How business owners feel about the proposed One Big Sky Center - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

How business owners feel about the proposed One Big Sky Center

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

"I think this development could bring major prosperity to our downtown and bring some new exciting developments," Billings Depot executive director Jennifer Mercer said.

The proposed One Big Sky Center has been a hot topic among many downtown Billings business owners. 

Plans for the One Big Sky Center include office space, an upscale hotel, a senior living component and a convention center.

"You know how this will affect, how one big sky center will affect the downtown area, I think it would be huge if the project goes forward, I think it will be huge," Steve Wahrlich, the Clock Tower Inn owner said.

In the latest update on the project, city council members addressed the demand for such a center. 

Mercer said she thinks there is a need.

"Our city is growing so this is something that we need, another conference center downtown. when people come from out of town for major conferences they want to be in a walk-able districts," Mercer said. "They want to be able to walk to breweries and great restaurants."

Funding for this project has not been nailed down just yet, but project developers say they are working to find a lender. 

While this project moves forward, many business owners say they only want what's best for downtown.

"In talking with the developers I think the key element is to ensure downtown continues to grow over the next 2-3 years while the development is being put forth," Wahrlich said. "A strong downtown will enhance the project. if for some reason we pull all of the funds from downtown and put it toward the project and downtown goes backward it's not gonna be as advantageous to the project so i look forward to having them here."

At the meeting, members from both the Downtown Billings Alliance and the Northern Hotel spoke in support of the one big sky center. 

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