The $40 million Mercantile hotel in downtown Missoula is on track for a December 2018 opening, developer Andy Holloran told a crowd at the annual Downtown Business Improvement District Ratepayers meeting on Wednesday.
When it's finished, the five-story Residence Inn by Marriott will feature three or four new restaurants in the ground-floor retail spaces, possibly including Thai food, Mexican cuisine and a steak and fish place, according to Holloran. There will also be other retail stores to go along with the hotel's own breakfast spot.
The new hotel is one piece of the hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial investments taking place in Missoula's downtown right now, in addition to major transportation infrastructure upgrades planned over the next few years. New breweries, restaurants, student housing complexes, condos and a massive new conference center are under construction or in the planning stages, as is a new Missoula Public Library and a new nonprofit Zootown Community Arts Center headquarters.
"We are thrilled to be a part of the Missoula fabric," Holloran said. "Every time I'm here, the progress is incredible. We're seeing so much growth and reinvestment, and we're happy to help create further investment."
The meeting was held on the sixth floor of the new Stockman Bank Building, which Bob Burns, Stockman's Missoula market president, said might be the most environmentally friendly building in Montana. The company won't know for another few months whether it actually is because it needs to collect data, but the $30 million bank building represents another huge investment downtown.
"Missoula's downtown is very vibrant, and if you're going to be a bank, downtown is an important place to be," Burns said. "There's a lot of great businesses and a lot of great customers and a lot of great things going on."
Both Burns and Holloran praised the work of Downtown Missoula Partnership Executive Director Linda McCarthy and her staff, as well as the work of Missoula Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Ellen Buchanan and her team.
"All the vision and support Ellen and Linda gave us was tremendous," Holloran said.
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The hotel will feature meeting rooms and a small conference space, and should provide a significant economic boost to the downtown area as tourists and visitors shop and dine there. Holloran said he's gotten a lot of support from both the Holiday Inn Downtown and the DoubleTree Hotel nearby.
BID Board President Tim France praised the Missoula Police Department for helping to reduce crime in the downtown area, and he also praised the Downtown Clean Team for hauling away garbage and cleaning graffiti and ice-covered handicap ramps.
Downtown BID Ratepayers have also been asked to complete an online survey to provide "more broad-based feedback and input on maintenance and management services" provided by the Downtown BID. Property owners in the district can access that survey online at missouladowntown.com/bidrsvp.
Holloran said he will use the information gleaned from the survey as he decides what to do with the old Firestone Building at the corner of Main and Pattee streets, which is currently being used as a construction staging area.
"Part of the survey is what does everybody want," he said. "There are a variety of potential uses, including residential and office space."
Mayor John Engen said the unprecedented amount of investment is also thanks to all the people who worked hard on the Downtown Master Plan. Holloran, who is from Bozeman, said he believes Missoula is more committed to long-term strategic planning than Bozeman.
“This annual meeting for our downtown property owners provides the opportunity to update our stakeholders about our work on the street and upcoming projects and goals,” France concluded. “It’s a time for us to have a discussion about needs and priorities of our downtown community.”