Business Development

Just over 48,000 people moved to Montana in 2022, and Missoula is the second largest city in the state with a city population peaking over 75,000 residents. Missoula is a place where people want to live, work and play, and Downtown is one of the primary attractions. Investment in Downtown has been significant over the last 10 years, however, the last two years have shown slower growth than the previous two years.

Investment in commercial property in Downtown Missoula totaled nearly $13.5 million in 2023, which was about one-million more than Downtown commercial investment in 2022, despite rising mortgage rates and difficulties with supply chain issues. The largest projects include the massive overhaul of the Mountain Valley Inn to LOGE Camps, a major buildout of the Missoula County Elections Center, interior renovations at Providence St. Pat’s and Western Montana Mental Health Center, the Wyckman Building, and the development of the new restaurant connected to Cranky Sam. Smaller highlights include the buildout for Tosca Oils and Tres Bonne. By far the largest investment for 2023 is the city’s upgrades to the Northside Pedestrian Bridge.

Residential investment declined significantly with just over $900,000 vested in 2023. Residential investment in 2022 was dramatically higher at $6.6 million, primarily due to the Hogan Senior Living project at 230 S. 6th Street West and the yet-to-be-built 12 residential units on the 300 block of East Front Street. Highlights of 2023 include the completion of the 400-unit Villago Apartment Complex on Scott Street, the completion of The Reed Condos, and the development of the townhomes in the Old Sawmill District. Most other investments were minor remodels and roofing projects.

Business activity for 2023 took a turn from the previous year with 16 new business openings and 22 closings. In 2022 Downtown Missoula saw a record-high 34 business openings and just 7 closings. Movement in the food & beverage industry is most prevalent with ten (10) restaurants closing their doors in 2023. Staffing shortages and increasing food costs have been significant impacts for those in food & beverage.

Last year saw eight (8) businesses relocate to or expand within Downtown. Highlights include Cotner & Ryan Law Firm moving into the Stockman Bank Building, Morning Birds Bakery taking over the Bagels on Broadway space, and the Wipfli accounting firm moving into the Wyckman Building on North Higgins.

Downtown Missoula also saw seven (7) businesses relocate or expand out of Downtown Missoula. Highlights include the owners of Market on Front expanding their business with the opening of The Den at the top of Miller Creek, Birdie Thatcher moving to 2000 S. Higgins, and Mary’s Mountain Cookies opening a second location in Southgate Mall.

Seven (7) businesses saw a change of ownership in 2023. HomeBase Montana sold the Missoula Mercantile, Residence Inn by Marriott and AC Hotel to Evermore Partners. KornUtopia, Thirst Tea Boba Food Truck, and Pagoda Thai & Chinese also have new owners.

Downtown Missoula remains a hot market for commercial and residential development with several projects moving forward in the coming years:

  • The Old Sawmill District continues to implement its master plan and will embark upon warehouse apartments following the completion of the townhomes.
  • The former library site at 300 East Front Street will be a great opportunity for a mixed-used development project, and the City of Missoula has brought on deChase Miksis and Edlen & Company as its development partner.
  • The City of Missoula and Missoula County officially acquired the keys to the Federal Building in 2023 and hired a contractor to clean out the hazardous materials and renovate the building. When the newly-named John Engen Government Services is ready for occupancy, many Downtown office spaces and buildings will be available for sale or leasing.
  • Development of the former Missoulian building remains in the planning stages.
  • Construction is anticipated to start on the 12-unit condos on East Front Street in 2024.
  • Both the Doubletree Hotel and the Holiday Inn Downtown are continuing with major renovations.
  • The former site of the Sleepy Inn is on the market and ready for development.
  • Development of the Riverfront Triangle continues to be a challenge.


Commercial & Residential Investment (public & private) in Downtown Missoula 2019-2023:

2019 $625 Million $475 Million $32 Million Stockman Bank, ROAM, Sawyer, Toole Crossing, Russell Street
2020 $16 Million $42 Million $17 Million AC Hotel, the Wren, Clay Street, Good Habits, Villagio, Higgins Bridge
2021 $36 Million $30 Million $5 Million Providence, First Interstate Bank, Radio Central, Trinity
2022 $12.5 Million $7 Million $1 Million Holiday Inn, Boone & Crockett, Stockman Bank, OSD Townhomes
2023 $11.2 Million $912,000 $2.3 Million LOGE Camps, Providence, NS Pedestrian Bridge


The pandemic, mortgage rates, property values, and the cost of goods and labor have all had an impact in development and investment in Downtown Missoula. However, there are many development projects on the horizon.

In 2023, the City of Missoula was awarded a $25-million-dollar Department of Transportation RAISE grant for five specific transportation projects in Downtown Missoula. This is the largest acquisition of public funding for Downtown Missoula in the last 50 years. Those projects include conversion of Front & Main to two-way streets, conversion of Higgins Avenue to a three-lane from Broadway to Brooks, new gateways to the riverfront parks, widening of the riverfront trail, and a new ADA ramp from the Beartracks Bridge to the waterfront trail.

For more information on business and investing in Downtown Missoula, please reach out to the Downtown Missoula Partnership staff via phone (406-543-4238) or email ([email protected]).