HELENA — It’s been more than three years since the last store in Helena’s Capital Hill Mall closed its doors, and nearly two years since the former mall building was demolished. Now, the first new construction at the site is getting underway.
Contractors are currently putting up the frame for a new building south of Prospect Avenue that will eventually become a Starbucks. CenterPointe Development Group, an Arizona company, purchased about three-quarters of an acre for the store, starting construction last month.
“For us, we were really pushing the charge to get going sooner than later,” said Matt Ladendorf, managing partner with CenterPointe.
Ladendorf said the new Starbucks will replace the current location, several blocks away on the north side of Prospect.
“The parking was tight; the stacking of the cars was coming out on Prospect,” he said. “So there’s a lot of reasons to look at doing a new store.”
Ladendorf said the building should be finished by May or June, and Starbucks could possibly open the new location by July.
D&M Development of Helena has been converting the roughly 13-acre mall site into the “Capital Hill Town Center,” a mixed-use development. Over the last six months, crews installed new infrastructure like water mains and sewer lines across the property. Two new streets – an extension of Sanders Street going north and south, and the new Vandelay Place east and west – will be paved later this year.
D&M has begun selling off several lots from the site. In September, Benefis Health System announced it had purchased two acres to build a primary care and specialty care clinic there. Other expected development includes businesses like banks and restaurants.
Last month, the city of Helena approved the creation of an urban renewal district around the mall site. That means the city can use tax increment financing – setting aside some of the added tax revenue as property values in the district go up and using it for improvements in the area.