BUTTE — For years, a century-old building in the heart of Uptown, Butte has been nothing but a boarded-up shell, but city officials are encouraged that a developer with deep pockets is trying to bring it back to life.
“We’re just thrilled to see the amount of activity of interest and investment,” said Community Development Director Karen Byrnes.
The 130-year-old building at 75 E. Park Street, known as the Exer-Dance Building, has been vacant for decades and in disrepair.
“That was one of the buildings that we really felt was at risk of possibly losing, so it’s nice to see somebody had a vision of that building to bring it back to its former glory,” said Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher.
The current owners, Rick and Brandy Ford, are restoring the building in the hopes of selling the ground-level floor for businesses, with apartments on the two upper floors. Butte’s Urban Revitalization Authority has granted $300,000 for a project that’s estimated at more than $8 million.
“And they really have a plan for what that building’s going to be rather than just purchase the building, sitting on it and hoping something comes,” said Gallagher.
Marlys Granlund owns Whitehead’s Cutlery next to the building and hopes to see it restored one day.
“I think it’s going to be wonderful that it isn’t a pigeon hotel anymore, you know, that would be very, very nice to see that restored to be a beautiful building,” said Granlund.
It’s going to be a few years before this project’s completed and the high cost of building materials is making it an expensive one, yet the city is encouraged by the developer’s dedication.
“The fact that people are still pushing through and wanting to do these and moving at the pace that they can is really encouraging to me,” said Byrnes.