"When the Story family built the mansion, they incorporated a ballroom up here on the third floor as a place for social gatherings and special events for the community" Andy Epple said, gesturing to a giant room that takes up most of the third floor of the Story Mansion.
Epple is the president of the Exergy Friends of the Story Mansion- the group that's buying the historic home after Bozeman City Commissioners voted unanimously to sell the mansion during their Monday night meeting.
"The main floor of the mansion itself will continue to be rented and made available for private parties or community groups for special activities" Epple said.
The city bought the mansion in April of 2003 for a little over a million dollars. Since then, they've spend time restoring the first floor, and rented it out to the community for activities.
Per the contract with City Commissioners, the mansion would continue to function as it does now.
That includes the upkeep of the park outside, Epple said. But they have bigger plans in store.
"Our hope for the second and third floors of the main building here is to have an educational nonprofit" he said. They're also looking to have nonprofits move into the carriage house next to the mansion, or use it for community purposes.
The City Commission had strict terms for the sale. Exergy had to agree to huge renovations.
They have to take on 2 of 3 projects- including renovating the second or third floor, or the carriage house.
Or, they have to invest at least $1.5 million into the property in some other way.
"If that doesn't happen the first five years, the property goes back to the city" City Manager Chris Kukulski said, if Exergy doesn't keep up their end of the deal.
Kukulski said it's been a long and complicated process. And, it hasn't come without controversy.
The city has invested over $2 million in restoring, it but are selling for just under $400,000.
And there's been community concerns over a private entity taking ownership.
But Kukulski said the contract created was specifically meant to keep the home on track for restoration, and in the community's hands.
Plus, he said, it won't be a financial burden on the city.
"It will no longer be something in our annual budget to figure out how to maintain and operate, but it is accessible to the public" Kukulski said.
Now is the time to sell, he said, with the terms that Exergy will pick up where the city left off.
And Epple said they're more than happy to do that.
"Our hope is that the Story Mansion will become even more of a community focal center than it is currently" he said.
Now that City Commissioners have given the green light on the sale, there is a process of finalizing the document before it takes effect.
Epple said he expects the title to be in Exergy's hands by July 1st.