Bridge Pizza looks to expand from Hip Strip to Midtown in old Tower Pizza

The new Bridge Pizza, pictured below, contrasts with the old Tower Pizza, formerly located on Brooks Street.

A popular pizza company with longtime roots on Missoula’s Hip Strip is looking to spread its wings and set up shop in the city’s evolving Midtown district.

Bridge Pizza, whose members include the owners of the fabled pizza joint on Higgins Avenue, have purchased the old Tower Pizza property at 3000 Brooks Street, where they plan to renovate the funky structure into something more traditional.

To make that happen, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency’s board of commissioners on Thursday granted the company $80,000 in tax increment financing to tackle facade and site improvements, estimated at $809,000.

“It certainly fits with the environment and the direction we’d like that district go,” said Chris Behan, assistant director of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency. “This isn’t corporate architecture. It feels like it’s something that’s always been there.”

The project sits on the corner of Brooks Street and Agnes Avenue, directly across from the new entrance to Southgate Mall, which is undergoing its own $75 million renovation.

Much of the Brooks Street corridor is slated for redevelopment in the coming years and is the subject of several city plans. Among other things, they look to transform the auto-dependent corridor into a walkable neighborhood with greater density and mixed uses.

Erin McEwan, owner of Bridge Pizza, said the mall’s renovation and the city’s plans for Brooks Street prompted her to purchase the property and expand her local business.

“What’s happening at the mall is definitely a reason to feel more comfortable moving onto Brooks Street,” she said.