Al Malinowski with Gallatin Partners said earth removed to make way for the road and development inside Meadowview II is available for landscapers, gardeners and anyone else in need. “If there are people who are out there interested in acquiring some dirt, they should contact me. It is very good material for up here. And it’s close,” said Malinowski.Al Malinowski walks the job site at Meadowview II, which is the swath of recently excavated land on the north edge of the Meadow by Community Park.

What’s the deal with Dirt Mountain?

Meadowview developers in negotiations with HRDC
“This is a pilot program. So everyone is keenly aware of how important it is to have a successful program for all involved.”—Brian Wheeler

Known as “Tract II,” the swath of hillside above the ball fields at Community Park is on its way to becoming the Meadowview II development. This mix of duplexes, condos and apartments could house around 100 Big Sky residents, some who are currently unable to find properties priced low enough for them to purchase. 

     The non-profit HRDC and the Big Sky Community Housing Trust recently received $1,945,000 from resort tax to help bring more affordable housing to Big Sky. That mission aligns closely with the original goals of Meadowview II—say its developers—who now have a draft buy-sell agreement with Bozeman’s Human Resource Development Council.

     Meadowview II’s Al Malinowski with Gallatin Partners said if the deal goes through, the nonprofit HRDC could step in and become the project’s lead developer. 

     “The need and what we were considering seemed to align so well that’s how conversations began and are continuing pretty seriously,” said Malinowski, who along with original developers Jerry Scott and Brian Wheeler, may or may not remain involved with the project. That’s still being sorted out as HRDC considers its options for taking over.

      “Big Sky really has to understand, we’re really fortunate to have that experience that they (HRDC) provide and that the vision for this project is in really good hands,” said Wheeler. 

“This is a pilot program. So everyone is keenly aware of how important it is to have a successful program for all involved.”

     The stakes are spelled out plainly in the recently released Big Sky Community Housing Action Plan, which calls for providing, “between 250 to 300 community housing units by mid-2023 to keep up with the number of units needed to accommodate new job growth.” 

     The plan also seeks to increase “the resident-occupancy rate of housing units in Big Sky above the current 30 percent.”

     That’s a goal directly inline with Meadowview II’s initial vision. 

     Even before discussions began with HRDC, Malinowski said Meadowview II planned to use HOA rules to block any short-term rentals in the development. 

     “Short-term rentals are a good thing in Big Sky, but we need neighborhoods, too. We’ve been telling people that from the beginning,” said Malinowski. 

     During a recent walking tour of the Meadowview II job site, Malinowski said ideas about developing the property always centered around targeting established Big Sky locals as customers. 

     “I felt I knew a lot of people who would be interested in a project like this and it would be pretty exciting to work on something like that,” said Malinowski, explaining how HRDC’s involvement could make properties in the just under 10 acre Meadowview II even more accessible. 

     “They’re going to bring a subsidy to the project. So they’re going to be able to deliver the same unit at a lower cost than we could have as just a private developer. Pretty exciting,” said Malinowski, emphasizing that no deal has been finalized (as of July 2). 

     Malinowski added, “At the end of the day, we knew before the housing study, we have a supply and demand issue.”

  Adding to the supply, Meadowview II will include 14 buildings with 28 units constructed into the slope on the north side of the long, narrow property. Each duplex is currently envisioned as two-bedroom, 2.5 baths spread over 1,000 sq. ft. of living space and roughly 500 sq. ft. of garage.

     “Enough for your car, plus some storage. And the garage will kind of go into the hillside,” said Malinowski. Above the duplexes will be sloping open space abutting more forest in the Sweetgrass Hills subdivision and on Forest Service land. 

     On the south side of the development, Malinowski said plans call for free-standing condos, which are “essentially small homes.”  

     Twelve units are envisioned, and they can either be three-bedroom dwellings, or two-bedroom places with a one-bedroom apartment attached. 

     “A single person living alone in Big Sky,” shrugged Malinowski. “I don’t think there are a lot of options. So we’re looking to help satisfy that need as well.”

     Malinowski said no matter what happens with finalizing any deal with HRDC, he’s confident Meadowview II will remain guided by this question: “What are the needs that are out there and do we have an opportunity to help satisfy some of those?”

     Want to continue following this story? Attend the Big Sky Resort Area District Tax Board meeting on July 11 at resort tax HQ, 11 Lone Peak Dr., suite #204. More info at resorttax.org.

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