What’s next for the “corner property”?
It anchors the entrance to Big Sky at the corner of Highways 191 and 64 and it’s the current home of the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and Visit Big Sky, the community’s destination marketing organization.
At the April 9 Big Sky Resort Tax Board meeting and the next day before the chamber board, Chamber CEO Candace Carr Strauss was given the green light to pursue purchase of the corner property. The chamber board went into executive session to discuss financial details, then emerged to present an architectural rendering of what a new visitor center on the property might look like.
“This could be a world-class visitor center,” said Chamber Board Member Sarah Phelps, holding up a printout of the rendering, produced by local Bechtle Architects pro bono.
The current plan is to apply to the resort tax board for additional funding and combine this money with funds from the VBS marketing budget. “There’s no better marketing dollars that could be spent by VBS than to get the 1.2 million visitors who drive by to pull in and realize Big Sky exists,” said Board Member Kevin Germain, who went on to pitch the new visitor center as helping to create a “more robust, year-round tourist economy.”
“Control the corner,” added Chamber Board Chair David O’Connor. “We as a community need to control the corner.”
The property—which is currently under contract with an unnamed potential buyer—is listed by L&K Real Estate at $3.24 million. It includes three commercial buildings and one rustic cabin, which sit on what marketing materials describe as an "unbeatable location.”
Carr Strauss said the money being pooled by the Big Sky Chamber and Visit Big Sky is intended for the “purchase and or improvement” of the property, if the current sales contract goes through and the chamber and VBS remain tenants.
“We’ve expressed since the day I got here our desire to be part of the future of this parcel,” said Carr Strauss. “We’re staying on this track and we’re doing what’s in our control to see that that happens and we’re just trying to plan for multiple futures.”
One scenario might be the land is purchased and owned by the nonprofit Big Sky Gateway Foundation, but the financial details of that arrangement are still being ironed out.