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SoBo Lofts expected to resume construction after fire investigation

Posted: 7:11 PM, Feb 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-21 21:34:17-05

BOZEMAN, Mont.- The developer behind Bozeman’s SoBo Lofts is planning to begin construction anew after an investigation is complete into the fire that destroyed the building that was under construction.

According to a project representative, the developer plans to start rebuilding the apartment complex once the investigation is complete. The representative said the investigation could take 60-90 days.

The representative, who has asked not to be named, said at the time of the fire, the apartment was 65 percent complete and was projected to be finished July 1st.

No rental leases were issued before the building, located near 7th and Babcock, burned to the ground.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. However, the city did release a statement on Thursday, Feb. 21, stating:  “At this point, we have no information suggesting this was a criminally set fire and all involved parties are cooperating with the investigation. “

As long as the developer of the project starts construction within the next six months a new building permit will not have to be issued by the city.

“A building permit is active until construction has stopped for 6 months,” said Communications Coordinator Melody Mileur. “In which case, the building permit expires.”

In cases of fire or other unforeseen catastrophes, including an unexpected shortage of money, the developer can reach out to the city for an extension of the permit. Once the project does start back up again, and as long as the design is the same, a new permit is not needed.

“If something happens to a project and construction stops,” said Mileur. ” and then they need to start that construction up again, as long as the building design has not changed, they can start building again without having to pull a new building permit or go through that design process,” said Mileur.

Mileur said even though a new permit does not have to be issued, the developer will have to pay the cost of city inspections.

The fire is still under investigation by Bozeman Police and Bozeman Fire departments.

Mileur said the city has not received any calls from the public this week but encourages anyone with information about the fire to contact Detective Joe Swanson at 582-2951.