|By Tim Trainor, The Montana Standard,
ButteMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 20--A business group is considering the development of a multi-million dollar upscale hotel and conference facility in Butte.
It is asking the county for a 10-year tax abatement to help get the project off the ground.
Butte Hotel Group, LLC, requested time at the May 27 Butte-Silver Bow council of commissioners' meeting for a presentation on the project.
"Although the development of this hotel project is not a certainty at this time, the Butte Hotel Group is moving forward on several fronts in hopes that the project will become a reality," wrote lawyer Rick Orizotti, the group's spokesman, in a letter dated May 15.
Orizotti said the project is "in its developmental stages and not a firm go," but he feels it could be a valuable addition to the area.
"We really felt that Butte is in need of a conference center and that is the main driver of this project," he said. "People really like to visit and come to Butte, but we need to have a facility that can host some of the larger conferences." Orizotti said the group is considering land on the Flat for the proposed hotel, which is projected to have about 120 rooms.
He said the group is negotiating with national hotel chains about being partners on the project, but declined to elaborate as talks remain underway.
He has received positive feedback from a number of top chains.
"They are interested," he said. "There is a good amount of interest for building in Butte." He said the group did not seriously consider purchasing the Copper King Hotel and Conference Center, which closed last September. The closure, however, spurred the development group to move forward with its project.
Orizotti said the group is asking for a tax abatement as a "shared assessment of risk" in the multi-million dollar project.
Orizotti said the group would release details at the May 27 council meeting. He said they plan a public hearing on June 3.
-- Reporter Tim Trainor may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 496-5519.
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