Cocktails flowed while conversation and laughter permeated the dark wood walls and gray stone tile floors of the AC Hotel lobby.
Members of the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce and the hotel’s developer, Andy Holloran, gathered behind an eight foot long red ribbon. A giant pair of wooden scissors snipped through the bright fabric, signaling the grand opening of the hotel Monday night.
The AC Hotel is one of 10 projects that Holloran and his company HomeBase have built or are in the process of building in Bozeman.
The building is next door to the Element Hotel, another Holloran project, on the corner of Mendenhall Street and Tracey Avenue.
The 143-room AC Hotel, which is a brand of the Marriott hotel chain, was conceptualized nine years ago. Construction took roughly two years to complete and cost close to $40 million, Holloran said.
The pandemic took its toll on the project, causing material delays and shortages in manpower. Ultimately, the project was pushed back by about three months, Holloran said.
“It does take a village,” Holloran said at the grand opening.
The facility includes a fitness center and 2,500 square feet of meeting space, which Holloran said could be divided into three different configurations.
The lobby is built to transform throughout the day. In the morning, the space acts as a breakfast bar, eventually morphing into a coworking environment. By evening time, it becomes a bar.
The sixth floor features a restaurant and bar called the Benchmark, too.
Jason Cure, the general manager of the hotel, was the one who cut the ribbon. The hotel is still hiring. Cure said that staffing would rely on a worker’s availability, and that the hotel could eventually employ well over 70 people.
The last two months had been a whirlwind in preparing to get the hotel open, he said.
“I can’t express the joy enough to see everyone enjoying themselves,” Cure said.
Daryl Schliem, CEO of the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce, said that one area the chamber looks at is how to make downtown Bozeman more viable.
About 4.2 million people drive through Bozeman, and roughly 1.7 million stay at hotels in the area he said.
The state applies a 4% bed tax on hotels. Schliem said that last year Bozeman had 2,000 hotel rooms which generated about $4.4 million in tax revenue.
The bed tax for the AC Hotel could create hundreds of thousands of dollars, Holloran said.
The property tax collected from the hotel would be substantial, too. Holloran said that the AC Hotel should generate about “20 times” the amount of tax money compared to the previous amount of money collected from the property.
Visitors staying at the hotel could also have a ripple effect on businesses downtown. Holloran said that on average, people spend about double on services — like bars, restaurants, shopping — than what they pay for a room.
“When you put another 300 to 400 people in the heart of downtown who are all spending money and enjoying everything that downtown has to offer, it’s great for downtown businesses,” Holloran said.