On March 6-8, Kieron Hunt (Cushing Terrell Vancouver) and David Dixon (CTA Denver) were on-hand in Lewistown, MT, for a community design week — a multi-day public and stakeholder visioning session focused on options for rehabilitating the Broadway Building, an early 20th Century apartment structure. Hunt and Dixon contributed their expertise in market analysis and urban development to understand the feasibility of various design alternatives and activities proposed for the three-story masonry building.
Monday and Tuesday marked the first chance Lewistown had to comment on the future of the Broadway Apartments, and according to building owner Montana Preservation Alliance, the town took advantage of it. This week was the first of three public input rounds the nonprofit is using to create a preliminary architectural report.
MPA Restoration Director Dustin Kalanick explained his organization was looking to attract developers for the Broadway Apartment, and planned to use the finished report as a selling point. “It’s an appealing package where the due diligence has been done,” he said. “For the finished report, we will have done all the digging to understand what the issues are with the project and how to solve them. That’s all backed up by the data and cost estimates and, hopefully, support from the community as well.”
To gain that support, and to figure out what kind of building uses the town could support, the MPA held two days of meetings, talking with City officials, local groups, and members of the public. The results, Kalanick said, are encouraging. “In general, the response we got from the public was positive,” he said, adding the first round of public outreach garnered between 40 and 50 comments.
“In terms of things that were stated by the public, there were multiple types of housing that would be amenable to different people in the community,” Kalanick said. “There were also the suggestions of a restaurant use and of a tourism or interpretive use, so there were a handful of ideas thrown out by community members.”
Tuesday night’s closing meeting sported a few empty chairs, but Kalanick found the community’s conversation inspiring. Instead of comparing potential uses based on lowest cost, he heard the public evaluate options for the Broadway Apartments based on a broader scale. “It was about ‘Can this project tie in with our development in town and be a catalyst for what Lewistown wants to become?'” he said.