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Lewistown moving forward with housing development plans

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Posted at 9:34 AM, Apr 24, 2024

Lewistown city commissioners voted earlier this month to officially move forward with developments on the former Berg Lumber property.

“The property was contaminated, so the city of Lewistown worked with DEQ and others to get the property cleaned up, under the ‘Brownfield Program’ and so, since that concluded about 2012, we have been looking for a potential developer,” said Holly Phelps, Lewistown city manager.

After hearing proposals from three different developers, Lewistown city commissioners chose to move forward with Homestead Ventures Group to negotiate purchasing the property.

“The proposal from Homestead Ventures Group closely aligned with the future use of that property or the desired future use,” Phelps said. “It really meets a broad housing need, which all of our surveys and everything have said that Lewistown needs housing and wants a diverse type of housing, so townhomes, apartments, single family, that sort of thing.”

Doug Osterman, Lewistown city planner, said this is the perfect time to take advantage of the property and that Lewistown is ready for these types of developments.

“We have these opportunities to take property like this, 18 acres, and immediately work towards putting housing on this site that's been vacant ever since the city has owned it and cleaned it up,” Osterman said.

Homestead Ventures Group’s proposed site plan consists of a total of 173 housing units, including a range of single-family homes, town homes, and stacked multifamily homes.

“[There will be a] narrow street going through here with single family homes on this side that probably will have accessory dwelling units on them for affordability,” Osterman explained.

After closing on the property, Homestead Ventures Group is hoping to get started as soon as possible, while working closely with the city.

“While it’s not quite the same concepts that were originally proposed in the feasibility studies, it's nice to see that it’s happening and kind of coming true,” Phelps added.

Holly Phelps, Lewistown city manager
Holly Phelps, Lewistown city manager

“If we can work through the road and traffic improvements that are necessary, the utilities that are going to need to be supported her, at the end of the day, it's going to be a nice neighborhood for people to live and play in Lewistown,” said Osterman.

Back in December of 2023, German manufacturing company, VACOM, selected Lewistown to be their United States headquarters at a press conference with Governor Gianforte.

With this large manufacturing company moving into Lewistown, brings a large need for more housing in the rural center of Montana.

This need for housing pushed the city of Lewistown to move forward with development plans for the 18 acres that was formerly Berg Lumber Property.

“With VACOM, which is a German manufacturing company that will be building a factory in Montana and selected Lewistown as that site, and so they're in their process of kind of getting up and running, with their facilities hoping to be up and functional by 2027. We have seen an uptick in interest and people looking to relocate to Lewistown,” said Phelps.

The housing development plans for the former Berg Lumber site are projected to be done by the end of 2026, in time for VACOM to be finishing up by 2027.