Costco is looking to expand its current location in Missoula on North Reserve Street.

Slowly but surely, the dominoes are falling into place for Summit Beverage to move and build a new facility, which will allow Missoula’s crowded Costco store to expand its current site.

The Missoula City Council’s Land Use and Planning Committee has set a public hearing for Dec. 16 to decide whether to annex and zone a portion of land along West Broadway near the airport at the request of Summit Beverage, a local beverage distributing company.

Summit Beverage is currently located at 3305 Great Northern Way next to Costco. Last year, Costco began discussions to expand its current site and wants to buy Summit’s current location to expand its warehouse from 125,000 square feet to 162,000 square feet and add more parking. Since then, Summit has been trying to finalize plans to move and build a new distribution and warehousing center at the intersection of West Broadway and a future extension of Mary Jane Boulevard. The property currently is not within city limits and has no address assigned and is an empty field. A new $31 million Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic is planned for a different portion of the property, which is west of Reserve Street and on the south side of West Broadway.

“We’ve really been in a rush trying to get this done for a lot of reasons,” explained Jason Rice of Territorial Landworks, the planning and engineering firm hired by Summit to go through the permitting process. “Part of the Summit deal is so Costco can expand where Summit is. So this has a whole domino effect of economic growth for Missoula if this does occur, not withstanding the development that will occur here.”

The Land Use and Planning Committee voted unanimously at a meeting last week to adopt a resolution of intent to zone the parcel of land to Community Commercial after annexing it into city limits, following the recommendation of staff in the city’s planning department. The city has imposed a list of requirements on the developers, including asking them to extend two 12-inch water mains and install road improvements.

“Those are definitely mounting costs,” Rice said. “We are hoping for clarification on the water mains. Our water analysis showed only one line needed to be 12 inches. We’re now being asked for larger water mains. That’s maybe only $15,000 to $20,000, but that’s $15,000 to $20,000 you don’t spend somewhere else creating quality infrastructure for the building.”

Jenny Baker, with the planning department, said the city’s growth policy calls for locating businesses to that area that provide commercial needs that serve the broader region, need a larger land area and need to be next to transportation corridors.

“Annexation is an opportunity to control for public benefits,” she said, noting that putting the land under city control means the city can require the developers to help pay for public infrastructure that will serve the entire area.

Council member Jordan Hess wanted to know the status of the city’s ability to build Mary Jane Boulevard’s extension to West Broadway, considering the city and the county were awarded a $13 million federal BUILD grant earlier this month when they had asked for $23 million.

“Our intent is to use the BUILD grant to build at least a portion of Mary Jane,” said Jeremy Keene, interim director of Development Services.

The public hearing on Dec. 16 will be at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at 140 W. Pine St. in downtown Missoula.

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