BILLINGS — The Lazy KT Motel in downtown Billings will be demolished, after the Billings City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve the property owner's request for the Billings Industrial Revitalization District to foot the bill.
After the Council approval, the Billings Industrial Revitalization District (BIRD) will pay $98,776 for a pre-demolition inspection, asbestos abatement, permits, dump fees and demolition of the structure.
"I think there’s been a lot of crime in that area. I believe that police won’t even go down there if they didn’t have two officers. There were issues there. I think property values are going to go up in the neighborhood, because they are not having to be dodging bullets. I think this is a good project. I hate to kind of see that we may be rewarding the seller of the property, because now we're kind of buying them out of this problem. But at the same time, lets just move on with this and lets get this done," said Councilmember Roy Neese who represents Ward 2.
The motel, located at 1403 First Avenue North, was the source of 338 calls for emergency responders over the past two years.
“That is really what the BIRD has looked at, is we need to make sure that it’s not part of the neighborhood in its current form," said Zack Terakedis, director of Billings Industrial Revitalization District.
A group of surrounding property owners banded together and formed a group called Empire Entrepreneurs, Terakedis said. The group bought the property for $525,000 earlier in July, according to the project application.
Terakedis said the taxable value of the Lazy KT property is likely to go down once the motel is demolished. There's currently no plan on what will replace the motel, Terakedis said.
“Once the building is taken off that property, the taxable value is pretty minimal. I think they are making an investment in the neighborhood, because they are adjacent property owners. I think the overall is that if the taxable values of the adjacent properties comes up, then we are starting to solve that end of the problem as well," Terakedis said.
Crews with Billings-based Environmental Contractors LLC will demolish the motel, according to the project application.
Ward 4 representative Councilmember Penny Ronning noted she was pleased that the motel's neon sign will be preserved.
The BIRD is a tax increment financing (TIF) district. It was created in 2006 when local governments collected approximately $1.7 million in tax dollars from property owners within. Any tax money that comes in over that base value goes to the district to spend on improvement projects and to help property owners remove "blight."
The BIRD is governed by a board of property owners in the district. The board reports to City Council for the final say on any project expenditures.
To learn more about the BIRD, visit its website by clicking here.