MISSOULA — There's still a lot of design work to come for the newly approved hotel and convention center that will be erected on Missoula's Riverfront Triangle. Although we've only seen preliminary designs this week, developer Nick Checota is promising the project will be a good fit with Missoula.
"We've had a lot of discussion with the design team about making it have the characteristics and design quality that we think is important in Missoula," Checota said. "It's not going to be steel and glass. You're not going to see a lot of exposed steel. You're going to see more wood. You're going to see more natural materials, natural stone type of materials. We very much want it to have a Missoula feel but we also really want it to relate to the river and to the natural surroundings in which it sits."
When the Missoula Redevelopment Agency and the Missoula City Council approved transferring and amending, the lease for what had been called the "Hotel Fox," Checota showed a variety of renditions of how the project will fit on the property adjacent to Orange Street.
He also showed comparisons with a similar, although much larger, development in Washington, D.C. Checota explained how the Missoula project will have similar features, such as its orientation to the waterfront, banquet facilities larger than anything in the city, and a 60,000 square feet events center for concerts and even larger theatrical productions.
Perhaps just as important for local residents, Checota says the project will retain a "park like" setting along the Clark Fork, with public access being preserved, and enhanced, bordering the buildings which he promises will be of high quality.
"It's not just about what's the cheapest we can build this building for," Checota said. "If you look at our other projects and our other investments, like the Kettlehouse most recently, it fits the environs in which it sets. And it wasn't done on the cheap. We try to do a quality product."
Checota hopes to begin construction by next summer, and plans to keep residents, local government and business leaders briefed as the plans are finalized.