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Clothing retailer H&M opened a 22,000-square-foot store this year in Southgate Mall.

Southgate Mall, Missoula’s huge, locally owned shopping and dining center at 2901 Brooks St., has undergone some big developments this past year.

With more than 100 stores featuring everything from sporting goods to electronics to apparel to jewelry to burgers to Asian cuisine, it’s hard to imagine walking away empty handed.

This year, clothing retailer H&M opened a new 22,000-square-foot store on the east side of the mall in the space formerly occupied by the Gap, which relocated to another space. The Sweden-based firm is known for its “fast-fashion” apparel and has stores in 54 countries.

This past September, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency’s board of directors approved a request to apply $6.9 million in tax increment financing to help build a new road between Brooks and South Reserve and give the mall a boost in launching a $64 million major renovation and expansion.

The project is expected to transform the property into a neighborhood hub featuring a new multi-screen movie theater, a grocery store and more retail stores. Plans also include housing developments, a parking structure and additional amenities to accommodate increased traffic and population density.

The street that will be built will create a new east-west connector between the mall and Reserve Street, and will include a bike and pedestrian path.

Peter Lambros of Southgate Mall Associates has said the redesign will allow the mall to turn outward, with more storefronts facing the street and outdoor dining options.

Southgate Mall Associates has already invested $18 million acquiring surrounding properties, including the old Val-U Inn, Curley’s Broiler and Paxson Plaza. It has also invested $7.5 million in interior renovations.

Plans for a new movie theater and lifestyle retail center, which will cost an estimated $21.7 million, are in the works and the theater is expected to be ready by January of 2017.

The development is expected to revitalize a large swath of midtown Missoula.

For more information, visit www.shopsouthgate.com.

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