BUTTE — From the outside, it looks like just another century-old warehouse building in Uptown Butte, but step inside and you’re transported into a really hip living space. This is part of the potential and, frankly, magic that a couple in Butte sees in restoring these old buildings.
“They literally don’t build them like this anymore. People say that all the time, but it’s really true and, for us, it’s just really important to kind of bring them back to life and have a new story,” said Maisie Sulser.
The couple recently moved to Butte from Billings to turn this three-story warehouse at 701 S. Wyoming Street into apartments. Maisie is an architect and her husband, Mike Handley, is in construction. Both said they were attracted to Butte because it had so many vacant historic buildings to work with.
“To me, it’s just much more inspirational to start with something that’s already here. It’s much more sustainable, there’s a lot of embodied energy in these buildings, so repurposing them, reusing them, and not getting rid of them is really important,” said Sulser.
The debate as to whether to save old buildings or demolish them has been raging in Butte over the past few years.
“You have to save your fabric; I mean, the buildings are here, it’s possible to save them,” she said.
The couple admits it takes plenty of work to refurbish an old building, but it’s worth the effort.
“This building had been in a fire in the 80s, there’s was quite a bit of damage, and some of it got repaired, but to take something that was a non-useable vacant building and just bring it and modernizing it and making it look like it does not is just really satisfying,” said Handley.
People can tour the Wyoming Street building and five other restored properties during Butte’s Dust to Dazzle event beginning at noon on June 25.