Town Center rising
Checking in with the Wilson Hotel and Plaza Lofts
At Lone Mountain Land Company’s bustling construction site in Town Center, rooms inside the Wilson Hotel are coming together and steel beams used to create the Plaza Lofts building next door should appear in the next month.
When that happens, “It’s going to take shape really fast,” said LMLC’s Bayard Dominick while giving a recent walking tour.
The Plaza Lofts building—which is currently distinguished by two concrete and rebar towers—will include 9,000 square feet of commercial space, 16 one-bedroom rental apartments and four two-bedroom rental apartments. There also will be two penthouses for sale.
“All residences will highlight an industrial style that includes exposed ceilings and steel with a warehouse/loft feel for living space,” explained a LMLC press release, with Dominick adding, “The Plaza Lofts will merge the design of the newer contemporary buildings built in the Town Center with a more historical urban aesthetic.”
Standing where the Plaza Lofts front Town Center Avenue, Dominick pointed to where The Barrel Room, owned and operated by a Bozeman winemaker, will employ a full-time sommelier and offer a comprehensive experience for wine lovers with an extensive menu and tasting events.
Also coming to the Plaza Lofts is Blue Buddha Sushi, out of Page, Ariz (see “Japanese Rustic”).
From the Plaza Lofts site, Dominick continued the tour into what will be, “The piazza downtown,” he said, referring to a plaza area where the farmer’s market will end up and there will be space for food trucks to park—all close to where the Arts Council of Big Sky plans to place a horse sculpture by renowned artist Deborah Butterfield. “Looking straight down Town Center Avenue up at Lone Peak,” nodded Dominick. “It will be a nice backdrop for the horse.”
Dominick then walked into the Wilson Hotel, a future Marriot Residence Inn that’s currently in raw form with exposed ducts, beams and ladders where there will be stairs.
The ground floor will have a restaurant, bar and maybe a ski shop. As you come in the main entrance, the check in desk will be on the left and a ski storage room will be on the right. Straight ahead will be a bar with views of Lone Mountain and the heated pool outside. On the far north side of the main floor, the Wilson will offer meeting room space for fundraisers and other gatherings.
Downstairs from the main floor will be a kid’s game room, fitness center and ski tuning room where traveling ski racers can try to give themselves an edge.
Up a ladder and onto the guest room floors, Dominick walked through suites now in a larval state with exposed pressboard and door frames. He said by being the first chain hotel in Big Sky, the Wilson will attract a subset of travelers who make decisions based on travel points and brand loyalty to Marriot. He predicted when all 129 rooms in the hotel are full, there could as many as 400 guests within walking distance to all the businesses in Town Center. Rooms will be priced around $200 a night.
In recent weeks, nearly 100 crew members have been on site at work. That number will go up once the roof goes on and the “inside trades”—plumbing, tile, carpet, finish carpentry—go to work, said Dominick. As for when guests can start checking in, “The grand opening, we’re saying June of 2019.”
That’s when Dominick expects one of Town Center’s newest buildings to look like it might be Big Sky’s oldest.
“The whole concept was to build a building that looked like it might have been the first building built in Big Sky with historic brick architecture,” said Dominick. “We’re branding it the Wilson Hotel, yet it’s a Marriott Residence Inn. Trying to draw people from outside the market. Make it look and feel like kind of a boutique hotel when you’re downtown.”
Think Hotel Jerome in Aspen or The Wort Hotel in Jackson—a lodging anchor with charm, not far from a growing number of restaurants, “Creating this downtown vibe,” said Dominick.
“F&B (food and beverage) really drives traffic for retail,” he continued. “So, getting the critical mass for restaurants down here is really going to drive the retail, and help the retail succeed.”
Dominick said he’s enjoying his work because it lets him, “Be part of building a downtown. I think having the hotel completed next year will be a real game changer—that energy that’s happening down here.”