BOZEMAN — Four offers have been made on a 103-year-old mansion the city hopes to preserve, officials in Bozeman say.
Offers for Story Mansion are from the Bozeman Art Museum, Story Mansion Inn Group, Montana Center for Civics Engagement and Tree of Life Ministries. Officials say the offers range from $400,000 to $2.6 million.
“The Bozeman Art Museum’s vision is to become the brightest beacon of arts and arts education, known throughout the American West,” states a letter from the group to the city. “We feel there is no better building to house a community asset like our art institution than the historical and beloved Story Mansion.”
Museum officials proposed buying the mansion for $400,000, or having the city gift the mansion to the museum.
The Bozeman City Commission in April approved a plan to terminate a contract with a group that was in default and put the mansion on the open market. The city bought the property 10 years ago for $1.3 million, amid fears it would be torn down, and started operating it as a community center and park. The city completed some renovation work, but more remains.
Tree of Life Ministries, run by Matt and Lisa Weaver, offered $2.6 million for the mansion built in 1910 by the family of T. Byron Story.
“The nonprofit entity ‘Tree of Life Ministries’ proposes a purchase price of fair market value,” the Weavers wrote. “Our intent is to recognize the original investment made by the people of the city of Bozeman in the 2003 purchase of $1.3 million. In addition, the taxpayers of Bozeman have made restoration investments to the T.B. Story Mansion of approximately $1.3 million, (by estimate). We anticipate, therefore, a purchase price of approximately $2.6 million.”
The Montana Center for Civics Engagement is a group of eight residents who want to create the center in the mansion.
“We see the need for a center dedicated to catalyzing the efforts of multiple groups working in different parts of the human/natural landscape,” the group’s proposal states. “The center, for instance, might aid the city of Bozeman in supporting a group of citizens to assist in the focus on its current essential water conservation initiative, as does One Montana, currently active in addressing water conservation with rural Montanans.”
The group is offering $400,000 that would be paid by the Montana History Foundation, keeping the mansion in public ownership.
The Story Mansion Inn group is offering $900,000. The group wants to renovate the property and turn it into an inn.
“This historic inn would not only preserve the integrity of the Story Mansion property and structures, but would also become a major resource for the community of Bozeman, providing high-end accommodations, a large meeting and conference space, as well as special event and reception capabilities,” a letter from the group said.