Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Big dreams for The Florence

Posted By on Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Bob Minto, former attorney and current CEO of the ALPS Corporation in Missoula, announced this afternoon he hopes to turn the Florence into a premier downtown hotel, making the building a more prominent player in Missoula's Downtown Master Plan. Only last year, the Florence suffered the closure of Stoverud's Jewelers. Minto's goal is to preserve and restore the legacy of the historic Missoula location.

In a release from ALPS Corp., Minto stressed that he and his associates are only exploring the potential for a hotel inside the Florence at this time. Before he makes any commitments, Minto said he must get support from city officials, speak with current tenants of the building, and establish just how economically feasible the plan is.

"I am getting out in front of the rumors with the concept so that the public conversations can take place in the open and all the parties to the process will be able to work with facts rather than conjecture," Minto said.

ALPS Corp. will begin the exploratory process in earnest over the next few weeks, along with Missoula Osprey owner Mike Ellis. Minto added that he's worked toward the preservation of the Florence repeatedly since the early 1970s—when the building first closed as a hotel.

"Our commitment to downtown Missoula and its economic vibrancy remains unfettered," Minto said on behalf of those involved in the Florence hotel project. "Regardless of what purpose this building serves in Missoula’s future, it will remain a vital part of Downtown and a resource for the people of Missoula."

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