Developer aiming for One Big Sky plan for downtown Billings by end of year

Posted at 7:06 PM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-30 21:06:04-04

BILLINGS- The vision of the One Big Sky District development project for downtown Billings should be clear by the end of the year, backers said Monday in Billings.

Local business groups, including Big Sky Economic Development, the Billings Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Billings Partnership and the Tourism Business Improvement District met Monday with developer Hammes Company to hear about a timeline for the plan.   

“By the end the year we will have a detailed plan,” said Bob Dunn, principal of Madison, Wisc.-based Hammes. ”At the end of the process, Billings will have to decide whether or not to support the plan as an investment in the city’s future or do nothing, an alternative that has possible dire economic consequences.” 

One Big Sky has seen a drastic change from the original concept of a major skyscraper and community living space. 

"You can’t formulate a vision and a strategy for an urban area, you know a city, and its region in a simplistic manner. To do it, and do it in a credible fashion, it takes planning, it takes engineering, it takes market research, it takes fiscal and economic impact analysis. All things we’ve now started on that we’ll be working on over these next few months. And as we come to the tail end of our effort, we’ll come back with a very detailed plan," Dunn said.

The latest vision is more of two distinct areas: a lifestyle district anchored by a possible convention center and a health and wellness district that includes the medical corridor. 

If all goes according to plan, the first catalyst project, like a downtown convention center, could break ground in 2019.