The $100 million Riverfront Triangle Project at the old Fox Theater location adjacent to the Orange Street Bridge has lost its major investor.

Nick Checota of Logjam Productions issued a statement on Friday that laid out the reasons why his company has had to cancel its plans for the major downtown events center.

Missoula Redevelopment Agency Director Ellen Buchanan reacted to Friday’s announcement.

“We have been involved in it for over 30 years,” said Buchanan. “This was by far the most exciting prospect that we had had for redevelopment of that property. But once the pandemic hit, and it became obvious that it was going to have a sustained impact on the entertainment business, and particularly concerts and anything that involves gathering of people, we knew that at best that project would be on hold. At worst, this could terminate the project, and that’s what happened.”

Buchanan said the announcement was not unexpected, given the state of the live music industry around the world due to COVID 19.

It was a game changer for downtown, particularly with the size of the entertainment venue that was proposed and yet another Class A hotel.

“Logjam’s statement today did not come as a surprise,” she said. “As he (Nick Checota) said in his statement, the entertainment business was the first to be shut down and will likely be the last to reopen. And when that happens is definitely uncertain. Nobody I know has a crystal ball and we have no idea how long it will last or what the long term impacts will be.”

Buchanan, who has her finger on the pulse of development for the entire city, said this development will have long term consequences for downtown Missoula.

“It was a game changer for downtown, particularly with the size of the entertainment venue that was proposed and yet another Class A hotel,” she said.  “There are other things out there and there are other folks looking to invest. I think everybody is kind of waiting to see what's going to happen. I don't know what the post-COVID world is going to look like, and I don't think anybody else does either.”

Buchanan also mourned the loss of the River City Roots Festival that would have been going on in downtown Missoula this weekend, but praised the event’s faithful sponsors.

“You know the reactions we were getting from sponsors when we let them know that we were not going to have the festival in the form that it has occurred for the last 14 years,” she said. “Most of them said well, hang on to the money or hold it for next year, use it to help downtown businesses or use it to repurpose the River City Roots Festival; use it however you think is best. That's just amazing. We live in an incredible place.”

Here’s a link to the Missoula Redevelopment Agency.

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