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Developers Tour Missoula Areas Prime For Projects

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MISSOULA - The city of Missoula is working to get more businesses in town, to boost the economy and create jobs. On Monday, Mayor John Engen and the Missoula Economic Partnership took more than 20 developers on a tour of areas prime for investment and development.

With a major redevelopment project in full swing, and room for more development in sites around Missoula, Mayor Engen and the Missoula Economic Partnership hosted the Second Annual Missoula Developer Showcase.

"It's important instead of just sitting here waiting for people to discover Missoula, to say, 'Here's people doing really good projects that we think are quality. Come to Missoula and let us show you how you can make money here,'" said James Grunke, the CEO of the Missoula Economic Partnership. 

More than 20 developers with interest in Missoula went on a tour of sites with opportunity for growth.

"We found out there's a lot going on here, so we learned a lot," said Wayne Nelson, the president of the Billings Stockman bank. The bank has invested in two sites in Missoula.

Tour stops included different districts around town, and two sites the city is trying turn into urban renewal districts; one almost 890 acres between North Reserve and Scott streets, and another near where the new Missoula College will be built.

"We think both of those provide great opportunities for folks at our showcase today to make something happen," Mayor Engen said.

The tour also stopped by South Crossing, where one of Missoula's most successful development projects is taking place.

"You take a place like South Crossing, when Kmart closed there was 50 people working there. When that site is done there will be 500 people working there, so it's really moving us to next level," Grunke said.

Engen said after Monday's tour, we're going to be seeing more growth in Missoula.

"These things take some time, because it's the nature of the business, but we have people very interested in doing projects here in Missoula," Engen said.

Studies are getting done on the two proposed urban renewal district sites. Once those are finished, a public hearing will be held. City council is expected to make a final vote on the sites by the end of the summer.


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