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The most sought-after real estate in Billings? City Hall goes on sale



Billings, Montana – As the old and historic Billings City Hall is put up for sale, city authorities believe that a dream property is waiting for them in the city’s center.

According to John Caterino, the facilities manager for the City of Billings, the procedure for selling city hall is actually somewhat convoluted and subject to a number of conditions.

Caterino brought our cameras inside the structure so we could see areas that the typical Billings inhabitant would never see.

The structure has three floors, a basement, and about 38,000 square feet of space. Billings City Hall was constructed in the 1940s and updated with an expansion in the 1990s. It is full of details that may be the stuff of an architect’s fantasy.

“There’s certainly a lot of potential,” said Caterino. “There’s definitely historical value to the building.”

Caterino claims that the sale price for city hall is the first step in the selling process and is “subject to offer.” It is required of city employees to sell “real property” after publishing a notice in the Yellowstone County News and alerting neighbors within 300 feet.

After that, according to Caterino, the council will submit a resolution to sell the property, and after that has been authorized, the city administration will choose the best offers.

“We have toured some people around the space and our realtor has said that of the four properties that we have on the market, two surface lots and a parking lot on North 27th, that this one has the most interest,” he said.

Caterino appears to be familiar with every square inch of the property and has all the keys necessary to gain entry, even the ancient jail cells upstairs, which are reachable through an elevator in the back home and were originally used to transport inmates.

The old jail cells’ walls are decorated with beautiful murals created by past inmates, yet it isn’t even the building’s most interesting historical feature.

Caterino is hopeful the potential developer will take some action to protect the artwork, such as the pink elephant.

The building has lots of bathrooms for any prospective buyer, a sizable boiler chamber to heat it all, enormous storage space, two eye-catching spiral staircases, and, you got it, the mayor’s office.

According to Caterino, some developers are drawn to the property’s complexity, but it will undoubtedly take some work to make the structure the next phase of downtown Billings.

“Obviously some of the systems are dated,” he said. “So, I would assume that whoever purchases the building is going to do a complete gut.”

With residences on the top floors and retail on the ground level, Caterino says city administration is hopeful that whoever purchases the property will fill a need in the downtown area.

Regardless, Caterino claims it’s a remarkably adaptable space to purchase.

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