GREAT FALLS — Businesses and development leaders gathered at The Newberry to celebrate major development that continues in Great Falls. The event is referred to as "Invest Downtown," which is hosted annually by the Great Falls Development Alliance.
Now in its fourth year, they invited the public to celebrate significant progress in downtown Great Falls as well as what's in store for the future.
"Invest Downtown is a very unique event," said GFDA Vice President Jolene Schalper. "We are focused on attracting developers and businesses to look at our market. We try to provide the data, we try to provide the insight they might need to make a decision to invest in downtown. Right now is the time to invest in downtown. The costs are lower than any other major market in Montana. We have point of entry costs that are low, construction costs that are low."
Highlights include the establishment of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine - one of Montana's first medical schools, TDS fiber network being constructed door-to-door, and the supportive housing homes to be created in Baatz Building redevelopment.
The event featured several speakers.
"I'll be talking about the advantages of investing in Great Falls Montana in today's market versus the other cities like Missoula and Kalispell. People are really moving into the Great Falls area right now because of the affordability," said Burke Tyree, who serves as a Broker for Tyree Real Estate.
Brock Cherry has spent most of his time in Idaho, and now serves as the Community and Planning Director for the City of Great Falls. He explained what makes Great Falls unique compared to his previous experience.
"One of the first things that I noticed when I came to Great Falls is we have these very robust entities that are here to assist with making great things happen," Cherry said. "Being able to have a partner who is there to attract business, who want to hand off the baton in a effective and also collaborative matter when it gets to permitting is just awesome."
Speakers at the event emphasized that investing in downtown is vital to ensuring that Great Falls is one of the most thriving cities in the Treasure state.
"There's opportunities that are featured in Invest Downtown that really give you a different glimpse on what downtown is now, which is the best it's been in years, and what it could be," Schalper said.