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The Missoula Downtown Association (MDA), with financial support from the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) of Missoula and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency (MRA), has recently completed its first-ever attempt at data collection and analysis of Downtown businesses and buildings, one of the goals of the Downtown Master Plan. For a graphic overview of the project and summary statistics, click here.
Why a Downtown Inventory?
This comprehensive inventory of buildings and businesses was developed as a foundation for tracking trends in the downtown economy. The inventory is used to: understand Downtown assets and weaknesses; identify potential locations for technical assistance; measure community achievements of recruitment and retention goals; support Master Plan projects such as Front and Main reconfiguration, development of a Retail Hot Spot and Cultural District, development of a comprehensive wayfinding system for Downtown; and market, retain, recruit, and track development trends within the downtown commercial area.
The Inventory also supports the goals of the Missoula Economic Partnership: strengthen growth of existing businesses by complementing business mix and attract new businesses to diversify the local economic base. Click here for more information on MEP.
With exceptional participation from business owners and property owners – or response rates of 58 and 63 percent respectively – the data will be used to generate statistics for a variety of economic development initiatives. In examining downtown-wide trends, reported figures for specific statistics were extrapolated – where the average is applied to all participating businesses and properties – rather than the actual number reported.
The 2011 data was populated from existing publicly accessible information sources and in-person surveys and interviews with building and business owners. These resources included data within the Downtown Master Plan, membership data from the Missoula Downtown Association, property data from the Business Improvement District, Missoula County tax records, additional field reviews, and Internet research.
Future efforts will focus on improving the quality and amount of the data in the Inventory by filling building/tenant information gaps remaining after surveying business and property owners in 2011. Emphasis will be placed on surveying new businesses and achieving a 30% response rate of existing businesses through twice annual email requests for updated information.
With continued business and property owner participation, the MDA will be able to provide bi-annual updates of summary statistics, including individualized reports, for the entire downtown. As the lead organization, the MDA has taken appropriate steps to protect the confidentiality of proprietary information in collecting, entering and managing the data.
“We are delighted to have completed a long-term project that will serve us well in our efforts to improve the downtown economy and build some strategies around business recruitment and development,” said Linda McCarthy, Executive Director of the Missoula Downtown Association. “Jessica Daniels – our program director– did an exceptional job spearheading this project, and we have a product now that contains valuable information for those considering investment in our downtown.”
- Geographic area inventoried:
- Business: 84 square-block area
- Buildings: 56 square-block area
- Out of 766 commercial establishments inventoried:
- 398 consumer service businesses
- 129 retail establishments
- 66 law offices
- 38 full-service restaurants
- 10 coffee shops
- 9 outdoor apparel/sporting goods stores
- Of total 2,394,321 square feet inventoried:
- Retail trade and food & beverage establishments account for close to 400,000 square feet of the total square footage
- Governmental services account for 325,854 square feet
- 25% of retail businesses and 80% of restaurants are open after 7 pm, Monday through Friday
- 65% of retail businesses and restaurants are open on Sundays
Maps & Sample Reports:
If you have any questions about the project or want to discuss opening a business in downtown, contact our Community Development Manager, Noreen Humes at 543-4238 or email Noreen@missouladowntown.com.