A home in Billings Heights that is owned by the Housing Authority is one of 52 single-family homes and three duplex buildings being considered for sale. The home is part of the organization’s long-term plan to reduce the amount of stand-alone property it owns.CASEY PAGE, Billings Gazette

A series of public meetings has been scheduled by the Housing Authority of Billings to gather community feedback and share information regarding the possible sale of all single-family units owned by the entity. 

Meetings will take place at the Housing Authority, 2415 First Ave. N., in the large conference room and are scheduled for 5:30 p.M. On Feb. 10; 10 a.M. On Feb. 12, and 11 a.M. On Feb. 22. ×

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In January, the authority announced its plans to assess all single-family homes and duplexes for market values and is in process of preparing a proposal for its board of directors to approve regarding sale of these units. Public input is part of the process, and a final proposal, if approved, will be sent on to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for approval before the sale of these properties can take place. 

All three of these meetings will cover the same information and are expected to last approximately two hours, said Patti Webster, executive director of the Housing Authority of Billings.

Residents or interested members of the public who are unable to make the meeting are encouraged to reach out to Webster for further details. 

A Montana ranch that actor Mel Gibson owned for 17 years has hit the market for $29.8 million, ranch brokerage Hall and Hall told Business Insider.

Gibson bought the ranch in 1988 and sold it in 2005 to Kent and Pam Williams, who founded jewelry and silver company Montana Silversmiths, in a “handshake deal,” The Missoulian reported at the time.

The Williams made a trip to California to visit Gibson and then made a verbal deal to buy the ranch. Right before the sale closed, Gibson reportedly came to the ranch to thank his employees for their years of service.

“Everything was on a handshake,” Kent Williams said.

The Beartooth Ranch spans 12,350 acres of irrigated meadows, pastures, and pine foothills in southern Montana. Randy C. Shelton of Hall and Hall holds the listing.

Take a look at the sprawling property once owned by Gibson. 

A 10,000-square-foot Lake Forest house comes complete with ceiling murals that depict scenes such as a dinner hosted by Cleopatra.

Sixteen years after building the six-bedroom house on Gavin Court not as a home but strictly as a place to showcase their collection of works by sculptors, painters, taxidermists and others, Alfonso “Lon” and Linda Mellijor listed the property Jan. 27, asking just under $3 million.

The asking price is below their total investment in the real estate itself, not counting the extensive murals and other decorative finishes, said Lon Mellijor, a retired cancer surgeon. In 2003, they paid $1.65 million to buy the house from a builder who had completed less than three-quarters of it, he said. (Linda Mellijor is traveling and unavailable for comment.)

In the early 2000s, the couple planned to build a museum building near their home in Winthrop Harbor, Mellijor said, but ultimately decided that west Lake Forest would be a better spot for attracting attention to the work of the artists they collect and support.

“When we like artists, we commission them to do their very best work for us, and we show it here” at weddings and events they host at the house and on private tours, Mellijor said. More than a dozen sculptures stand on the 1.8-acre grounds, visible to passersby on Waukegan Road. Inside the house are many more sculptures as well as paintings and antique artifacts such as Peruvian mirrors and hand-painted buffalo hides.

The collections are arranged in the house thematically, and most rooms have both art that will be removed at sale time and artistic finishes that will not. The ground-floor room that would have been the master bedroom is filled with framed paintings and artifacts of the American West, which will be removed, and capped by a full-ceiling mural of a vast landscape that resembles Monument Valley, which will stay.

“We want someone to have this who appreciates it all,” Mellijor said. “That’s what’s important, not making a profit.” Hence the price that starts out below their total investment in the home.

“When we started this 16 years ago, I never thought about selling it one day,” Mellijor said.

The basement contains the Mellijors’ collection of taxidermy animals, all crafted by a taxidermist who acquired only animals who had died in zoos. “I think hunting beautiful animals for trophies is such a waste,” Mellijor said. “I would not buy those.”

The collection includes a pair of tigers in repose in one room. In another, where the original builder put a small indoor pool, the Mellijors drained it and put in 10 animals—lions, zebras, monkeys, a water buffalo—in a scene around a watering hole (where a mirror takes the place of the water’s surface).

While not included in the price of the house, the African diorama and some other art is available to the eventual buyer, Mellijor said. Much of it is being transferred to not-for-profit museums, by sale and by donation, as the Mellijors have advanced in age. 

A buyer will have to make some changes. In the master bath, the tub was covered by a tile top that serves as a platform for sculptures, and “there’s not really a kitchen,” said Patrick Milhaupt, one of two Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty agents representing the house. On the main floor there’s a warming kitchen for caterers to use, and there’s a small kitchen in the basement.

“You’re going to have to build out a kitchen if you’re going to live here full-time,” Milhaupt said. Mellijor said he and his wife built a bedroom suite on the second floor where they could stay after events, “but we always decided to just go home instead.” A mural artist lived for a while in an apartment in the garage, but otherwise the home has not been occupied, Milhaupt said.

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