by William Skink
The multi-million dollar development project proposed for the Riverfront Triangle in Missoula is officially on hold:
Months before construction was set to begin on one of the largest urban infill projects in Missoula, developers behind the plan are hitting pause and will wait for the markets to reveal their post-pandemic future.
After years of planning, Riverfront Triangle Partners said they’re now taking a day-by-day approach while analyzing the first phase of their project and what happens with the national economy.
“We’re still enthusiastic about it, but given the current situation, I think everyone has hit the pause button to see how this all plays out,” said Jim McLeod with the Farran Group in Missoula and Riverfront Triangle Partners. “The equity markets and our lenders, they’re all kind of in the same boat, waiting to see how it all plays out.”
The Farran Group is taking a wait and see approach because we are at the start of a global economic depression. This depression will be blamed on the Coronavirus, but the reality is the Federal Reserve deferred the consequences of Wall Street’s greed a decade ago, and now it’s time to pay up.
Who will pay for the greed and corruption of our big banks and corporations? The public, of course. Why? Because we’re suckers conditioned by years of propaganda to ignore the abuses of our late-stage, crony capitalist system.
For now the 16.5 million dollars in public TIF money won’t be gobbled up for a parking garage, but don’t assume the fight over how TIF is being used in our community is over. With a global depressions settling in, how will our elected leaders deal with Missoula’s financial future now that the growth they have pegged our tourist economy on is evaporating before their eyes?
All the public money sitting at the Missoula Redevelopment Agency should be saved to backstop the budget so our rapacious local government isn’t tempted to raise taxes during a global pandemic. That would be the responsible thing to do.
Let’s hope our elected leaders take their responsibilities seriously enough to understand that a post-pandemic Missoula will have more serious things to deal with than incentivizing development with public money.