Launch Slideshow

Bozeman, Mont.

“Bozeman is a classic yet growing western town, a progressively thinking and diverse community with its roots firmly intact,” says Dan Harding, a principal of local firm Intrinsik Architecture.

Bozeman, Mont.

“Bozeman is a classic yet growing western town, a progressively thinking and diverse community with its roots firmly intact,” says Dan Harding, a principal of local firm Intrinsik Architecture.

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    Bozeman, Mont.

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    MOE WITSCHARD

    North Black Row Architects: Intrinsik Architecture, Bozeman; Comma-Q Architecture, Bozeman Developers: Dennis Steinhauer, Archer Construction Completion: 2006 Cost: $2 million Size: 5,898 s.f. Five-unit attached townhouse project; received 2006 Montana AIA Honor Award and Bozeman Beautification Award.

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    COMMA-Q ARCHITECTURE

    City Hall Renovation Architect: Comma-Q Architecture Developer: City of Bozeman Completion: 2008 Cost: $1.7 million Size: 22,614 s.f. Previously the ozeman Public Library; will have an Energy Star rating of 86.

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    BOZEMAN PUBLIC LIBRARY

    Bozeman Public Library Architect: Kath Williams + Associates, Bozeman Developer: City of Bozeman Completion: 2006 Cost: $17 million Size: 55,000 s.f. Montana's first municipal building to be LEED certified.

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    INTRINSIK ARCHITECTURE

    B&G Grain Elevator Architect: Intrinsik Architecture Developers: Diana Arnold, Vicki Fish Completion: 2010 Cost: $3.2 million Size: 15,000 s.f. The historic town icon will hold retail and residential space.

Bozeman, Mont., has always been a popular place to live. Native American tribes including the Blackfeet, Flathead, Nez Perce, Shoshone, and Sioux made their home in the area long before 19th century explorers such as William Clark (1806) and John Bozeman (1863) showed up.

People continue to converge on the town, founded in 1864. “Bozeman is a classic yet growing western town, a progressively thinking and diverse community with its roots firmly intact,” says Dan Harding, a principal of local firm Intrinsik Architecture. “It's a college town, a ski town, a fly fishing mecca, and a wonderful hub to experience the Yellowstone ecosystem and the rest the northern Rockies has to offer.”

But popularity has a cost, according to Bozeman resident and Comma-Q Architecture founder and principal Ben Lloyd. “The greatest challenge is to preserve what's great about Bozeman yet allow for growth,” he says. “There is a trend to create ‘museums' out of our historic neighborhoods. ... Many of the buildings being built today are as important as those constructed 100 years ago.”

City manager Chris Kukulski is intimately involved in the process. “It's hard to maintain quaint Main Street when there's so much demand to build things that look like everywhere else,” he admits. “There's been a lot of focus in the last decade on quality design and development. Not that we don't have some mistakes and regrets, but we also have lessons learned.”

Population/Employment

2007 residents: 36,500; 2000–2006 job growth: 21 percent, mostly in technology.

Office Market

Class A office rents: $18/s.f., central business district; $16/s.f., suburbs.

Residential Market

2007 median home sale price: $329,900.

Market Strengths

  • Vibrant historic downtown
  • Montana State University
  • Northern Rockies location

Market Concerns

  • Fuel costs affect tourism
  • Preservation/growth balance
  • Housing affordability

Forecast

In 2007, the City Council voted unanimously to make LEED for Neighborhood Development certification a condition for approval of a proposed subdivision. “If they apply that to [other] projects, it will make a community-changing contribution over the next 10 years,” says architect Kath Williams of Kath Williams + Associates. “That's surprising leadership from such a small town council.”