neighborhood.

Projects that do not conflict with zoning codes are only reviewed by the city planning department, and approved by the planning director. Matsen also pointed out that the proposal was presented to a public hearing with the Design Review Board and was granted a unanimous approval, but it wasn’t as well attended as the packed meetings for the Black-Olive proposal.

What About the Black-Olive Project?

While the Black-Olive project was also within zoning requirements, it was unique in that the City Commission reclaimed authority over the city planning director’s approval after concerned neighbors appealed the planning director’s approval (A public hearing before the commission is scheduled for April 3rd). The same can be done for the SOBO Lofts if an “aggrieved party” appeals the decision to the City Commission—for a fee of $8,700.

The developer behind the SOBO project, Rob Pertzborn, from Intrinsik Architecture, says they are moving forward with the project, but he has not yet confirmed a date to begin construction. His next step is to apply for a demolition permit, then develop construction designs and seek bids from contractors.

 

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.


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What is Parking Worth in Downtown Bozeman?

by Hart Real Estate Solutions


Downtown Bozeman

As Bozeman continues to grow, parking becomes a major impediment to development. Specifically in the downtown area, where an empty lot can be worth nearly as much as the average home in Bozeman, parking spaces are valuable real estate.  

Between the growing downtown community and Montana State University, residents in Bozeman’s historic downtown neighborhoods are finding their streets lined with parked cars. Some downtown residents are even having trouble parking in front of their own home.

The development proposal for the “Northside Lofts,” another five-story building with 41 housing units, was denied because of this issue. There is just not enough parking available for added housing.

Why Not Just Build More Parking Garages?

For the same reason an empty lot downtown is going for $345,000, a single parking space (18’ by 9’, or 162 square feet) costs roughly $7,400. Including the 12’ of additional space for backing out, the true land cost of a parking space runs at more than $12,000. These estimates don’t even consider construction costs.

And stacking up multiple parking spaces on the same parcel does not help either. The same sized parking space in a parking building would cost an astounding $35,000, according to a city parking consultant.

Why Would This Matter to You?

Of course, parking costs are passed down to your housing costs. By the city development code, all housing projects within most of Bozeman’s zoning districts are required to provide at least one parking space per bedroom.

Breaking down the math, for a condo worth $221,250 (the median price of a condo sold in 2016), the cost of two parking spaces on the surface would cost roughly 10.8% of the home’s value! Underground parking would be even worse, reaching approximately 30% for the same space.    

How the city plans to accommodate parking as Bozeman continues to grow will determine the direction of downtown development projects. Neighbors in the shadow of downtown’s mid-rise buildings are lobbying to city planners with concerns with not only the parking issue, but also that the scale of these buildings are out of place with Bozeman’s small town charm.

Interestingly, there may be possible solutions in the works with the up-bringing of self-driving cars and car sharing similar to Uber. While it may not be practical in far outlying areas, downtown may be a great place to implement a public transportation system to reduce, or possibly eliminate, the need for parking. 


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Crepes and Waffles Coming Soon To Downtown Bozeman!

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Sometime in April, Erik Esper will be adding one more cuisine to Bozeman's wide selection of restaurants. Esper plans to bring a little piece of France to Bozeman with crepe and waffle joint downtown on Main Street. 

His restaurant, Stuffed Crepes and Waffles, will open in the space that used to be the Tonsorial Parlor Barber Shop, next to the Country Bookshelf. He plans to renovate the 400-square-foot space and spruce it up with a warm and inviting feel for customers. 

The menu will include a variety of both authentic and non-traditional crepes and waffles with sweet and savory combinations, smoothies, ice-cream, and parfaits. Parfaits are essentially the French version of ice-cream, made with custard-like puree and layers of yummy ingredients and fruit arrangements, then topped with whipping cream.

It will be a brick-and-mortar shop, meaning that it will serve both in-store and on-line sales, with an on-the-go style. Convenient for downtown strollers, the crepes will be wrapped in a sleeve and the waffles folded like sandwiches—perfect for a quick bite to eat while meandering around downtown.


It's great to have such a diversity of culture in Bozeman, and Stuffed Crepes and Waffles will be adding one more to the list. Esper is excited about opening the restaurant, saying "Hopefully it'll be a great success and serve the community well."

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Source:
Crepe and waffle joint coming to downtown Bozeman

Bozeman Extends Vacation Rental Ban Another Six Months

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman City Commissioners just voted Monday to extend Bozeman's temporary ban of vacation rentals within city limits another six months, allowing Airbnb-style operations in some districts until permanent regulations are in place.

The temporary ban of short-term rentals was set six months ago so the city could gather more information and public input to find a fair solution to the concerns some residents had about how short-term rentals would impact their neighborhoods. 

Some residents in the downtown neighborhoods are worried that short-term rentals would increase traffic, late-night noise, and degrade the character and charm of their historic neighborhoods. The city also found unaccounted for listings on websites like Airbnb and HomeAway that uncovered some rented homes in Bozeman that have been avoiding the required business and conditional use permits, which were frozen by the interim ordinance.   


The city made efforts to gain feedback from the public and study the effects of similar policies in other cities, but they were delayed while focusing on hiring a new planner director. Since encouraging input from residents through public forums and an online survey, the city received about 330 pages of comments to read through.

In Monday's public meeting, some commenters questioned whether the city would be violating the state's landlord-tenant act with these regulations. Others urged the city to make a decision before the summer tourist season arrives.

Four of the five Bozeman City Commissioners voted for the six-month extension of the interim ordinance. The one differing commissioner, I-Ho Pomeroy, proposed a shorter, three-month extension in pushing to get permanent regulations in place sooner. However, the remaining four members disagreed, arguing that the team and staff working on the issue need better information to make the best decision for the community.     

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Bozeman Bans Vacation Rentals

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

Source:

Bozeman commission extends interim vacation rental limits

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

Development Projects In Downtown Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

 

With Bozeman continually growing, it looks slightly different with each passing year. To keep you up-to-date with what’s changing in our town, here are some big projects underway right now in downtown Bozeman.

5 West Project 

With much of its structure now built, the construction of the 5 West building is making progress in downtown Bozeman. Its developer, Andy Holloran, expects the building to be ready for occupancy in 2017.  

This 5-story building is designed with commercial space on the first floor, office spaces on the second, and condos for the next three stories. 

 

Change of Plans for the Black-Olive Project

The Black-Olive project is planned to replace the old two-story building located on the south-east corner of Black and Olive Avenue with a 5-story apartment building. 

Andy Holloran made adjustments to its exterior materials, adding brick facade, corrugated metal, and some wood siding. He says these new materials  emulates the style of his Block M townhouses on the north side of town.

Holloran says “It’s a material palette that is recognizable and, I think, comfortable for people.”

This revision also adds a two-bedroom apartment to the building, as well as adjustments to its parking arrangements with a reduction of parking spaces in its parking garage from 38 to 36, while adding the car-sharing spots from 3 to 4.  

Holloran and proponents of his project believe that this new look fits better with character of the neighborhood.

With the development of his 5 West and Black-Olive buildings, Holloran hopes to transform downtown Bozeman with these modern, mid-rise buildings. 

 

Lark Expansion  

A 29-room, 4-story expansion of the Lark Hotel is underway. Much of the construction will be done offsite. “Truck-sized sections” will be assembled in Trier, Germany, then staged in Four Corners before brought to the site. 

The Lark Hotel partner, Brain Caldwell, calls it “adult Legos.” This expansion is projected to be completed by spring of 2018.

 

Downtown’s Murals Refresh 

The walls of Downtown Bozeman are colored with murals painted by the local school kids of 2012 and 2013. Ellie Staley, member of the Downtown Business Association, says the murals “are starting to show their age.” 

Art teacher of Chief Joseph Middle School, Emma Laatch, plans to organize high school art club students to design the new murals, and have younger students paint it. Laatch hopes this project will be done by the next school year.

 

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Sources:

Construction begins on 5 West Project

Holloran submits revised design for 5-story Black-Olive project

Lark expansion set to break ground Monday

Plans afoot to refresh murals along downtown Bozeman blast sites

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