City gears up for anticipated Riverfront Triangle groundbreaking in 2020

As the development of the Riverfront Triangle in downtown Missoula moves closer to breaking ground, a new member of the city’s Development Services has been charged with keeping tabs on the many moving parts.

Kaitlin McCafferty, a University of Montana graduate hired by the city this summer, sat in on last week’s meeting with the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, which helped bring the complex project to reality.

Chris Behan, assistant MRA director, said McCafferty will help coordinate the project’s various components.

“It will involve every single department in the city and some in the county,” said Behan. “We’re keeping track of it, so everyone has good information all the time and can make good decisions that are all based on everyone else’s decisions.”

Back in October, Clark Fork Riverfront Properties assumed the development rights for a portion of the seven-acre parcel located at Orange and Front streets, known collectively as the Riverfront Triangle.

In doing so, the company will bring a 10-story hotel and condo building to the market, along with a 60,000-square-foot events center. The $100 million project also includes an underground parking garage with a capacity for roughly 400 vehicles.

“They’re still looking to start construction in the summer,” said Behan. “It’s a good opportunity that allows some of the other development to start happening down there too. Splitting off the big project allows Riverfront Triangle Partners to do their part.”

With Clark Fork Riverfront Properties assuming development rights for the hotel and conference center, Riverfront Triangle Partners will focus on redeveloping the rest of the property.

The group has spent the past few years crafting a plan for the property, and the last few months detailing a master plan that will include a number of residential and commercial projects.

Plans for both aspects of the project should be presented early next year, with work beginning mid-summer. Behan said McCafferty will help ensure the various city departments have the same information as the project advances.

“It has to be a coordinated effort, not necessarily with everyone sitting in the same room all the time, though that will happen from time to time,” he said. “Each department will be asked to deliver decisions. She gets to travel all these circles and keep track of everybody, and she’ll have a presence so other people can tap in on what’s going on.”