Local real estate developers Mike Delaney and Ileana Indreland are proposing to build a 32-acre, walkable retail center west of Bozeman that's intended to compete with the city's historic Main Street.
Early designs for Spring Creek Village Resort call for retail stores, restaurants, bars, a hotel and a central park with ice skating and movies.
"It will look like a mini version of downtown Bozeman," Delaney said. "So, as you approach Bozeman from Big Sky, coming in from Four Corners, all the sudden you'll see, hopefully, something that might be quite interesting to look at."
The mixed-use, commercial and residential development would be constructed on vacant land along Huffine Lane, between Ferguson Avenue and Resort Drive, across from The Ridge Athletic Club.
Delaney and Indreland also have separate plans to eventually build a hospital and medical campus with "boutique doctors" next door. The couple owns another 20 acres of land along Huffine Lane just west of the Spring Creek site, between Resort Drive and Cottonwood Road.
Delaney has talked about developing the property for years, but these plans are still preliminary. Delaney and Indreland have submitted an informal application to the city to get input on the Spring Creek idea before filing a formal application. No final decisions are made during an informal review.
This isn't the first time a developer has tried to replicate downtown.
"Certainly, the concept of trying to replicate downtown in an outlying commercial area is not new," said Chris Naumann, executive director of the Downtown Bozeman Partnership. "There's certain aspects that no matter how hard you try, you can't match - the appeal of the historic buildings and the types of businesses that are attracted to a historic Main Street."
Spring Creek would also compete with the Bozeman Gateway shopping center, which houses Rosauers Supermarket, on the south side of Huffine.
The Gateway project -- a 72-acre, pedestrian-friendly outdoor mall with an open-air plaza, several large retail stores, restaurants, two residential towers and possibly a multiplex cinema - was started in 2005 and was expected to take 10 years to build out. But as of last fall, it was a few years behind schedule. Developer Ted Mitchell, of Mitchell Development Group in Great Falls, has said he is trying to line up retailers to fill the space before going any further.
But Delaney says Spring Creek would be different because there are already homes all around it.
"Ours is more of a community-driven village that caters to people in and around it," rather than attracting highway traffic, with people coming from Belgrade or other surrounding areas, he said. "Ours you wouldn't have to drive to."
The Spring Creek site was originally zoned for office buildings; stores and homes were not permitted. But in April 2008, the Bozeman City Commission rezoned the property to a urban mixed-use district, allowing Delaney's development to move forward.
If the project is approved, Delaney said construction on the first phase could begin as early as next year.
"We might be ready to build a little piece of it," he said.
The first phase would likely include a hotel, restaurant, bank and a retail building on the land closest to The Ridge, which he also developed, he said.
Additional phases call for dozens of one-, two- and three-story mixed-use buildings, an indoor/outdoor driving range, a nine-hole putting course and a central park.
In the central park, he said outdoor movies could be shown in the summer, and in the winter, it could be turned into an ice skating rink.
Completing Spring Creek, though, could take years.
"It might be a five-year process and it might be a 10-year process, but we've always been bullish on that location," Delaney said.
The hospital and medical campus Delaney and Indreland want to build would be designed so that people could stay at the hotel and eat and shop at the neighboring shops and restaurants while their relatives are in the hospital, Delaney said.
Both the hospital and Spring Creek Village Resort, he said, could serve the growing population on the city's west side.
He said studies have shown that 85 percent of Gallatin County residents "rarely, if ever, eat or shop in downtown Bozeman."
"That means downtown merchants are only getting 15 percent of the residents," he said.
Those figures could not be confirmed. Naumann said he hadn't heard that statistic.
Delaney, who also built The Village Downtown, a high-end residential project at the east end of downtown Bozeman, said, "We need another 1,000 homes built close to Main Street to make it better."
Downtown also has less traffic than the city's west end, he said. Twice as many cars enter the city on Huffine than via the Interstate 90 interchange on East Main Street near downtown, according to Montana Department of Transportation traffic counts. About 19,000 vehicles come from the west each day while 9,000 come from the east end.
For downtown to prosper, Delaney said, quality development needs to be encouraged on the east end in order to encourage drivers to take that exit.
The city's Planning Board is slated to review the Spring Creek Village Resort proposal at 7:30 p.m. on July 7 at City Hall. Planning Board meetings are televised live on Bresnan's channel 20.
Amanda Ricker can be reached at email@example.com or 582-2628.