Plans for key corner still under wraps
But some work is underway
Michael Schreiner and a team of investors bought the land across the street from the Big Sky Conoco on April 20, and are moving forward with improvements.
This property is just over five acres and the goals include updating the Big Sky Visitor Center, while looking to other resorts in the Rocky Mountains for inspiration as far as entrance corridors go. Currently, the team is “trying to come up with a smart, long-term plan for the property,” said Schreiner. The first thing to be completed in the next week or so will be the septic system and once that is done, the ball will begin rolling for other development. There are some big ideas for what the area might look like, but no specifics have been publicly released.
Caitlin Lundin, the programming and events manager at the chamber, appreciates how Schreiner is working with the chamber to allow them to stay in the same place, which is the goal. She explained how the building as it is now is not set up to have both a visitor center and a chamber. It includes two offices, two boards and two different missions all under one roof.
“It’s sort of difficult trying to make phone calls or write reports in the middle of the visitor center,” Lundin laughed.
Part of the plan is to put up some walls inside that will better separate the chamber offices from the visitor center without looking standoffish to travelers who come in and see a big desk partitioned for privacy.
Schreiner wants to accommodate the two businesses under one roof, and also make the entrance to Big Sky a bit more noticeable. After all, it is the entrance to Big Sky and a stop on the way to Yellowstone Park—making it the, “corner of adventure no matter which way you go,” said Schreiner.
Lundin used Jackson Hole as an example of a place with a main square that speaks to its character and is, “true to their destination.” It has antler arches on display and is only miles away from an elk reserve, which incorporates a relevant and concrete example of what makes Jackson Hole as a destination special.
The corner property is the perfect place for this area’s welcoming portal and it also lets visitors know there is actually a town beyond the stoplight.
“If this just became a three gas station corner, then no one would come up to Big Sky,” Lundin speculated.
“It's the corner of main street and main street,” as Schreiner put it.
One concern that has been voiced is the potential rent increases. The chamber’s rent did go up in its fiscal year, but even with that it is reportedly under market value.
Schreiner said he wants businesses to be able to be successful in this space without rent as a crippling concern.
“The goal is not to squeeze every last penny out of every month’s rent,” he said. While the image of what Big Sky’s entrance may turn into are still sketches, Schreiner is confident in the final result.
“(There are) neat ideas that are still in design and I can’t let any cats out of the bag yet,” he said.