Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Downtown Missoula had a very good year in 2022, even though 2021 fared a little better, according to the Downtown Missoula Partnership.

KGVO News spoke to Executive Director Linda McCarthy on Wednesday for a look back at 2022’s growth.

Over 30 New Businesses Opened Downtown in 2022

“You can see by the numbers that we had over 30 businesses open their doors in downtown this past year, and that's about a four to one ratio of openings to closings,” began McCarthy. “Whereas normally we've been in a two to one ratio of openings to closings, so we've seen a lot more businesses open their doors this year. We’re kind of back to that sort of pre-pandemic level, and certainly seeing a lot of interest in what's happening downtown.”

Investment in the downtown area once again added up to multiple millions of dollars, both commercial and residential.

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“You saw on the commercial investment report that we've had a little over $12 million invested in commercial development,” she said. “On the residential side, we had a little over $6 million of investment in residential improvements downtown, so just gives you a sense of what's happening from an economic development perspective.”

Businesses are Expressing Interest in Downtown by their Investments

McCarthy explained the attraction that businesses and those who want to live in the downtown area have expressed by their investments.

“I think the other thing that makes downtown special is that we have a forward-thinking vision created by the community,” she said. “We have good strong organizations; people in boards who are working to implement the plans and to make downtown the best it can be to move forward with planning processes and to bring investment that helps improve the landscape.”

2023 May Prove to be another Year of Growth and Development Downtown

Looking ahead to the new year of 2023, McCarthy provided a forward vision.

“There are projects that were underway already,” she said. “The city and the county's acquisition of the federal building is a big thing for downtown, and if that were to happen, the question will be what happens with the city block site? You've got the old library site or the Payne Block, as we call it, and I think you'll see some interest in redeveloping that site in the coming months. You’ve got to look at the Riverfront Triangle and what the possibilities might be to get that project up and running again.”

McCarthy said of those 32 new businesses opened last year, 12 are retail stores, 5 are food & beverage businesses, and 15 are categorized as services.

Click here to discover more about Downtown Missoula.

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