Sobo Lofts

Construction workers rebuild the Sobo Lofts on Wednesday.

Investigators were unable to determine what caused a fire that burned down an under-construction, four-story apartment complex near downtown Bozeman, and an architect for the project said developers are rebuilding it.

The SOBO Lofts, located at the intersection of Babcock Street and Eighth Avenue, caught fire in the middle of a February night. Bozeman firefighters found the roughly 50,000-square-foot building fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.

Rob Pertzborn, architect for the project, said an investigation into the fire is complete and investigators say they don’t know what ignited the fire. The fire burned down the wooden parts of the building, but Pertzborn said 80% of its concrete foundation wasn’t destroyed.

He said the building was insured and crews restarted building the SOBO, or South Bozeman, lofts a few months ago. The project, he said, would be the same as what was approved in spring 2017 for the former Pizza Hut site across the street from the Haufbrau, Molly Brown and Scoop bars.

The site plans call for 42 apartments on the upper levels and some commercial space on the bottom level. Pertzborn said a new completion date is scheduled for July 2020.

“Same team, same program, another year for the process,” he said.

Pertzborn said people would be living in the building now if it weren’t for the February fire. He said the incident put the project about a year-and-a-half behind schedule.

On Thursday, a fence with a black sheet covering the worksite lined most of the perimeter around the building. Signs that read, “no trespassing,” “danger construction area keep out” and “these premises protected by video surveillance” hung from the fence.

A red crane hovered above the two stories already built, and plywood covered the foundation that was saved from the fire. Construction crews with hard hats shuffled around the site.

Freddy Monares can be reached at or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.


Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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