Alberta Bair Theater

This drawing shows the concept for an expanded and renovated Alberta Bair Theater and Broadway and Third Avenue North.

Courtesy CTA Architects Engineers

The future of two important downtown properties — one already in place, the other on the drawing board — could be shaped during Monday’s Billings City Council meeting.

The 6:30 p.m. business meeting will be held in council chambers at City Hall, 220 N. 27th St.

Decisions about extending a One Big Sky Center deadline and $3.5 million in requested Tax Increment Financing money for the expansion and repair of the Alberta Bair Theater will be the council’s final two business items Monday.

As part of the One Big Sky Center development, the council must decide whether to extend a memorandum of understanding between the developer, MontDevCo, and the city. The developers have requested an extension from July 31 to Jan. 8, 2018, to allow the project’s new managing partner, Hammes Company of Madison, Wis., the time to study the project in depth to determine its size and scope.

Staff recommends the council approve the extension.

The Alberta Bair Theater’s TIF request is part of an $11 million campaign to repair and expand the city-owned theater at 2720 Third Ave. N.

In a memo to the council, City Administrator Tina Volek explained that the TIF funds would be used to install an elevator and construct accessible restrooms to conform with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The TIF allocation would also cover the cost of moving the sidewalk around the theater to parts of Third Avenue North and N. Broadway that the city vacated last year as well as upgrading the theater’s façade and stabilizing the structure.

The theater estimates it has a more than $4 million impact on the Billings economy annually. During the 2015-16 season, it held 84 events attended by more than 84,000 people, including nearly 9,300 from outside Yellowstone County. The theater has 10 employees and more than 100 volunteers.

Staff recommends approval of this request as well.

Following public hearings, the council is also scheduled to make a pair of land-use decisions Monday.

The first is a zone change request — from Planned Development and Residential Multi-Family to Residential Professional — on 1.12 acres at the southwest corner of Seventh Avenue North and N. 25th St. Staff and the city’s Zoning Commission recommends the council approve the request.

Wyeth Friday, planning and community services director, said that the zoning change would make the land easier to develop as a professional office or clinic development along a main Billings corridor.

The second is a special review to allow construction of two four-unit multifamily buildings at 422 Roxy Lane in the Billings Heights. According to Friday, since 1997, properties in the R-60 zone proposed for a multifamily dwelling require special review approval.

The Zoning Commission voted earlier this month to recommend approval.

Consent agenda

Monday’s consent agenda includes these items of business:

• The council is being asked to reject all bids to demolish the Rose Park pool operations building and instead include demolition in the overall construction documents to be re-bid as a single package following the conclusion of the current swimming season.

• Public Works seeks approval of a near-$2.7 million contract with HDR Engineering to design a drop-off facility and maintenance building at the landfill.

• Airport officials seek council authorization for a 10-year lease with the Transportation Security Administration for office space. The lease guarantees nearly $700,000 in rent over the first five years. The council’s also being asked to approve a hangar lease agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services. That lease will bring the city nearly $300,000 over the first five years of the agreement.

• Four probationary police officers have served a year on the force — Moses Richardson, Tracy Icard, Steven Gaertner and Daniel Shreeve. Under state statute, their names are being submitted to the council for confirmation.



City Government Reporter

City reporter for The Billings Gazette.