“A cool little hotel for downtown Belgrade” is scheduled to open Sept. 1 at 33 W. Main, according to the agent who brokered the acquisition of the historic building that will become a new “microhotel.”
Chris Awe’s real estate office at 29 W. Main, is located just steps away from the soon-to-be-opened Outpost Hotel. Like The Outpost’s new owners, Awe recently purchased his building in Belgrade’s downtown business district, and extensively remodeled it into a tasteful and modern space for his real estate office. As will The Outpost, the new space retains elements of the historic aesthetic of Belgrade’s early days.
It’s possible that such projects are joining a trend for Belgrade’s downtown business core that arguably began with the extensive renovation of The Mercantile building several years ago. In addition to the microhotel that will make its home in the old Waterman Hotel building, Awe’s firm recently facilitated the sale to a different party of the former Hub Bar and Casino building at 23 E. Main and the Sacks building at 31 E. Main. The buyers were unable to be reached prior to press time, but Awe said plans are in he works to “bring those into a more current state” for new tenants.
Awe speculates that the growth of Belgrade and a rising swell of energy for downtown revitalization may be reasons that investors are eyeing Belgrade for future enterprises.
“People are really interested,” Awe said. “(Main Street) offers good visibility for potential end users.”
Specific factors attractive to the microhotel’s developers were the property’s proximity to the airport, existing infrastructure in the building that was conducive to the microhotel model, and the fact that few similar options are available in the area, Awe said.
“There are unique ways for that microhotel to appeal to a different demographic,” he said.
Awe explained that the microhotel will feature a “sleek, modern, minimalistic” interior, with rooms available at various price points starting at $69 per night. Guests will share common kitchen and bathroom facilities, and book their stays online, much the way Airbnb customers do. Also following the Airbnb model, guests will have the opportunity to rate and review their stays. Booking information is available online at www.theoutpostmontana.com.
Awe said he believes the business will attract not only tourists, but also area residents who live far enough from the airport that they may want to spend the night in Belgrade before catching early flights.
Jennifer Janssens, project manager for the new microhotel, which is being developed by Vancouver, B.C.-based Dayhu Group, deferred comment about the project until a later date.
As a fellow Main Street business owner, Awe is excited about the project for its ability to help “activate sidewalk presence and the downtown scene.”
“There’s been a lot of activation of downtown business owners,” Awe said, citing the success of the first “Saturday Night Live Belgrade,” a street fair-type event that drew an estimated 1,500 residents to celebrate along Main Street on July 27. Organizers of that event, which was fashioned after Bozeman’s “Music on Main,” have talked about the possibility of repeating that event one or more times next summer.
Awe said he believes Belgrade is poised to follow the “exceptional standard” that Bozeman has set for nurturing a vibrant downtown business district.
“People are excited and proud of the area,” he said. “It’s fun being part of the local downtown community.”