by Travis Mateer
It started out as a rumor I heard from a Missoula character’s girlfriend. She was listening to us catch up (I hadn’t seen him in awhile) and she mentioned hearing from a tourist that a downtown hotel has been warning its guests to be weary of going west of Orange Street.
Intrigued and more than a little miffed that a hotel (and possible recipient of Tax Increment Financing) might be steering customers away from taking in a brew at Imagine Brewery or a taco at Tia’s, I biked to one of the new ones to take the temperature.
By taking the temperature I mean asking the kind person at the front desk if what I had heard could be an accurate representation of a cautionary sentiment expressed to guests and that person at the front desk said yes.
I put in a call to the Downtown Missoula Partnership about this and got a call back from another person I haven’t spoken to in awhile. It was a nice chat and ultimately what I can report is that this rumor, which seems to have some validity, is not one they have heard anything about before my call.
I know one thing that might bring some safety for hotel guests downtown, and that’s an ANGEL to bring RESURRECTION to the Fox Theater site.
Could Hotel Andy be that Angel? It certainly seems this April article was a sort of angel-wings trial-balloon:
While HomeBase owns the lot at Broadway and Pattee, other properties on the west end of downtown Missoula in the Riverfront Triangle are also poised for redevelopment.
A team of developers behind a planned infill project within the triangle moved the listing of three properties to a new broker last July in hopes of maintaining momentum and landing a new partner.
The master plan for the site included a hotel and convention center, along with housing, office and retail. Gault didn’t name any locations, but said HomeBase was committed to downtown Missoula.
“We really believe in redeveloping downtown areas, avoiding sprawl and avoiding any open lands,” he said. “We like to focus on areas that are already developed.”
Maybe Hotel Andy can wait until AFTER St. Pats has had its way with Broadway and beyond before moving in to put the capstone that Checota failed to materialize.
While we wait for our local oligarchs to determine the best way to maximize profit, I’m looking for an angel investor to make my vision of a HOMELESS SAFARI CARAVAN come to fruition.
Just think about it! Businesses west of Orange Street would STILL get visitors, but instead of dumb tourists wandering off unaccompanied (possibly getting killed and therefore NOT spending money), my safari service would provide a variety of different security packages so that visitors can enjoy our wild western frontier.
Want to see the degradation of income inequality and other societal factors after a year and a half of ZOOM accelerant has been poured onto a pre-existing housing crisis, but from the safety of a sweet ride? Then INVEST NOW in my ZOOM URBAN TOURS and the ZUT BUS I will develop will be the PERFECT educational tour for ALL AGES.
We could even start our educational ride at the Tropical Butterfly Insectarium and slowly make our way past points of interest, like the Johnson Street warehouse, where an untold amount of people OD’d.
I know there is some angel out there stuffed to the gills with fiat cash and/or doggie coins just waiting for an amazing opportunity to throw monopoly currency at. It’s just a matter of matching the right idea with the right entity gone bonkers on wealth and reluctant to do anything of lasting value with it.
I’ll be waiting…