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Plans are moving forward with the new College of Engineering Building at Montana State University. The Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center, named after the alumni who donated the $50 million required to fund the project, will be starting construction in Summer 2016 and is scheduled to be completed by Fall of 2018. The building is designed to be the new center of campus, with the sub directly across from it and the new parking garage close by.

The new building will help keep pace with MSU’s reputation as an excellent engineering school. The building will also help keep enough room for the rising enrollment in both the Engineering College and school overall.

The building will be 80 to 100,000 square feet, will have 10 – 15 classrooms, 12 to 16 Engineering labs in addition to faculty offices. Current plans are leaning towards creating a 3 story building w/ the $12 million dollar parking garage behind it. The building is designed to hold a 300 person presentation hall, which will be used for school and community events.

As MSU continues to have high enrollment and continues to attract great students, it seems only logical the school will continue to try to expand its reputation and its campus. MSU provides many real estate related opportunities and having a high prestige will make those opportunities more plentiful and more rewarding.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/msu-ready-to-design-new-engineering-college-building/article_d86f5962-0801-5e91-81f5-2fc1f50a1f89.html

Bozeman Awarded 1 Million for Solar Research

by Tim Hart

In late April, Bozeman planners and commissioners were exploring the possibility of providing solar alternatives to its residents. Early last week, Northwestern Energy awarded the city $1,000,000 to explore the benefits, the utility and likelihood for creating some form of solar program in Bozeman.

The city will team up with the Montana State University to go over potential options for a new solar program. One idea has been to allow customers to tap into a community-based solar system. For ‘opting in” to the solar program, customers will receive a credit on their utility bill without having to pay for expensive solar panels.

Other states, companies and individuals have also used other models and Bozeman will need to figure out which one works best for its unique situation.

Bozeman has tried to stay on the forefronts of technology. They recently approved a fiber-optic project to give Bozeman the highest quality internet available. Looking at solar alternatives will help keep Bozeman beautiful and sustainable.

 

Source: http://www.abcfoxmontana.com/story/29234099/city-of-bozeman-receives-1-million-award-to-research-solar-energy

 

Bozeman Safest Major Town in Montana

by Tim Hart

According to data released by the Bozeman Police Department, Bozeman has the lowest crime rate of any major town in Montana. Bozeman averaged 32.7 crimes per 1,000 residents, 16 crimes below the next closest town. Bozeman has now been honored as the safest major town in the state for 4 of the last 5 years.

Bozeman had the fewest homicides, 0; robberies, 3; aggravated assaults, 36; and burglaries, 71; in the state.

Bozeman has also been improving on its own standards. Bozeman’s overall crime rate dropped from 56.1 crimes per 1,000 residents seen in 2004. In 2014, more than 20 less crimes per 1,000 residents took place. Total arrests for Bozeman dropped 28 percent from 2,800 in 2008 to 2,189 in 2014. Traffic stops also dropped by 30 percent.

Despite Bozeman’s recent growth (nearly 12,000 residents since 1996), property related crimes like theft and burglaries have been going down. With more people living in the Gallatin Valley, it would make sense that property related crimes would go up. However, the local police department has done a great job in general of keeping people’s belongings and valuables safe.

The Bozeman Police Department attributed the low crime rates to the economic stability that has been present in Bozeman of late along with the hard work of local community members and organizations. The department also increased its total officers in 2008, a factor that has been highlighted towards improving local crime rates.

Bozeman continues to lead the way in public safety—one of the main attractors to both in-state and out-of-staters looking to move here.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/crime/bozeman-crime-rates-continue-decline/article_1f10cdbc-08a4-5e23-b83c-4d359e38d7c3.html

 

Potential New Development off Manley Road?

by Tim Hart

Tonight, Bozeman City Commissioners will decide whether re-zoning a piece of land out in the Manley Road area for residential use is feasible and makes sense for the city moving forward. If they decide yes, the owner of the land will move forward developing the area.

The 6.5 acre piece of land in question has had some zoning confusion to say the least—a very boring sounding topic that somehow can end up quite fascinating. Currently, the city has that land designated for future use as parkland. However, the County has the land designated for light industrial use (pretty mutually exclusive from parkland). The best part, neither have actually incorporated the land at all. The city would need to annex the land to develop it and moving to a residential designation would allow them to do so.

The piece of land is surrounded on 3 sides by city limits and access to the nearby recreation area and pond is protected by a permanent easement.

Now, if the situation didn’t sound complicated enough, this very same piece of land used to be used as a dumpsite from 1962 to 1970. Coupled with the poor recent history with dumpsites, what may have been a hard decision for the City of Bozeman got a lot harder. Environmental concerns will be a major factor on whether the new development is approved.

For this specific scenario, we can only hope the city makes a decision that will bring the highest benefit to its residents in the long run and that recent concerns, whether its the dump or current home inventory, will not affect the decision, no matter which way they ultimately decide to go.

From a real estate perspective, this story is a great reminder why its so important to cross every i and dot every t when performing due diligence on any information surrounding a property. How is it zoned? Are there any easements? How was the land used in the past? Some pieces of land (and sometimes homes too!) have had long, deep histories where others may have little to none. With as much land as there is Montana, we get the best of both untouched land and land with deep history.  Make sure you are buying what you want and that you have a realtor who can make sure you are buying a good product.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-commission-to-consider-zoning-change-for-development-near-old/article_8b0ccbac-2541-58e7-933d-3aeda25cb4d2.html

Bozeman Exploring Solar Alternatives

by Tim Hart

City leaders want to lower utility costs and make Bozeman a little greener by offering some form of solar program to its residents. The city wants to provide clean energy to all its residents-whether they rent or own a home.

Currently, a new community solar model has gained traction as the front-runner for how Bozeman may address solar needs moving forward. The community solar model allows customers to tap into a community-based solar system. For ‘opting in” to the solar program, customers will receive a credit on their utility bill without having to pay for expensive solar panels. Buying and installing a full solar system into a private home can cost up to $23,500.

Currently 22 other states use a similar model.

With that being said, it should be noted there are a couple other viable models that have worked very well in different places across the United States.

The first model involves putting solar panels on individual homes for no cost. The utility company then deducts energy that home produces from their overall utility bill. The company, in a sense, buys the power from the home and deducts that cost from the bill.

Another model follows a similar idea. In this model the utility company still places solar panels on the home. However, they set up a loan agreement, much like a home, for 30 years at a fixed rate. The homeowner will still receive a deduction on their bill but in this model they are also provided an opportunity to be a full owner of the solar panels (which would really cut down on costs!). The energy they produce can also be reinvested back into their loan payments.

I have written an in depth article about the last two models. If you would like to read more about them, click here.

All of the models have their own advantages and drawbacks. Whether its time, money or freedom of action, all the plans give in some areas and take in others.

Bozemanites should be appreciative of their elected officials' attempts to stay up to date with technology. With this solar story, along with city leader's recent attempts to establish a fiber optic network, its clear that one of Bozeman's goals is to keep itself technologically up to date. No matter what, having some form of solar program in place will help make Bozeman more sustainable, cheaper and keep it a wonderful place to live.

 

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/story/28924241/strong-push-to-expand-solar-energy-in-bozeman

 

Indonesian Woman Lists Herself with Home

by Tim Hart

For home sellers who have seen their local markets heat up in 2015, they will be happy to know the heat is limited to houses only. In Indonesia, one homeowner, Wina Lia, is trying to spice up her home sale by adding an unexpected ingredient to the mix – herself. Lia has offered an opportunity for her hand in marriage to any Indonesian buyer who chooses not to negotiate on the listing price of $76,500.

Homebuyers who prefer hot home deals in a more traditional sense are allowed to make an offer on only the home. Buyers looking for love over shelter may be disappointed to find out the home purchase only gives them the chance to ask for her hand, but does not guarantee her acceptance.

The real estate agent, Dian Purna Dirgantara, crafted the idea when the homeowner admitted she was also looking for a husband at the time. Since he produced the advertisement, he has received endless calls from viable buyers and the curious alike. Whether Dirgantara’s strategy will be picked up by other agents and homeowners looking to make a home sale is yet to be seen.

 

Source: http://time.com/3738528/house-indonesia-wife/

Bozeman Building Still Booming

by Tim Hart

According to the Department of Community Development’s Annual Report, Bozeman has seen a huge spike in building permits over the past two years.

639 single-family resident permits were filed in Bozeman in the last two years. That number is more than 2008 to 2011 combined. 40 duplex permits were filed in 2014. 44 were filed from 2009 to 2013. 27 triplex permits were filed in 2014. 18 were filed from 2008 to 2013.

The report has shown most of the growth on the western end of town but growth is also present to the south as well. Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, among their other construction projects, may soon be developing the open space acreage around them. Preliminary plans include 300 homes with park and wetland additions.

When seeing numbers like this, its hard to say Bozeman is not doing enough to keep up with their lack of home inventory. As both home prices and rental prices have gone up and vacancies for both have gone down, its clear the builders are working as hard as ever to get people into homes in Bozeman. Whether they will be able to keep up with Bozeman’s growing reputation and tourism numbers is to be seen.

 

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/story/28186330/bozeman-building-boom-spreads-in-all-directions

http://www.bozeman.net/Smarty/files/dd/dd78ab4b-2733-4d86-af27-5a5ce25a2f10.pdf

 

 

Bozeman Improves Safety with Recent Projects

by Tim Hart

Two recent projects taking place in Bozeman have highlighted the city’s recent efforts to better address the health and safety of its residents.

The Bozeman Police Foundation has spent nearly $6,000 to improve safety around Bozeman. One of the projects added flashing beacons to several crosswalks around Sacajawea Middle School and Whittier Elementary School. The new beacons should help drivers see and react to children crossing the street better than ever before.

Crossing guards have always helped children cross the road during times of high traffic, like in the mornings and after school. However, during off hours and  the times in between classes, those crosswalks do not have guards on patrol. Now, with flashing lights, the kids can cross the street safer and cars will be well aware when someone tries to cross the street.

Bozeman has been updating signage in town for the last year or so to better address the needs of its people.

In other news, the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital has seen its 15 million dollar expansion move faster than expected, due to favorable weather. The hospital will be putting in a new 5 story, 80,000 sq. ft building to help the hospital keep up with a growing Gallatin Valley population. The new building will be for offices, but it will help the hospital run smoother while better addressing the health and safety of Bozeman people.

Livingston has also taken on the construction of a new hospital, really showcasing the population growth of Southwest Montana.

 

 

Sources: http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/bozeman-school-crosswalks-get-new-makeover/31202248

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/construction-on-new-medical-office-at-bozeman-deaconess-underway/31243572

 

Home Rent Lower in Areas Surrounding Bozeman

by Tim Hart

I read a great article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle today and I wanted to pass along some interesting numbers regarding rentals in the city limits of Bozeman compared to those outside of it. Long story short—it will be cheaper to rent outside of Bozeman compared to inside it.

The numbers were acquired by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and they explain how they found them below:

 

“The numbers included in this analysis are based on 114 rental advertisements posted to Bozeman Craigslist between Feb. 1 and Feb.16, as well as classified ads placed in the Chronicle’s Sunday edition Feb. 15. Postings advertising individual rooms for rent, as well as most duplicate postings, were excluded.”

 

According to these numbers, the median per bedroom monthly price of a rental unit was $513. For Belgrade, Livingston, Four Corners and Gallatin Gateway, the median bedroom rent was $450. That totals a $756 dollar/year difference in renting in Bozeman compared to out of Bozeman.

For a 3 bedroom unit, the average rent in Bozeman was $1,300 a month compared to 1,200 a month elsewhere. When comparing median home prices between Bozeman and Belgrade, $325,350 and $223,000 respectively, Bozeman actually comes off well in terms of their direct proportion of cost to rent. From an investment perspective, it leads one to believe that higher profit margins may be had in the Belgrade rental market.

But don’t go buying up all the homes in Belgrade quite yet, because here is a great fact that shows how quickly Bozeman rent has climbed in the last years. Only last summer in Bozeman, a 3 bedroom unit cost around $950 a month--$450 less than current rental rates. For six months, that is an exceptional difference. If an investor can find a good deal on a home, the increasing rental rate could really change his/her fortunes.

For renters, however, Bozeman still remains a tough rental market. However, the city continues adding home inventory, making subdivisions and creating affordable housing to address the issue.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/rent-too-high-look-outside-bozeman-city-limits/article_66ac83ed-200a-5cef-b375-2c32a8468050.html?utm_medium=desktop&utm_source=block_683269&utm_campaign=blox

The Lowe’s Holoroom – Its Pretty Cool

by Tim Hart

Lowe’s Canada released in November a new home improvement simulator to help consumers build their dream room called the Holoroom. Now, if you haven’t had your mind blown in a long time, watch out, this one may do it for you.

Essentially, the simulator applies 3D and augmented realities into an open space in the Lowe’s store, where consumers can digitally renovate any room in their home. Consumers can choose wall colors, wall and floor tile, and even select and move furniture into a digital room. Then, they can walk around and see how it fits aesthetically and proportionally before they have to make any purchase.

Consumers first design/mimic their room from home, then add their designs into a tablet and then enter the Holoroom to make their final adjustments. If it all sounds a bit confusing, here is Lowe’s video on the Holoroom which should make everything much clearer (and much cooler!)

Lowes plans on eventually shareable to friends and family who can then walk through the “renovated” room and give any advice.

 

 

Source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2352328

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 124

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