Can't Find Housing For Your Workers? Buy A Motel!

<p>Motels fill a critical housing niche in Montana's booming mountain resort region known as "Big Sky" outside Yellowstone Park: they house area workers as well as guests. While the rooms are shared to reduce costs, dangerous commuting is eliminated.</p>
February 20, 2007, 9am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"Faced with a severe housing shortage for its workers, at least two resorts, the Yellowstone Club and Big Sky Resorts, picked an unusual solution. Each bought a motel it intended to continue operating for travelers, as well as for housing workers and contractors."

"Soaring land prices and building costs have put the price of housing far beyond the reach of many new resort and construction workers." But there's a catch - the rooms aren't free.

"The employees will receive discounts on rooms, which rent for $100 to $150 a night depending on the season. Who gets those discounts and how much they amount to depend on what a worker's 'job is and how much we need them,' said Dax Schieffer, public relations manager for Big Sky Resorts."

"Many workers are choosing to double or triple up to save money, which can make for lively, if cramped, quarters."

"Considering the area's isolation, limited public transportation, narrow roads, and treacherous winter weather, the new housing is expected to save lives by allowing more workers to avoid a potentially dangerous daily commutes from Bozeman, 32 miles away."

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Published on Saturday, February 17, 2007 in The New York Times via International Herald Tribune

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