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Summer Construction In Missoula Heats Up

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MISSOULA -

You can hardly drive a block anywhere in Missoula and not see construction.

Plans and port-a-potties are almost everywhere this summer.

To build or remodel in the city, you have to get a permit that says you will follow Missoula's rules.

So far this year, Missoula's given out more than 600 permits, adding up to about $36 million worth of construction

It has really become another symbol of summer: construction sites. You're more likely to see them when it gets warmer, but there is more than usual in Missoula.

"It's actually going good," said Don Verrue, the assistant director of Missoula's Development Services, "I think between residential and commercial actually we're probably 15 to 20% over what was last year."

A quick look at what's going on with some of the big names: CVS is moving closer to Brooks Street, into a smaller building; Sonic actually got a permit six months ago but hasn't started building yet on North Reserve; Chalet Jewelers was just demolished and plans for that space are being looked at now, but what could actually fill the vacated space officials won't be able to say for another week or two; the city is also talking to developers about what to do with the old Village Six; and Kohl's should be open by the spring of 2015, in the nook between 38th Street and Dore Lane.

"I think it's pretty optimistic," said Terre Meinershagen, an architect who's worked in Missoula for more than two decades.

Architects like Meinershagen have pretty full plates these days. He's been comfortably busy for about two years now, but how long will it last?

"It's pretty difficult to tell," said Meinershagen, "It's so dependent on local and national and regional economics. Sometimes in Montana we say, 'what recession?' because it always seems a little tough in our economy."

Last year wasn't bad, though. Missoula okayed more than 6,700 permits. They estimate those construction costs at $82 million.  

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