MISSOULA — With the former "Hotel Fox" project being assumed by a new developer, the partners working on the broader plans for Missoula's Riverfront Triangle say the decks are cleared to pursue their ideas, and get them built much faster.
The Missoula City Council and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency approved transferring the lease for the hotel project from the Hotel Fox Partnership to local developer and promoter Nick Checota.
Checota plans to quickly re-design the hotel, adding an events center and getting construction underway next summer.
Pat Corrick and Jim McLeod of Farran Realty Partners retain control of the surrounding properties, allowing them to focus on that additional development.
"It does. And it starts to create momentum for the remainder piece, so we can develop it. And for Pat and I, we can focus in on that five-acre tract and let Nick kind of run with the events center and the hotel."
"And I think it's going to speed up the process," McLeod said. "Where at one point it could have been a 10-to-15 year build out, and we think that we can have it built out in the next five years."
While Checota's piece for the hotel covers the lower grade parking lot fronting the Clark Fork River, where the Fox Theater was torn down in the 1980s, the Farran group's holdings include all the surrounding tracts.
That includes west of the hotel and events center site, and on the north side of Front Street.
The partners had first unveiled a sweeping plan to re-work the entire Triangle a few years ago, working on a broader concept beyond just building a hotel and conference center.
McLeod tells MTN News the goal remains for commercial, retail, and residential space. And just removing the hotel doesn't mean they have to start over.
"Most of the engineering has been completed as far as understanding the utilities and the capacities and those types of things. So we'll just move them forward. There's no reason to restart," McLeod said.
Farran is pledging to continue working with the city and the community to develop improvements that compliment that western entrance to downtown Missoula.