One Big Sky District FAQ’s
Transformative visions understandably come with questions. We appreciate that you are following the One Big Sky District progression and want to know more, so we’re doing our best to answer questions we hear most frequently. See our list of frequently asked questions below, and, if we haven’t answered yours, please click here and ask your question. We’ll do our best to get it answered.
- Goal #1: Create new jobs and an engaged and inspired workforce
- Goal #2: Provide meaningful economic and fiscal impacts to the City, County, and State
- Goal #3: Increase visitation for the City, Region, and State
- Goal #4: Create a “Lifestyle” city, centered on health/wellness/recreation
Billings’ proposed catalytic project within the heart of this district is a convention center. In a recently commissioned study by HVS, they note immediate economic impact of $13.2 million in direct spending as well as 136 new jobs will result from convention center development. According to HVS, under a “do nothing” scenario, Billings’ ability to attract major convention and meeting events will diminish. That will impact our economy and local businesses.
Meantime, our competitors are forging ahead. The newly released Study lists comparable venues. On that list:
- Bozeman is currently evaluating the development of a conference center with 15,000 to 20,000 square feet of function space and an adjoining hotel.
- Missoula recently announced plans for a mixed-use development, including a 10-story hotel building and 60,000 gross square foot conference center. Developers hope to break ground by late 2019.
Also on the list is actual convention space in Bismarck, Rapid City, Boise, Sioux Falls, Casper, Laramie, Cheyenne, Jackson and several Washington state communities. Some of these offer similar sized convention centers to what Billings offers now. Some are much larger. But most are either new, renovated, larger, or simply better and more attractive to meeting planners. And several are planning or already working toward significant growth.
1) The City of Billings. Our City Council voted and approved to move forward with a memorandum of understanding and $100,000 toward Phases II and III of the development.
2) Business and community organizations in Billings:
- Billings Chamber of Commerce
- Big Sky Economic Development
- Downtown Billings Partnership
- Billings Tourism Business Improvement District
3) Private businesses. Almost $100,000 has been contributed toward One Big Sky District from Billings businesses and individuals:
- Billings Clinic
- CTA Architects
- First Interstate Bank
- Kinetic Marketing
- Kris Carpenter
- Lee Humphrey
- MSU Billings
- NorthWestern Energy
- PayneWest Insurance
- Rimrock Foundation
- Rocky Mountain College
- Julie Seedhouse
- Vincent Healthcare
- Stockman Bank
- United Properties
- Valley Federal Credit Union
- Zoot Enterprises / Northern Hotel
4) Commercial Real Estate Developers. United Properties Inc. (owners and property managers of Transwestern Plaza and half of First Interstate Center) financially supports the project.
5) Taxpayers. According to Mayor Cole, 83% of the emails he received from the public offered their support for One Big Sky District.
Ultimately, the investment generated from One Big Sky District will largely come from private developers. As far as return on investment goes, the public investment will only account for 12% of the cost of full build out, while attracting $1.5 BILLION of private investment in Billings over 15 years. (estimated as of May 2018)