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12-story tower proposed in downtown Billings



Billings, Montana – This little-known project has the potential to significantly alter the downtown environment and housing stock in Billings.

The architects have named the proposed 12-story high-rise structure they plan to construct in downtown Billings the Futurity Tower.

In the location of YesterYear’s Antiques shop, there is a planned mixed-use residential building that consists of 10 stories of one- and two-bedroom apartments above two floors of retail, restaurant, and office space.

According to Katy Easton of the Downtown Billings Alliance, the project is not yet complete. Its twofold goal is to establish the antique mall in a prime site beneath Skypoint and to reimagine a prime downtown core location.

The building was bought by the Downtown Billings Partnership in 2016 with plans to develop it in the future.

“YesterYear’s is a long beloved community asset that we have,” said Easton, adding that it brings hundreds of visitors to the location each day.

She states that the tower is still in its early stages.

“It’s hard to say much more knowing that the project hasn’t been fully designed yet, but we are really excited to see what happens as that design comes to fruition,” she said.

But housing occupies a large portion of the skyscraper.

“We are going to be able to put many housing units into the market here into downtown Billings, and we are really excited about that,” she said. “If you start with housing, all of these other things fall in behind it.”

According to Easton, the discussion of downtown retail growth and public safety in Billings include the housing demand as a component of the whole.

“We purchased it for the very intentional goal of creating a big development on this corner,” she said.

Big Sky Economic Development is also involved in the project because it believes that the Futurity Tower will spur downtown development and revitalization.

Executive Director Steve Arveschoug says he hopes to see a mix of professionals from downtown and hospital staff living in the tower flats and using them as a short commute to amenities and places of employment.

“That then distinguishes our community even more so as a great place to live,” he said.

In order to accommodate significant upcoming investments in the medical corridor, such as the construction of a new St. Vincent hospital and the expansion of Billings Clinic into a Level 1 Trauma Center, Big Sky Economic Development claims to have completed a housing study and determined that Billings would need to add a minimum of one thousand new homes in the downtown corridor.

“What I am excited about it is we have a local developer with a lot of smarts, with a lot of creativity that’s saying I love this community and I am willing to make an investment. And that attitude and that approach is going to make a big difference,” said Arveschoug.

However, a stable firm that has been there for more than 20 years is already in the way of the skyscraper. The antique mall from last year will now be located in the basement of the Hart Albin building.

The Kramer family, who purchased the company in 2019, is anticipating it.

“I feel like every year I see the success, at least for us I see the businesses flourish,” said Austin Kramer.

With the support of $152,500 in tax-increment financing that the Billings City Council approved on Monday, they will relocate in sixty days. With the use of that money, more than 80 traders will be relocated to the Hart Albin building, an eye-catching new location.

“Instead of it being three levels, it will be one massive level so all of our vendors will be spread out along one level,” said Kramer.

High Plains Architects have stated that while they will go into further detail about the project in the future, they currently view it as an exciting, cutting-edge project.







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