by Travis Mateer
My first thought upon reading about the plans for the former Missoulian site is what happened to Aaron Wagner and the Wags Capital role in this development? Was his margarita fueled rant enough to disinvest him from this project, or is he just a silent partner now?
A silent partner to build buildings with names like “The Archie”.
Here is some of the wisdom gleaned by this former Griz football player from the previous public roll-out process that got a good portion of this town pissed off (emphasis mine):
Bergquist said that there will be four months of public input process, noting that “he understands the sensitivity around redeveloping this special site and values community involvement.”
“Public opinion, public input is going to make this project better,” Bergquist said on Monday. “It’s going to make it better for me as the developer, our partners, our investors and Missoula residents. So this is the time to speak up to tell us what they’d like to see there.”
You don’t have to tell ME twice, Cole Bergquist. And I’m sure many Missoulians who recall last year’s attempt to promote this project–which saw the main investors get really defensive then REALLY quiet–feel the same way.
Last year this development project had Mayor Engen to remind everyone how limited his magic wand was. That’s right, no one could give a strategic shrug of the civic shoulders like our departed Mayor. From the link:
“I certainly hear the upset and appreciate that folks reach out,” Engen said before the public comment portion of the city council meeting. “Despite what you may have read on social media, my magic wand does not allow me to pick and choose who buys and sells unless we (the city) are a property owner, and in this case we are not.”
Engen was referring to brothers Aaron and Jadon Wagner, who, along with developer Cole Bergquist, have purchased the Missoulian site at 500 S. Higgins. The developers are proposing a mix of high-end condos and retail spaces, but Aaron Wagner had to apologize last week for his insulting comments online.
“There’s considerable ado associated with a person that is apparently among the investors in a project that is slated for the old Missoulian property,” Engen said. “I have only heard those comments. I try my best to avoid the toxicity of social media, but I do read your emails and listen to voicemails.”
It’s sad this deflective ability is gone. How will our NEW Mayor handle this? How magically limited is HIS wand?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Thanks for reading!