By Martin Kidston
The owners of an abandoned movie theater on South Brooks Street are expected to ask the city for approval to demolish the structure as the design for a new bank moves forward.
Located at 3601 Brooks Street, the lot currently houses the shuttered Cine 3 theater and the old Arron’s Rental Center. The theater has sat vacant for more than a decade and, as a result, it has become the target of illegal activity, according to Ellen Buchanan, executive director of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency.
“The owner is regularly cleaning up used syringes and empty alcoholic beverage containers, and the rear of the building has become a dumping ground for abandoned vehicles,” Buchanan stated in a recent city memo. “Neighboring businesses are increasingly expressing concern about vandalism and criminal activity.”
Stockman Bank has plans to construct a new branch office at the location, though that project isn’t likely to begin any time soon. The company is currently constructing a new facility in downtown Missoula – a six story structure that will serve as the bank’s western Montana headquarters.
Randy Rupert, regional director of business development for CTA architects, said the bank would like to proceed with demolition as soon as possible. It will then ask MRA for reimbursement once construction of the new bank is ready to move forward.
Buchanan said the Missoula Police Department has asked MRA to “expedite” removal of the vacant building.
In recent years, MRA has granted several firms the right to proceed with demolition before final designs are rendered. The Woodbury Corp. receive the go-ahead to raze the old K-mart store on Brooks Street before finalizing plans for the South Crossing development.
More recently, MRA granted Farran Realty Partners the right to begin demolition and site work on Front Street, where the firm has plans to construct a six-story student housing facility.