Why Invest in Downtown
Montana was recently named #1 Top 10 Best States to Start Your Small Business in 2021 and Downtown Missoula continues experiencing unprecedented investment and growth. The city has taken intentional steps to map and stage development ensuring sustainable success while maintaining its rich historical past and beauty. If you are interested in starting a business downtown or moving your business here, please contact the Downtown Missoula Partnership at (406) 543-4238.
A Quick Snapshot of Downtown Missoula: Business Development Fact Sheet
Invest in Downtown
- Quality of Life: Missoula tops the “best of” lists annually with its beautiful surroundings, immediate access to almost any outdoor activity, rich historic and cultural environment, and sophisticated, hip yet down-to-earth atmosphere.
- Workforce Pipeline: The University of Montana and Missoula College are adjacent Downtown and provide a steady workforce of smart, hardworking college graduates and students for any business. Missoula also has a highly-educated workforce, as nearly half of its residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. In 2020 the University of Montana garnered over $100 million in research dollars. Missoula has attracted world-class technology and biotechnology companies: TOMIS, On-X Map, Satic USA, Inimmune, Ahana, FYR Diagnostics, and more.
- Entrepreneurship Spirit: Montana prides itself on its can-do-spirit. Today, Missoula boasts a growing entrepreneurship movement in the arts, life sciences, information technology, manufacturing, agricultural, and creatives services. Many of these startups are thriving and making Downtown their home. From technology companies like ATG/Cognizant, Submittable and LumenAd, to the arts like Radius Gallery and Zootown Arts Community Center, to manufacturers who build cycles, boats, and make ice cream, Missoula is a true start-up community.
- Safe and Clean Neighborhoods: The Downtown Missoula Partnership is committed to keeping Downtown clean and safe. It employs a team of people to ensure the streets are free of litter and debris. It also employs 2 full-time police officers to keep the area safe.
- Strategic Planning: In 2019 Missoula unanimously adopted a new Master Plan, building on the priorities of economic development and prosperity. The Plan’s guidelines “serve as a tool to evaluate new development proposals, direct capital improvements, and guide public policy in a manner the ensures Missoula continues to be the community that its residents want it to be.” The North Riverside Parks & Trails Plan, adopted in 2019, emphasizes and builds on existing Downtown area parks along the Clark Fork River, adding to the vibrancy of our City core.
- Mobility: Missoula ranks 5th in spending per capita on walking and biking. Missoula takes great pride in its accessibility by walking and biking with a myriad of trails to and from Downtown and throughout the city. Infrastructure improvements to Higgins Avenue North of Broadway created bikeways between sidewalk and parked vehicles. Present construction on the Higgins Avenue Bridge will widen pedestrian and bicycle lanes and add new bridge decking.
- Retail Growth: In 2020 alone, over $16 million was invested in Downtown businesses and buildings. Downtown Missoula has added a net of 13 new businesses in 2020. Gibbs Consulting noted in 2019 that Downtown Missoula “can presently support up to 100,800 additional square feet of retail and restaurant development, generating as much as $40 million in new sales by 2024.” “With a target of 25 to 40 new businesses,” Downtown Missoula offers commercial and office space at an average of +/- $20 per square foot. First floor retail ranges from $10 to $25 and per square foot, and office space ranges from $10 to $33 per square foot. Visit our website to see space for lease and properties for sale for both retail and residential.
- Tourism: Key to the Western Montana economy is tourism, which generates more than 3 million visitors per year to the Missoula community. Folks can float, fish, ski, bike, hike, photograph, paint, or just plain relax. In 2019 nearly 13 million visitors came to Montana and non-resident visitors spent an estimated $3.75 billion in that year. In 2019 Missoula’s airport received more than 907,000 passengers of which an estimated 250,000 were non-resident visitors. Missoula is expanding its airport facilities with a $70 million investment, including adding a South Concourse for passengers with ticketing services, baggage handling, security, and food and beverage locations.
- Sociability: Missoula offers places to mingle and be a part of the world. You can enjoy Big Dipper Ice Cream, take in some music at Caras Park, stroll through Saturday craft and farmers’ markets, take easy walks along pedestrian paths downtown and along the Clark Fork River. The Garden City has its share of homegrown coffee shops, breweries, cider houses, and distilleries. Missoulians grind the coffee, hop up the beer, and mix fine cocktails. Missoula is a social community with room for many. We just might see you at Ducrey Chocolate Maker, Kettlehouse, Cranky Sam’s, Montgomery’s, Break Espresso, Liquid Planet, or any number of restaurants like 1889, Iron Horse, Pangea, El Cazador, The Depot, The Old Post, or Camino. Come for the salad and wine, cola and burgers, steak and gin, cerveza and chile relleno, but stay for community.