northern hotel
Northern Hotel, a Billings, MT landmark hotel, recently underwent a significant renovation, with the help of A&E Architects, Langlas & Associates (general contractor), and MKK Consulting Engineers. The project resulted in being honored by the Montana Preservation Alliance’s 2013 Historical Preservation Excellence Award.

From The Billings Gazette:

The winners of the 2013 Historic Preservation Excellence Awards will be honored Oct. 24 when the Montana Preservation Alliance holds its annual meeting at the Northern Hotel in downtown Billings.

Among the winners, appropriately enough, will be brothers Mike and Chris Nelson, who restored the landmark hotel, and Langlas & Associates, the contractor that managed to complete the complex rehabilitation project in just over a year.

“I’m just really happy for the Northern,” said Mike Nelson, general manager of the hotel. “These kinds of things are a big honor.”

Christine Brown, outreach and education director for the Montana Preservation Alliance, said this will be the first time the organization has had it annual meeting in Billings.

The alliance annually honors people “who have made great strides to save and protect Montana’s special historic buildings and places,” according to an MPA press release.

The Nelsons were chosen for their efforts to restore the Northern Hotel, which they purchased at auction in 2009, three years after it had been padlocked.

As the MPA says in its statement, the Nelsons had trouble finding conventional financing during an economic downturn and ended up using their own money to begin demolishing the hotel interior.

When financing did become available in 2011, the release said, “they gave the job to Langlas & Associates. Langlas had just 385 days to redo the entire 160-room hotel (and) build two restaurants and a catering kitchen.”

The alliance also lauded the Nelsons for honoring the history of the Northern with a restored neon sign, a lobby that combines modern furnishings with an art deco sensibility, the 1940s-inspired TEN restaurant and the 1950s-style Bernie’s Diner.

“Above and beyond the rehabilitation of the building, the Nelsons also went the extra mile to nominate the Northern for listing in the National Register of Historic Places,” the alliance said. Last June, three months after the hotel reopened, the Northern was officially listed in the register.