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Jul 17, 2010 1:40 AM by Jay Kohn - Q2 News

Northern Hotel renovation on schedule for mid-2011 opening

BILLINGS - Mid-2011 remains the target date for completion of the total make-over of the historic Northern Hotel in downtown Billings.

Brothers Mike and Chris Nelson say they've turned the corner in their multi-million dollar project to return the Northern to its heyday. Friday evening, Mike Nelson unveiled new artist sketches of the interior design of the hotel. It's a design that Nelson says will feature works from Montana artists and materials from across the Big Sky state.

"Some of the design elements will include a local flavor like cowhorn wall tiles and travertine from hopefully Montana quarries, all put together by people from Billings who designed it and local artisans who put it in," explained Nelson. That's the whole theme behind the Northern," Nelson said. "Our designers call the theme Western Chic, or Cowboy Hip, said Nelson. "I think it is a rather sophisticated interior design."

The new Northern will feature an elegant lobby, two restaurants, 12 meeting rooms and 160 hotel rooms. Nelson says the tenth and ninth floors are already framed in, as crews make their way from the top to the bottom of the historic building. Nelson says the project has taken on a "life of its own", but he remains optimistic the hotel will reopen next summer.

The Nelson brothers purchased the historic hotel in January of 2009 for 2.5 million dollars. Earlier this year, the Billings City Council approved using 20-million dollars in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds to help finance renovating the historic hotel.

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