MISSOULA – Three years after his development team stood before reporters to announce the replacement of an historic landmark, Andy Halloran is smiling this afternoon, as HomeBase Partners lift the curtain on their new hotel in downtown Missoula.
It’s been quite the transformation. Three years ago HomeBase announced plans for the new “Residence Inn” by Marriott. Then, we watched with the rest of you as the old Missoula Mercantile was “de-constructed”, taken down to the ground to make way for the new hotel.
And with all the debate receding into community history, a new chapter opens Thursday afternoon. Following this evening’s “soft opening”, people will be able to stay in the new Marriott starting Thursday night.
And yet, throughout the building there are plenty of touches to remind you of not just “The Mercantile”, but downtown Missoula’s rich history. Those combine with all the modern amenities in a seamless blend that start’s a new chapter on this storied corner.
There are still other pieces that remain to be completed. The final deal is being closed for the retail spaces along the “Muse”, the common area connecting the restaurants and other businesses at ground level along Front Street. Halloran tells me most of those will be finished out and ready for business as the summer starts.
A more formal grand opening is expected later this spring.
We’ll have a more detailed look inside coming up on tonight’s 10 o’clock news.