An Innovative Developer’s Legacy

By Beacon Staff

Eric Berry left behind a legacy.

Business partners say he had boundless energy and persistent creativity, which inspired projects like the impressive Eastside Brick condominium complex in Kalispell and a similar renovation project in Libby.

Berry, a developer, building designer and innovator, died in a motorcycle accident near Kalispell on May 16 at the age of 37. Four days later, the first open house for Eastside Brick was held.

Vince Padilla, one of Berry’s partners in the project, said it was appropriate to move forward with the open house.

“Eric would have wanted it that way,” Padilla said. “The show must go on – Eric being the showman he was.”

Padilla said when the project is completed, a permanent placard will be placed on the side of the building dedicating it to Berry, who is survived by two daughters and a son.

Eastside Brick is a sweeping renovation project that has transformed the old Kalispell general hospital into a sleek, urban-tinged condominium complex. It has 58 condos that resemble apartments you might find in Manhattan. There are 20 residential suites, eight work studios geared toward artists and 30 office spaces. Forty-two of the 58 condos have already been sold, Padilla said. The open house was intended to show the remaining unsold condos to potential buyers.

Among the businesses and professionals already committed to condos are a psychologist, a painter and a massage therapist, among many others. A few more condos still need to be finished, Padilla said, as does the exterior of a coffeehouse located next to Eastside. Completion is set for late June, though Padilla said now that date could be pushed back.

Berry oversaw the design aspects of the project.

“Eric will definitely be missed,” Padilla said. “He had a lot of energy. He brought a lot to this project as well as the valley.”

Berry was also the co-managing partner of a similar renovation project in Libby that is currently in the design and late planning stages. He was the head planner and project manager, which included financial management duties, of the Libby Lofts, co-partner Scott Curry said. The Lofts, located in the original Libby High School built in 1919, has residential condos, artist work studios and office spaces like Eastside.

Curry said the Lofts project is 90 to 95 percent planned, and he is trying to gather information from people Berry had spoken with to figure out the rest of the planning details. Then the project will move forward.

“Everyone wants to continue and help put Eric’s plan into action and see it through,” Curry said.

Last week, the building teams took a break to “put Eric to rest,” Curry said. Curry, like Padilla, spoke of Berry’s endless energy.

“We’re definitely going to miss him,” Curry said. “He was a great guy.”