BUTTE — The old facade of the former Northwestern Energy building is coming down. It’s a sign of change by a film production company that’s moving in, and it hopes to embrace a new industry of arts and entertainment in the Mining City.
“You know, as long as things keep moving in the direction they have been over the last couple of years, I really think, not just Butte, but the entire state of Montana is really set up to be a major film hub for the country, really,” said Montana Studios CEO Steve Grover.
Montana Studios purchased the 115,000 square-foot building in early 2020. It will have office space, residential living spaces, and a large production facility for the television and film industry.
“Large locker rooms, several rooms for dressing rooms, wardrobes, hair and makeup; so in two floors we really cover everything that’s needed for a base camp for small production,” said Grover.
A major change to the building is restoring its original look by removing the blue/green facade that was put on the building in the 1960s. Crews were being careful to not damage the original facade, making the work slow-going.
“The boss told us if we break a window there goes our bonus. So we’re definitely being careful, you know, that costs extra time and money when you have accidents,” said construction worker Brian Gray.
When it comes to utilizing Butte's creative community, Grover made clear that's part of the plan.
“Absolutely, between the Covellite that’s already here and the Orphan Girl Theatre, you guys have two really good theater programs already going. Yeah, definitely it’s going to take the community getting behind this and being part of it,” said Grover.