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The developers and marketers of the proposed Shiloh Commons have been surprised at the level of interest from restaurants in the new residential/retail complex under construction at the corner of Shiloh Road and Central Avenue.

So far seven – and maybe eight– have committed to locating in the first phase of the four-phase project, which will consist of four 4-story structures, and one other smaller pad.

The kinds of restaurants run the gamut and most will open in the spring in the first building to be completed, in March, located at the south end of the complex. And, there are other retailers also committed, says George Warmer of Coldwell Banker Commercial CBS, which has been designated as the marketing agent for Shiloh Commons. Other tenants include a high-end nationally known pet store, a tailor and dry cleaners, and a women’s clothing store, and maybe a men’s clothing store.

Warmer was joined by David Mitchell, another CBS principal, and Dan Carr, the Commercial Leasing Director for Shiloh Commons, to meet with the Big Sky Business Journal for an update on the project which was launched last spring.

Despite the heavy rains of the past couple of weeks, “Everything is on schedule,” declared Carr. The first building is partially up and more than 50 percent of it is spoken for.

The new restaurants include a new concept in a coffee shop, which includes a bakery. A national sandwich franchise, new to the area, and other franchises new to Billings. There will be a fine dining steak house, a Mexican restaurant, a pizzeria and a brewery.

It will be just the kind of mix that will draw people to Shiloh Commons which is aimed at being a “downtown” on the west end of Billing. “Experience urban life – Montana style,” is its slogan.

 “The restaurants are a mixture of new concept franchises, second locations of restaurants already established in Billings, or expansions of established local restaurants,” said Warmer. Another surprise is that most of the tenants are asking for more space than developers thought they would.

Mitchell attributed interest in the site to the fact that there isn’t much else located in the area – an area that is populated by some 3000 students daily attending City College, and the Career Center, across the street,  and the very large Faith Chapel just a block away—not to mention what will probably be some 300 residents living in the apartments. “It has built-in clientele,” said Mitchell.

“I don’t think we have ever had a project as well received by the community,” said Warmer, “The project offers the most amenities to the broadest range of individuals.”

Shiloh Commons will feature retail space at ground level, 144 (1, 2 and 3 bedroom) apartments on the upper floors, and underground parking for tenants. They will start taking apartment reservations before the year’s end.

The other three phases are projected for a June, August and October completion.

The city will begin, in the spring, their project to widen Central Avenue to 32nd Street, starting construction first at the point it runs by Shiloh Commons.