If all goes well, Anytime Fitness will open its new downtown gym during the first week in February* in one of the biggest ground-floor spaces remaining on Montana Avenue.
Anytime Fitness is moving into the 6,800-square-foot space of the building on the southeast corner of Montana Avenue and North Broadway, just across Montana from the Empire Parking Garage.
Matt Robertson, who is marketing the building for NAI Business Properties, said the opening of the parking garage in the fall of 2014 has made his job a lot easier. Other spaces in the building are slowly filling up, too.
“Parking is so key to redevelopment,” he said. The building has about 50 parking spaces reserved in the 540-space Empire garage.
On the second floor of what is now known as the Billings Business Center, established tenants are Emerald Oil, High Plains Law and Beaudette Consulting Engineers, with Stewart Title planning to take occupancy “any day,” Roberton said. Two suites, of 2,000 and 1,700 square feet, remain vacant.
On the third floor, the federal General Service Administration’s Office of Hearings and Appeals has about a quarter of the space, with four suites—ranging in size from 4,400 to 1,100 square feet— still available.
On the ground floor, in addition to Anytime Fitness, one small suite is occupied by Rabo AgriFinance, with two suites, of 2,700 and 1,300 square feet, still to be filled.
Anytime Fitness, with banks of nearly floor-to-ceiling windows lining both sides of its large space, should help advertise the rest of the building and undoubtedly will be good for Montana Avenue as a whole.
“I think Anytime’s going to be a great catalyst for that corner,” Robertson said.
The fitness center is making a short move. It is now located in the basement of the Oliver Building, which is just east of the Billings Business Center at Montana and North 27th Street. It also had a small group workout room on the first floor of the Oliver.
Robertson said Anytime wanted to get out of the basement into a more visible location. It is also gaining a bit of room. The 6,800 square feet on the ground floor equals what it had in the Oliver Building, but it will also be leasing two rooms in the basement of the business center, for a total of 2,500 additional square feet. Those rooms can be used for group exercise classes, Robertson said.
The three-story brick building at 2718 Montana Ave. was constructed in 1918 and at one time housed an auto dealership. For many years it served as the Billings headquarters of the Burlington Northern Railroad.
The retail portion of the Empire Garage, meanwhile, is itself nearly full. There is just one retail space available. It is owned by Howard Shen and Tina Wu, who also own the Wild Ginger Japanese Steakhouse just east of the vacant space.
And just across North Broadway from the Billings Business Center, Cori LaFever said her family is still planning to redevelop the three-story Westwood building.
The building has been vacant for years and is pretty bad disrepair, but a feasibility study has been done on it and the plan is still to redevelop it for retail on the ground floor and apartments on the top two floors, LaFever said.
LaFever has been running several family businesses since her father, Neal LaFever, died last February. With so much else on her plate, she’s not sure when redevelopment of the Westwood will start.
“But it’s definitely still going to be happening at one point,” she said.
*Editor’s note: This sentence was corrected. The original version said the fitness center planned to open by Jan. 1.