Billings Crime Riddled Lazy KT Hotel is Coming Down. Then What?
A big story this week in Billings was the announcement that the Lazy KT Hotel is slated for demolition. The dingy, budget hotel has been a hotspot for criminal activity at the corner of 14th St and 1st Ave N for years, with a reported 338 police calls to the property in the previous 24 months, according to a Billings Gazette article, citing East Billings Industrial Revitalization District (EBIRD) director Zack Terakedis.
Four business/property owners in the area pooled their resources to purchase the property (price undisclosed) and the hotel is now closed. Stopping by on Friday (7/9) revealed fencing around the building and cleanup efforts underway to remove leftover furniture, junk and other debris from the premises before heavy equipment begins demolition of the structure.
Hopefully someone will save the vintage sign.
Property tax records indicate the hotel was built in 1954 and I’m sure it was probably a decent place to stay during its early years. The 2021 appraisal value for the 24,000 sq. foot lot (over a 1/3 city block) with building and business is recorded as $769,900.
Will it just push crime elsewhere?
That’s the big question on everyone’s mind. While most residents in Billings are glad to see the Lazy KT demolished, it does raise the question of where the former hotel tenants will find new places to live. Not all of the occupants were drug dealers, users, and criminals, according to Billings City Councilwoman Penny Ronning.
Ronning noted in a recent Facebook post that these types of businesses also house families desperate for shelter. Tenants could include mothers or teens escaping extreme domestic violence at home. Other residents of the now-closed motel might have been individuals barely scraping above homelessness. The Lazy KT had 25 rooms, each with the capacity to house at least two people. That means approximately 50 people now have nowhere to sleep, lock a door or get out of the elements.
Councilwoman Ronning stopped by our studio today to discuss the recent development regarding the property and addressed the lack of affordable housing options in Billings. Take a listen below, and keep scrolling for photos of the vacant hotel.