With the help of the Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation (MICDC), Big Sky Western Bank and the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program, construction has begun on a remodeled Butte Copper King Hotel and Convention Center in the South Harrison Avenue corridor. Developers Matt and Ben Nistler and Rex Leipheimer purchased the property in December 2015 and plan to reopen the hotel in May 2017 with a sophisticated conference and event center, as well as a Rib & Chop House restaurant.
The Copper King was a Butte mainstay for decades, providing a much-needed gathering spot for the community. Over the last 10 years, mismanagement and a series of ownership changes led to the property’s decline. Three years ago, the most recent owner filed bankruptcy and closed the hotel.
The Nistlers and Leipheimer wanted to see the landmark brought back to life, but the cost to remodel the hotel made the project too expensive. To make the project work, the developers partnered with MICDC and Big Sky Western Bank to bring NMTCs to Butte for the third time.
“We work with banks to turn the federal tax credits into cash and then use the money to invest in businesses that will have a profound effect on areas that need revitalization,” said Dave Glaser, MICDC’s President. “In the case of the Copper King, $9.925 million was allocated to the project through the NMTC Program.”
The remodeled Copper King will mean good jobs for Butte; the developers plan to hire 63 full-time and 35 part-time workers. But the hotel’s impact goes well beyond jobs. The Copper King is also expected to be a catalyst for more development nearby, and several adjacent projects are already in the works. The addition of a conference center will also allow Butte more opportunity to be a host city for large events. With its location near the Bert Mooney Airport, the hotel will also provide a welcoming first impression for visitors.
In November, more tax credits may be available for Montana businesses. This year, the federal government authorized $7 billion for the NMTC Program. MICDC has secured $341 million for Montana and Idaho since 2008, and hopes to receive more this year.
“The redevelopment of the Copper King Inn by Matt and Ben Nistler and Rex Leipheimer is great news and much appreciated,” said Pamela Haxby-Cote, Executive Director of the Butte Local Development Corporation. “Their new multimillion-dollar facility will provide a unique combination of first-class dining, meeting and room accommodations. The project will support many new jobs and will generate new economic activity for Butte. The BLDC is pleased that MICDC was able to bring New Markets Tax Credits financing to the project, ultimately making it viable.”
U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines have been supportive of the NMTC Program for years and would like to see it used more in Montana.
“This is a great project for Butte that capitalizes on the rich history of the Mining City and also moves the community forward by creating jobs and strengthening tourism,” Tester said. “This is a prime example of how New Markets Tax Credits help revitalize and transform Montana.”
“The New Markets Tax Credit is a proven vehicle that spurs private development, creates good-paying jobs and increases economic opportunity,” Daines said. “This tax credit will help facilitate the creation of almost 100 new jobs in Butte and will help to continue to spur new economic development.”
Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation
Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation (MICDC) provides consulting services and financing to entrepreneurs and small business owners across Montana and Idaho, as well as affordable housing solutions in Montana. MICDC was one of the first Community Development Finance Institutions in the country to be certified by the U.S. Treasury, and its powerful New Markets Tax Credit Program creates new partnerships with bankers, businesses and local development organizations throughout the region. Since its start in 1986, the nonprofit MICDC has grown to nearly $400 million in loans under management, with offices in Missoula, Bozeman and Boise. Learn more at http://mtcdc.org/.
New Markets Tax Credit Program
The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program was established by Congress in 2000 to encourage the investment of private capital to create jobs, generate economic activity and improve the quality of services in designated low-income communities and to low-income people. Learn more at https://www.cdfifund.gov/.