-Martin Kidston reporting for the Missoula Current
MISSOULA – The last piece of the South Crossing development off South Brooks Street will see the old International House of Pancakes building come down and replaced with an AT&T outlet.
The Missoula Redevelopment Agency’s board of commissioners on Thursday granted the Woodbury Corporation the right to proceed without prejudice in removing the vintage A-frame that once housed the restaurant ahead of construction planned for later this year.
The Best Bet Casino currently occupies the structure and its lease has expired.
“This final corner at the intersection of Brooks and Dore (Lane), there were long-term leases on the two buildings,” said Annette Marchesseault with MRA.
“The owner honored those leases and the buildings stayed as they were with the understanding that when the leases expired, this building would be eligible for demolition and redevelopment.”
Woodbury purchased the larger property after Kmart closed in roughly 2015. Over the past five years, it has redeveloped the Kmart site into a number of uses, including Kohls, Cabelas, Boot Barn and Pet Smart.
Other portions of the parking lot were also redeveloped to accommodate City Brew, Men’s Warehouse, Jimmy Johns and Noodle Express. They’ll be joined by AT&T on the corner where the casino now stands.
“The building will have a similar architectural style to the other buildings in the development,” Marchesseault said. “Given the design guidelines that the city has put in place with its design excellence, they didn’t get the drawings in enough time to give them the scrutiny they deserve for design excellence anchoring a corner.”
While the city reviews the design, Woodbury will begin taking down the casino building and will likely return to MRA at a later date for reimbursement for deconstruction costs up to $65,000.
The larger South Crossing development was one of the first to take place on the south side of Missoula and has played a hand in the district’s rejuvenation.
“This is the last piece,” said Kraig Erickson, representing Woodbury. “Everyone that was put in there is still there. For us, it’s wonderful to have tenants with longevity. We haven’t had any turnover yet.”
Woodbury has sold the remaining empty lot on Reserve Street across from Missoula Fresh Market. Erickson said construction on the lot will begin soon, though he didn’t disclose the project.
“You’re going to see something very soon on that,” he said. “It’s very cool – I mean it’s really cool. I’m very excited for the use, because it’s going to be pretty neat.”