Growing up in Germany, Albertina Homann fondly remembers a place in her hometown where teens, neighbors and alike could gather. After moving to Townsend to raise their three young boys, Tina saw the need for a community gathering space that would not only benefit her family but the entire community.
Fast forward to three years ago when the old Masonic Lodge in Townsend went up for sale. With her combined interest in creating a gathering space and restoring an old building, Tina began to investigate the potential for the building. She had previously renovated homes, but this was the first commercial-sized renovation project she had ever explored. Not quite sure where to start, she turned to the Montana Business Assistance Connection (MBAC). MBAC staff helped Tina define her vision for the space by identifying major needs in the community, such as childcare. MBAC also informed her about potential grants to help fund the renovation and connected her to organizations who could help such as the DEQ and Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund.
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Brownfields Program helped by conducting an environmental phase 1 assessment and estimating the cost of redeveloping the site up to code. The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund helped fund a feasibility study for the new space.
Once they assessed the feasibility and scope of the project, Tina enlisted the help of High Plains Architects out of Billings. Being her first commercial property renovation, High Plains helped Tina understand historic tax credits, codes, and more. After learning that she would be able to write off 20-25 percent of all feasible costs (i.e. renovation costs, architecture costs, etc.) she felt motivated to expand the renovation. This included adding a wheelchair lift, completely renovating the kitchen, replacing the roof, and moving the boilers, making more space for a teen activity room.
By expanding the scope of the renovation, the building will be able to serve more people in the community. “The Lodge of Townsend” includes childcare, a preschool, an event space, and a teen gathering space. With an assembly hall that accommodates up to 100 people, a full kitchen, and multiple other spaces to use, this building can now be utilized for a variety of purposes. Victor Sample, MBAC Board President and Townsend resident, has been a huge supporter of the new space and recently organized a pancake fundraiser breakfast at The Lodge of Townsend.
Tina hopes that this new space improves the quality of living in Townsend by providing a positive space for all to gather. Come join Tina and the community of Townsend on Saturday, August 10 for the GRAND OPENING of The Lodge of Townsend! Learn more here.
Mark your calendar for Broadwater Community Theatre’s show Kurves! The Musical, August 16 and 17 at The Lodge of Townsend. Learn more here.
Are you interested in renting The Lodge of Townsend for your next special event? Contact Tina Homann at (406) 360-4408 or [email protected]. What’s next for The Lodge? The building will soon be listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Tina also hopes to hire a manager to help with managing the event rentals in addition to hosting dinner theatre and supper clubs.
Article written by Anna Strange Consulting for the Montana Business Assistance Connection.