Boutique hotel planned for the site of the closed apartments of the memorial park in Helena | Local

A pair of Helena entrepreneurs plan to bring what they consider to be the city’s first boutique hotel to the site of the long-shuttered Memorial Park Apartments on Lyndale Avenue.

Karli Mosey and AshLy Tubbs have forged meaningful professional and personal relationships, previously creating a subscription gift sets service which they believe gave them the courage to go further.

This higher reach is a proposed 12-room luxury hotel with a mid-century modern aesthetic that could offer Helena-centric vacation packages and amenities provided by small local businesses.

“We want to find creative ways to show people the best of Helena, from coffee in their cups to shampoo in the showers,” Tubbs said Tuesday.






AshLy Tubbs, left, and Karli Mosey, two entrepreneurs from Helena, have offered to build a 12-room boutique hotel on the site of the now closed Memorial Park Apartments.


ERIC SEIDLE, Independent Disc


Mosey detailed the first plans for the project in a pre-bid meeting Monday afternoon with the planning division of the city of Helena.

The hope is to start the asbestos removal and demolition of the existing structure this spring.

In addition to the hotel, Moser and Tubbs said they hope to create a second company to operate on the property. They measure the interest of a few different local businesses.






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Buck Rea bought the property from his family in 2000 and managed it as the 35-unit Memorial Park Apartments before it closed in 2017.


Jesse Chaney, independent record


The hotel will be named “The Bell, Helena’s Boutique Hotel”, a nod to a former business located at 40 E. Lyndale Ave.

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Originally known as Treasure State Court when it was built in the 1930s, the modest inn has undergone more than a few transitions over the decades. According to helenahistory.org, WL Bompart bought and renovated the property in 1952, giving it the nickname Bell Motel.

A 1961 advertisement praised the property’s 45 units and its proximity to Memorial Park playground and public swimming pool. “BEAUTY SHOP IN CONNECTION,” read the ad, similar to the latest site maps.

The couple’s first business venture, Community Crates, began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to bring local businesses together, providing an alternative source of income for those struggling to attract customers in person.

“We see this as a way to broaden and extend this original idea,” Mosey said in an interview on Tuesday. “The hotel is a greater opportunity to encourage support for local small businesses.”

She told the Planning Division on Monday that the project “would use nearby amenities and improve stays in downtown Helena, channeling tourists directly to small businesses in our community.”






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“I’m trying to make anything easier to improve the property,” said Buck Rea, owner of Shuttered Memorial Park Apartments.


Jesse Chaney, independent record


Tubbs said she hopes the new venture will honor Helena’s story as a modest repayment for the years of support she and her friend Mosey have received from the community in their personal and professional lives.

“There is so much that Helena has to offer that we can’t help but shout it from the rooftops,” Tubbs said.

Buck Rea, who bought the property from his family in 2000 and managed it as the 35-unit Memorial Park Apartments before it closed in 2017 due to costly repairs to the fire sprinkler system, will retain ownership of the property and will lease the land.

“Speaking to people all over town, everyone really wants something going on there other than what’s going on right now,” Rea told the Planning Division. “I’m trying to facilitate anything to improve the property.”

The duo are in the “dream and planning phase” as Tubbs said and “a lot of moving parts need to fall into place”.

City staff provided additional information on what should happen from their perspective for the project to move forward.

Due to the change in use of the property, a new approach permit will need to be obtained from the Montana Department of Transportation, as Lyndale Avenue forms part of Highway 12.

The property sits in what is now zoned as a downtown neighborhood, requiring a minimum structural height of 22 feet, a fairly new code intended to encourage the development of mixed-use structures.

With preliminary site plans detailing a shorter structure, they would have to request a waiver or rezoning.

An extension of the water pipe may also be necessary as the site now has no direct access.

Demolition will require a separate municipal permit and asbestos removal will have to go through Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality.

As the property falls under the city’s Railroad Urban Renewal District, the business partners intend to apply for tax increase financing funds to the city to help offset development costs.

Despite all the red tape, Tubbs said they were up to the task.

“Community Crates has taught Karli and I that we can do whatever we think about,” she said. “It was a great lesson we learned, to reach higher.”

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