In 2008, the Downtown Missoula Partnership, BID, Missoula Redevelopment Agency along with city and downtown stakeholders conducted a 25-year visioning project, known as the Downtown Master Plan. The project examined land use and circulation, employment, housing, parking, retail, tourism and infrastructure in the heart of Missoula. Over the past decade, city leaders, stakeholders, developers and investors have taken intentional steps to put the vision into reality … and the results are stunning. More than $850 million dollars have been invested into Downtown Missoula. Here is the list of accomplishments, some have served as catalysts for additional development:
- Arts & Culture: New Missoula Art Park (2017), and renovations to Missoula’s two historic theatres, the Roxy and the Wilma (2016).
- Education: New building for Missoula College along the Clark Fork River (2017).
- Employment Centers: First Interstate Bank (2011), Garlington, Lohn & Robinson (2012), and Stockman Bank (2017) each built new Class A office buildings in Downtown Missoula.
- Hospitality: New five-story, mixed use, development in the heart of historic downtown, anchored by a 174-room Residence Inn by Marriott Hotel (2018); current renovations and upgrades to the Holiday Inn Downtown, and renovations to the Doubletree Hotel (2018-19), as well as a seven-story hotel and conference center at the Riverfront Triangle (2020).
- Housing: Added 1,200-plus new housing units for all income levels, including new student housing on Front Street (2018) and The Sawyer in the Old Sawmill District (2019).
- New Parks and Trails: 15-acre Silver Park (2015) and Caras Park improvements.
- Parking: The Park Place Parking Structure (2013) won a national parking award for its design, and installed new parking meters Downtown (2017).
- Transportation: North Higgins Street Improvement Project (2010) put Missoula in the national spotlight for protected bike lanes and complete streets design and led to full occupancy along Higgins Avenue North of Broadway. Madison was re-decked with improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities (2017). Missoula’s bus service (Mountain Line) became Zero-Fare.
- Social Services: A new building and location for the Poverello Center (2014).
- Walkability: First Phase of a new community-wide Wayfinding System was implemented (2016).
In addition to the building boom, Downtown Missoula has seen more professional service providers, restaurateurs and retailers selecting Downtown as their place to do business, including companies outside of Montana.