by William Skink
One might assume that when Nick Checota threw in the towel on building a 100 million dollar event center/hotel/condo tower in downtown Missoula after a global pandemic obliterated his business model, that support for this project would finally evaporate. Unfortunately, the John and Ellen Show are refusing to concede defeat to reality, and they are soldiering on, pandemic be damned.
Nick Checota pulled out because his part of the project required HIS OWN MONEY. For the John and Ellen Show, it’s PUBLIC MONEY they are playing with, so of course they are still sounding optimistic about finding SMART and WISE people to keep the gravy train chugging along:
“We’ve got a number of parties who have made contact, and I’ve got some meetings coming up with folks who are interested in talking about that very prospect, right,” Engen said. “We step into the program and design, get it built and we have an operator for hotel and residence and we have an operator for entertainment venue and food and beverage.”
And the city points to the investment that’s already been made by the city and Logjam, things like design and engineering, as pieces that still have a lot of value.
“For the right developer, what we have is a turnkey project,” Engen said. “I think wise investors and smart developers are going to recognize the value that’s there.”
This “turnkey project” is now waiting for another savior to swoop in, and according to Ellen Buchanan, there are SERIOUS people sniffing around this opportunity:
“The developers we’ve been working with are serious developers,” Buchanan said. “This is not, you know, some passing fancy or a way to fill time. These are serious business people spending serious money.”
Isn’t it very exciting to hear that Missoula’s gentrification czar is talking to SERIOUS business people with SERIOUS money to spend? So what if a global pandemic has upended our world, escalating our financial malaise and spiking unemployment to depression-era levels.
If you think the global pandemic is not registering AT ALL for our elected braintrust and their sycophants (like Queen TIF), the last paragraph of the KPAX article should definitely NOT put your concerns to rest:
Engen says the pandemic may change the conference business, with a trend away from larger gatherings. But he believes people still want to meet face-to-face, and enjoy entertainment, and that Missoula is poised to serve that market.
If you think Mayor Engen is a delusional development addict who is refusing to let reality set any limits on his vision for this community, then next year is your chance to send Engen packing. Stay tuned…