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Current Events: A look at development projects in Missoula

riverfront triangle
hip strip
Posted at 11:17 AM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 13:19:45-04

MISSOULA - This week’s edition of Current Events with Missoula Current founding editor Martin Kidston takes a look at some of the projects taking place around Missoula.

“Last month the city council and the planning board approved a rezone for the property that currently houses the Missoulian business. They've been there since the 80s and that property was specifically zoned for the Missoulian. But the rezone that was approved on the property allows whatever comes to that property to resemble what is on the Hipstrip and downtown Missoula,” Kidston said.

“The rezone will accommodate ground floor businesses, housing, possibly business. We don't know exactly what is going to take place there, but the place has been cleared for the new owners to step forwarded and begin the redevelopment of that property,” he continued. “They have approximately 180 days to take the next step now that the rebuild has been cleared, so in the next few months, we should have a better understanding of what will go on the property.

hip strip
The Hip Strip along Higgins in downtown Missoua.

“Kind of moving backward, almost one year ago the Wise Enterprise Group sought and received a rebuild approval for the property on 601 West Broadway. That's right next to Taco John's, which a lot of viewers might know recently closed. So that means something is moving over there. The Wise Enterprise Group planned a multistory building, also with ground floor retail or commercial and possibly with housing or retail above that,” Kidston explained.

“That property sits next to the Riverfront Triangle, which a lot of people know has been discussed for many, many years. That's a seven-acre property on Orange Street and Front Street. The city owns about one acre of that, which was given to them by the Fox Theater Group way back in the '70s and they have planned with developers a hotel and conference center, retail, parking, housing. That project was killed allegedly during the pandemic. The primary developer pulled out of the project,” Kidston said.

“Both the mayor and others have said that at least the hotel and conference city will most likely move forward, and possibly move forward this year. We don't know what form that would take but that's good news for people who want to see that vacant property redeveloped,” he continued. “As far as that other six acres on Riverfront Triangle, that's moving forward. There are still plans there to develop a mixed-used property with parking, and housing, and office and retail. That would really close out the downtown and west Broadway corridor. That's been in the works for many, many years.

riverfront triangle
The Riverfront Triangle property in downtown Missoula.

“And moving out further on the West Broadway corridor, you have the West Broadway Master Plan that the city is currently working on. Of course, they own the Mountain Water facility and now the Sleepy inn. That presents some unique opportunities to redevelop that portion of the corridor,” Kidston said. Also with housing, so there's a lot of projects in the pipeline that are rather sizable. They should be able to take shape in the coming months.

Plans are also moving forward with some other properties owned by the City of Missoula.

"The Scott Street property is currently being developed with many hundreds of units of housing. They also own the old library property in downtown Missoula. That's going to head to a planning process real soon,” Kidston said. “They also own the Johnson Street property, which for at least another year will serve as a winter shelter for the homeless, but that property will eventually be redeveloped as well. There's a number of opportunities the city has to reach a number of city goals.