City mulls hotel proposal 

Although the Missoula Redevelopment Agency (MRA) received two offers to develop or swap land on the Riverfront Triangle, as of press time Tuesday the organization hadn’t decided whether to regard either as acceptable proposals.

“Neither one of them is as complete as we had hoped,” says Chris Behan, MRA’s assistant director.

InterMountain Management, which develops, owns and operates hotel properties nationwide and has a development department in Oregon, proposes a hotel for the site, which sits on the southwest corner of Front and Orange streets, next to the Clark Fork River.

“[The proposal] says they want to build a hotel,” Behan says. “The particular developer has done a bunch of them, they have the ability to build these and they’ve done it before. It’s a very real project, but there are a lot of ifs and there are a lot of blanks.”

The other proposal basically calls for a land swap with the Millsite Revitalization Project across the river.

“There’s more to it than that,” Behan says, “but there’s no specific project being proposed. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but it wasn’t what we were hoping to get.”

Nevertheless, Behan says he’s not disappointed by the response.

“I think if this were happening a year ago, I’d have been really disappointed,” he says. “But there’s been a whole lot of changes over the past five months. I know over the past few years, there’s been a lot of people that were interested in the site and really hoping we’d do a [request for proposals] and those folks are silent.”

Councilmember Stacy Rye seconds Behan’s optimistic outlook.

“I’m happy we got one bid but I’ll have to wait and see it,” she says. “If we all had crystal balls we would have put this property up a couple years ago when there probably would have been a bidding war over it. But if we get something built there and it’s paying taxes, that’s great.”

A review group began checking the proposals Tuesday to see if the MRA should accept them. Any next steps are dependent on the group’s findings.

“I think it’s incumbent on our staff review group to ask some questions, see if particulars are possible and see if we want to move forward with one or both,” Behan says.
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