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Engen confident of Riverfront Triangle's impact - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Engen confident of Riverfront Triangle's impact

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Plans for redeveloping the area along the Clark Fork River have been in the works for years. (MTN News photo) Plans for redeveloping the area along the Clark Fork River have been in the works for years. (MTN News photo)
MISSOULA -

Missoula Mayor John Engen believes the proposed Riverfront Triangle project holds the key to the future of Missoula Downtown by providing millions of dollars in investment, and hundreds of jobs. 

Engen also says that it's only through the partnership with private developers that the project can get off the ground. He made the observations on Monday as the Missoula City Council unanimously approved the development agreement for the Hotel Fox.

"This project is much bigger because we have had a partner with vision. This project is much bigger because this council and local government have a tool through tax increment financing to enhance projects -- to make them more than the sum of their parts," Engen said. "And by virtue of our investment, we'll stimulate the downtown economy increase in significant ways."

It's taken just over five years for the city to reach this point, a longer-than-expected exploration of the project. That was primarily due to Engen and city officials encouraging Hotel Fox Partners to broaden their original plans to include a 10,000-square foot conference center. And last year that expanded to include the entire Riverfront Triangle, which will eventually place $150 million in hotel, retail, residential and public space on nine acres.

"This development will revitalize the riverfront and provide plaza and park space and public space that doesn't exist today. What exists is a pretty ratty looking surface parking lot and a derelict three-tiered parking garage [along] the Clark Fork River. And that will change," Engen said.

The developer's agreement is just one of several contracts which is being drafted to open the way for the hotel, which anchors the entire Riverfront Triangle development. 

RELATED: Missoula leaders see great opportunity with Hotel Fox proposal

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