Broadway Apartments move forward

Jeff Shelden of Prairie Wind Architecture stands by the Broadway Building’s stone layer Tuesday morning.

Photo by Jenny Gessaman

By: 
JENNY GESSAMAN
Reporter
The Montana Preservation Alliance is putting out the call for anyone interested in Broadway. Well, the Broadway Apartments, at least. Next week starts the MPA’s public outreach for the future use of the building.

The outreach efforts
March 6 and 7, the MPA and its contracted architectural firms will be talking with City staff, the City Commission and the Lewistown community in a series of meetings and focus groups. The outreach efforts will be used to complete a preliminary architectural study for the MPA-owned Broadway Apartments.

Previous News-Argus stories described the study as a set of schedules for building infrastructure, as well as more precise cost estimates. To create schedules and estimates, though, the building needs a design. According to MPA Restoration Director Dustin Kalanick, that’s where Lewistown’s comments come in.

“Public outreach is important for a lot of reasons,” he said. “It’s part of how the MPA works . . . trying to build broader support around redeveloping by hearing what people need and what they want in the community.”

That, Kalanick said, is what defines a building’s design.

“That’s how a building’s best put to use, meeting a need, and we’re not the ones who determine that,” he said.

While Monday focuses on meeting with City staff and officials, Tuesday has been dedicated to the community. Kalanick reported the bulk of the day’s schedule was filled with focus groups.

“We’re reaching out to neighbors and business owners, but we also want to make it available to whoever wants to speak out,” he said. “Public meetings aren’t for everybody, so it’s just another avenue for getting input.”

The focus groups will be followed by a public presentation Tuesday evening. There will be information about the Broadway Apartment’s structural and market analyses, as well as its preservation plan and possible uses. But, Kalanick said, the meeting is not going to be a lecture.

“We’re going to keep our presentation to an absolute minimum,” he said. “We want the meeting to essentially be a listening session, and to be available for questions and concerns.”


The team behind the project
Helena’s Mosaic Architecture was contracted to do the study and Principal Ben Tintinger values public outreach as much as Kalanick. In this case, it does the crucial job of giving his team a design direction.

“This outreach is the one to help find a direction for the building in terms of use and restoration,” he said. “Once we get past the meetings next week, then we will take that information and start refining the plans and design.”

Tintinger also values outreach as a way to get information to the community.

“We want to show that the building can be saved and that it’s worth doing,” he said. “A lot of times folks think if you have an existing building, you’re going to save a lot of money on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of it.”

While he said that wasn’t true, Tintinger did name one advantage to rehabilitating the Broadway Apartments.

“You get that restoration of that history of that building so you are saving part of the heritage of Lewistown,” he said.

Jeff Shelden, of Lewistown’s Prairie Wind Architecture, was contracted as Mosaic’s restoration specialist, and he agrees with Tintinger.

“The Broadway really records that moment of shift from stone to brick in Lewistown the way no other building does,” he said.

Not everything can be preserved, but Shelden’s hopeful.

“There’s nothing of historical significance left in the interior of the building,” he said. “The preservation plan will reflect the way the building is dealt with on the Sixth and Broadway facades.”

While Shelden enjoyed piecing together the building’s past for its preservation plan, he’s excited for its future, too. He sees at least one silver lining to the building’s lack of interior.

“This is the chance for a future user to really have a blank slate to work with,” he said.

Kalanick’s goal is to have Lewistown walk away from next week feeling as positive as the study team does, while the MPA gains the ability to create a building fitted to the community.

“Hopefully, people understand what we’re doing a little bit better and feel more comfortable with it,” he said. “The design team can take away an understanding of what potential uses the community would be comfortable with, and start addressing and incorporating any concerns into their designs.”


The when and where of Broadway
The MPA’s community targeted events are scheduled for Tuesday, March 7. The public meeting is open to everyone, but the focus group sessions are by appointment. Anyone interested is encouraged to sign up for a session by contacting Dustin Kalanick at dustin@preservemontana.org or Ben Tintinger at ben@mosaicarch.com.

Focus group sessions
• When: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
• Where: Lewistown Public Library, 701 West Main Street

Public meeting and presentation
• When: 6 p.m.
• Where: Lewistown Public Library, 701 West Main Street

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