Big Development under the Big Sky in Montana

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Maggie Collister

Big Development under the Big Sky in Montana

Hey, What’s That Montana? Get the inside scoop on the development around the state.

What’s new in Montana development? We’re starting on the east side, where Billings is preparing to welcome the state’s first medical school. Construction is scheduled to wrap up on the 135,000 square foot medical education facility in December 2022, with an official open date sometime in 2023.

Recently named as the hottest real estate market in the nation by the Wall Street Journal, Billings is fighting for the top spot when it comes to popular Montana cities. And who might it knock out of that top spot? It’s arguably either Missoula or Bozeman. Both of which have had banner years when it comes to population and job growth. But that comes with its own issues, as housing becomes more scarce in these cities.

Though Missoula and Bozeman are working to combat these issues by doubling down on new development. In Bozeman, 103,000 square feet – or about 100 total units – are coming to market in a reported twenty-nine point two million dollar development known as the Haymaker apartments. Another 118 apartments hit the market this year at the Silver Creek Apartments on Oak and 27th – but those are running at around three k a month for a 2 bed, 2 bath unit, which can be unaffordable for many of the areas students and service industry workers.

Missoula saw a 203% increase in the number of building permits issued year over year in Q3 of 2021. But, that big influx will have to continue for a while to even out the current multifamily vacancy rate of around 1%. Several builders are making headway with higher-density developments to meet the needs of the growing community. There is still potential in the market, especially with the newly opened up Sx͏ʷtpqyen area master plan.

Central, Western Montana Development Booming

As we know, it’s not just the biggest cities that are managing growth. Even Helena, the state capital long associated with slow and steady population trends, is starting to prep for new residents with a 300-house development and new elementary school in East Helena. In the city center, a formerly defunct mall is transforming to mixed-use development including a major health system, banks, and restaurants. This 13-acre site sat vacant for a number of years and has been renamed the Capital Hill Town Center.

Finally, one of the biggest booms might not be where you’d expect. Kalispell has been churning out new developments of all kinds at a breakneck speed. The City Council saw proposals for hundreds of new higher density housing units, dozens of new single-family homes, and plenty of retail and industrial business sites. Like Missoula, Kalispell saw their building permits double from last year. Both cities continue to deal with a labor shortage, though many developers have simply shifted to bringing in out-of-state crews to keep projects on schedule.

So, that just barely scratches the surface of new projects across Montana, but we’re being told to wrap it up. Right! This isn’t everything that’s happening in the Big Sky state. In fact, some big development news is yet to come. Thanks for watching!

Matt Mellott
Matt Mellott, CCIM/SIOR

Big Development under the Big Sky in Montana