The value of logs and lumber exported from North America to Asia fell by 33% from 2013 to 2015, with the 2016 export value on pace to reach the lowest level since 2010, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. Exportation of wood products from the North American west coast to Asia was fairly uneventful up until 2010 when shipment of particularly logs from the US and lumber from British Columbia took off to levels not seen for almost 20 years. From 2009 to 2013, the value of logs and lumber shipped over the Pacific Ocean surged from 1.7 billion dollars to 4.9 billion dollars. Since the record high in 2013, the total export value has fallen quite substantially and was just over 3.3 billion dollars in 2015.

A new facility at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital is providing space for the WWAMI Medical Education Program at Montana State University, as well as strengthening the program’s collaboration with Bozeman Health and local physicians. Two large classrooms, several offices and other facilities on the newly completed second floor of the Highland Park 5 Medical Office Building will be the new home of the MSU WWAMI program. Locating the new space at the hospital largely eliminates the need for students and faculty to travel back and forth between campus and the hospital .

Carroll College, Helena, is building a second phase of dormitory expansion on the east side of campus. They built the first two apartment buildings over a year ago, A new activity center is expected to be completed this fall.

In Great Falls, Apricot Lane is opening in Holiday Village Mall.

Construction has begun on the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Montana. It will open at 35 Treeline Road in Kalispell this November. Montana is the 44th state into which the chain fast food company has expanded.

Yellowstone Hall, Montana State University’s first freshman residence hall to be built in half a century, will open this fall to 400 incoming freshman students. The new Y-shaped hall features four floors and three wings with mountain views and natural light. The rooms boast high ceilings and lofted beds to make them feel more spacious. Living options include single or double rooms or a semi-suite set-up that has double rooms with sinks on either side of a shared bathroom.

The Gallatin area real estate market stabilized in July after a strong second quarter. The average sale price rose while total residential sales decreased in Gallatin County in July of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. A total of 222 residences were sold in the Southwest Montana Multiple Listing Service service area during July 2016 compared to 250 in July 2015, an 11% decrease. The average sale price in July 2016 was $386,895, a seven percent increase from the July 2015 average sale price of $361,439. Total sales volume was $85,890,669 during July 2016, down five percent compared to $90,359,855 in July 2015. These numbers were current as of Aug. 17.

Chicago-based Weltman Bernfield LLC announced that the firms are merging their practices with Wipfli LLP (Wipfli), one of the top 20 accounting and consulting firms in the United States, effective September 1. As part of this combination, more than 45 Weltman Bernfield professionals, including nine partners, have joined more than 1,600 professionals at Wipfli. The combined firm will have more than 1,700 associates, including over 200 partners, and 39 office locations in the United States and India, including four offices in Chicagoland.

A second Walmart is slated for Great Falls. Construction will go on through the winter with an opening expected next spring. The new superstore will be located at the end of 10th Avenue South.

Amber Renee Photography opened in Sidney on August 12. Photographer Amber Breuker began photographing her kids just for fun in Billings, and eventually branched out doing family shoots; her specialty is wedding photography and graduation pictures. Breuker, who has a BA in education and worked as a first grade teacher, decided to pursue her passion for photography, as the career was more conducive to staying home with her children.

Construction has started on Butte’s new $13 million airport – Bert Mooney Airport.

In Helena, the new building for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana’s is nearing completion in the Mountain View Meadows development east of the auto mall on Highway 12 East. They plan to move into the 100,000 sq. ft. building this month.

In Great Falls, RDI Community Lending has been designated as a certified Community Development Financial Institution by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Executive Director is Jennifer Rogers. As a certified CDFI, RDI Community Lending joins a national network of organizations that are dedicated to providing financial services to meet the needs of economically disadvantaged individuals within underserved communities.

Market Update

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