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Development plan for midtown Missoula being discussed

Posted at 7:18 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 21:19:51-05

Midtown Missoula has been been in the headlines lately as businesses funnel in and out of the corridor.

The Dram Shop and Bridge Pizza opened second locations in the area, Scheels plans on moving into the Southgate Mall and renovations continue at the fairgrounds.

The Missoula Midtown Association held a meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the future of their master plan for the area

"Having a master plan for midtown is something that we have been talking about for a long time and the stars are finally aligning and its coming together," master plan committee chair Emily Brock said.

"Everybody knows that midtown is really special and there’s a lot of great energy here. But putting our finger on...exactly what that is, and branding it, and helping guide our public sector investment to create predictability for the private sector -- is much needed."

Private sector retail spots are open to new businesses due to recent store closures around the area.

"When we had some of the big boxes open; we had Shopko become available and now Lucky’s, I know that our phones [were] flooded with calls looking for large retailers looking to come into the midtown area," commercial real estate advisor Claire Matten said.

"So, trying to find those sites will be a challenge but I think the capacity and demand is there for some of these larger groups from out of state to come in."

Since the fairgrounds is in midtown, it will play a key role in the redevelopment plans for the area. Another aspect of the master plan will be the Western Montana Fair, which will be the feature event for the area.

"It is for now the keystone event for the Midtown Association and with all of our new redevelopment the opening of our brand new historic plaza with our and the new culinary corridor, with our century old buildings it’s just a great staple," Missoula County Fairgrounds events and operations manager Bille Ayers said.

The Western Montana Fair has some new additions to their plans this year including additional parking, new culinary partnering and flat track motorcycle racing.