MISSOULA — UPDATE Sunday, Dec. 5:
EDITOR’S NOTE: MTN News has updated this article’s headline to better reflect WGM Group’s announcement. We are working to get more information on the status of the development.
MTN News has reached out to WGM Group and project developer Cole Bergquist repeatedly for clarification on this proposed development following a statement on WGM's website Thursday night. They have not returned our calls.
Click here to read WGM Group's full statement
WGM Group, the engineering company behind the development of the Missoulian building, is now stepping back from the project and canceling a meeting meant to bridge issues brought forward in the community.
The group is citing comments made by one of the developers.
"After learning of the deeply offensive messages a project investor posted last week on social media, we have decided to cancel that charrette and step back. Now is not the time to review planning details. It's time to reassess how the community comes together to support our neighbors through a community project." - WGM Group statement to MTN News
WGM Group provided land planning and engineering services for the Missoulian property rezoning and redevelopment.
The plans for the premier property along the Clark Fork and the Hip Strip included riverfront restaurants, retail, and apartment complexes and condos. But controversy arose when one of the investors, Aaron Wagner, shared offensive comments with Missoula residents online after they criticized the development.
In a conversation with MTN's Katie Miller, Wagner apologized for his actions saying he was "childish and immature." But WGM Group has since canceled the Dec. 6 community meeting that was supposed to help gain insight from Hip Strip property owners and neighborhood groups on site design and function.
Instead, they note Lee Enterprises will continue to operate out of the Missoulian building through March of next year and no immediate action or development will occur on the site.
Click here to read WGM Group's full statement.