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Billings City Council eyeing Stillwater Building for more office space

Council to vote on starting negotiations Monday
Posted at 7:56 PM, Dec 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-15 21:56:10-05

BILLINGS — The City of Billings has its eye on the Stillwater Building at 316 N. 26th St. to help alleviate its need for more office space and to consolidate city offices, council members will decide Monday whether to enter negotiations to lease or purchase the property.

According to the agenda item, Billings city offices are currently spread across five locations.

  • Billings City Hall at 210 N. 27th St.
  • Miller building at 301 N. 29th St.
  • Depot at 2224 Montana Ave.
  • 2nd floor of Yellowstone Garage at 2301 Montana Ave.
  • Kairos Center at 33 N. 15th St.

City departments housed in those locations include: City Administration, City Attorney, Finance, Public Works, Engineering and Human Resources, among others.

Negotiations will center around the city spending $27.7 million on first, second and fourth or fifth floor office space, along with a secure garage/storage space in the Stillwater Building's basement. The area totals about 112,000 square feet.

The city could go after a deal to either lease, lease-to-own or buy the property from its current owner, Alaska-based WC Commercial LLC.

In Billings City Administrator Chris Kukulski's most recent weekly report, the city spends about $404,000 per year to lease 28,000 square feet of office space at its current locations.

A Billings city facilities master plan was completed in 2015 and identified a "current need" for 40,000 total square feet for city offices. The plan projected the city would need 43,000 total square feet in 10 years.

Those numbers show the city is short 12,000 square feet from what the facilities plan says it should have.

A committee made up of council members and city staff think the Stillwater Building lends itself to the city's needs - providing a downtown location with plenty of parking.

At Mondays meeting, the committee will ask the councils permission "to enter into negotiations with WC Commercial. Negotiations may involve financial terms and conditions, lease, lease to own, own or other options," according to the agenda item.

Council members will decide Monday night whether or not to give the green light for negotiations. The body could vote to direct staff towards another direction to alleviate the city's need for more office space.