Major development continues in downtown Great Falls, ranging from store fronts that continue to thrive, to future developments. Invest Downtown is an annual event hosted by the Great Falls Development Authority, which highlights these moments.
- Heidi Hockett - NorthWestern Energy
- Shirstie Gaylord - Hometana
- Keith Ballantyne - Gibson Hotel
- Karen Beeler - Life in Bloom
- Laura Ewalt - Honey Hippo
- Brion/Jason Lindseth - Station Apartments
- Celeste Smith - Studio Montage
- Casey More - Baatz Building
- Tyler Menzales - Alluvion Project
- Yaron Goldman - Rib & Chop House
- Kellie Pierce - Downtown Development Project Update
- Mike Hallahan - Enbar
Great Falls Development Authority Downtown Business Development Officer, Christian Leinhauser organized the event. He said, "Invest Downtown was visioned about three years ago to celebrate the successes that we have downtown, to highlight some opportunities and show there are spaces that can still be developed, and also to get people excited about the things going on downtown."
Owner of Hometana, Shirstie Gaylord has been showing off her Montana-pride products, located next to the Celtic Cowboy. She discussed what makes downtown Great Falls a unique place.
"We specifically chose downtown because I truly believe downtown communities of any town have a story to tell. To me, they're almost like a song. They have a rhythm, they have a cadence, and they have a heartbeat. I feel strongly that downtown areas of any town has great energy. They're a vibrant, hip community, and I really wanted to be a part of that."
New developments include the Rib and Chop House. The 5,000-plus square-foot restaurant will be at 21 Third Street North - the former location of a Wells Fargo bank. The restaurant will have 225 seats, including a 1,200 square-foot outdoor patio with seating for 40.The menu features steak, ribs, shrimp, salmon, jambalaya, and more.
The 5,000-plus square-foot restaurant will be at 21 Third Street North - the former location of a Wells Fargo bank. The restaurant will have 225 seats, including a 1,200 square-foot outdoor patio with seating for 40. The menu features steak, ribs, shrimp, salmon, jambalaya, and more.
CEO Yaron Goldman said, "We signed our lease not too long ago, and now, we are working with designers and architects, and we hope to start construction before the end of the year, and hopefully we will be selling steaks by the end of this year."
During their presentation, each speaker discussed their individual accomplishments and future plans. Each of them were ecstatic by the progress that has been made.
Leinhauser said, "I moved here about six years ago, and downtown was drastically different just six years ago, and over the last six years, there's so many projects that have come in, that have been catalyst projects such as The Newberry, and other large projects downtown that bring people downtown. That's the key thing. We need to start bringing people downtown if we want to revitalize downtown Great Falls."
(SEPTEMBER 21, 2022) As you drive around Great Falls, you’ll likely see some new businesses that are open, construction underway for other businesses, and a few new "closed" signs, too. Here's a look at some of them:
EL COMEDOR: We reported in April that this Great Falls favorite was sold to new owners and closed for renovations. We have tried several times to get in touch with the owners for an update, but have not yet received a response. Their Facebook page states that they do plan to open "in September."
FAMILY AFFAIR: Several people have told us that there are new owners for Family Affair restaurant, and they plan to re-open in either late October or in November. No word yet on whether the new owners plan to re-brand or continue with the existing name and menu.
BRICK HOUSE BAKERY & SWEET TREATS: The Brick House recently opened at 721 Sixth Street SW, in the same building that is also home to Broadwater Coffee. For more information, call 406-231-1827, or visit their Facebook page.
HARVEST CRAFT KITCHEN: The restaurant, which opened in April 2020 at 220 Central Avenue, had made a move: "Harvest will be moving our location to inside The Wild Hare! We will be closed 9/12 thru 9/21 to get everything moved. We’ll re open serving the same great menu & specials soon." The Wild Hare is 518 Central Avenue, just a few blocks away from Harvest Craft's original location.
FAMILY AFFAIR: The Family Affair restaurant at 616 26th Street North plans to close permanently on Friday, September 23. In July 2018, after sustaining some damage when a car “bumped” into the building, they did some re-designing and updating. When it re-opened a few weeks later, the owners said they had been planning on retiring within the next year, but because of the amount of damages from the crash and investing in the re-design, they decided to stay open for a few more years. At this point, there is no word on what will become of the restaurant.
LA COCINA: The new La Cocina restaurant opened on September 16 at 1709 Alder Drive, in the location formerly occupied by the Fox Farm Diner. It is owned by the former managers of Fiesta En Jalisco, which closed a few weeks ago.
MI RANCHO: Mi Rancho restaurant will open soon in the space formerly occupied by Fiesta En Jalisco in the northeast corner of the Holiday Village Mall parking lot, and they are hiring.
TACO BELL: Great Falls is home to two Taco Bell locations - and a third one is now being built on the east side of town next to Panda Express, situated in the parking lot of Walmart. No word yet on the projected opening date.
PANDA EXPRESS: A second Panda Express is in the works for Great Falls. Planning documents submitted to the city state that it will be built at the West Bank Landing development along 3rd Street NW, in between Jersey Mike’s sub shop and the Verizon store. The first Panda Express in Great Falls opened in early 2018 and is located in the parking lot of the east-side Walmart.
LOADING ZONE: There have been rumors circulating for several weeks that the Loading Zone will close on September 30. Several employees have substantiated the rumors, and so has the band 50 Watt Sun: "The mighty Loading Zone, Playground and the Buffalo will be closing their doors at the end of this month."
SO, that being said, we have TWO more weekends and TWO more chances to send the old girl off to dive bar heaven! The first opportunity comes THIS Saturday, as fate would have it, that we would be the last official band to play the Loading Zone stage. The second and LAST opportunity to party at the Zone will be September 30th! This is a call to all local musicians for an open jam session to celebrate and honor the massive impact the Loading Zone has had on all our musical lives.
On Wednesday, September 21, the Loading Zone posted a "Last Days At The Zone" event on Facebook. In addition, the Playground posted on Facebook: "I’m saying this with a sad heart but after years of serving Great Falls and all you awesome customers we are closing our doors on the 30th of Sept."
There is no official word yet on what will become of the location.
2K's KAFE: The small eatery at 406 3rd Avenue South plans to close in late September. The owners have been serving up breakfast and lunch since 2006. They announced on Facebook last month: "We will be closing our doors for good at the end of September. We have been extremely lucky to have loyal customers like you guys!" (UPDATE - owner said today - September 21 - that 2K's has now closed)
MISSOURI RIVER DINER: The Missouri River Diner, a decades-long staple near River Drive and 9th Street, moved to a new location several days ago - the former Lippi's Kitchen at 705 Central Avenue West. In addition to the move, they also changed the name to A&K Diner - a reference to American and Korean food. The Korean menu options have been introduced within the last two years. They plan to host a grand-opening on Thursday, September 22, from 6:30am-2pm and 4pm-8pm.
CRUMBL COOKIES: Crumbl Cookies will be located in the Target-Albertson’s shopping center. They offer several permanent menu cookies such as chocolate chip and chilled pink sugar cookies, along with a weekly rotating menu. They plan to open in late September or early October. Click here for more details.
CHIPOTLE: Great Falls will be getting a Chipotle restaurant. It will be built on the lot formerly occupied by the Cartwheel Casino & Liquor Store at 1900 10th Avenue South. Chipotle is a fast-casual restaurant that serves burritos, tacos, salads, and more, and has locations in Kalispell, Missoula, Bozeman, and Billings. Tom Micuda, deputy director of the city Planning & Community Development department, said the planning documents were filed several weeks ago. There is no word yet on when the new restaurant is scheduled to open.
INDEPENDENCE BANK/TRUE BREW: The new building opened last month near the intersection of River Drive North and 9th Street. The three-story building is home to Independence Bank, and will also feature a True Brew coffee shop and drive-through. Independence Bank is based in Havre.
RIB & CHOP HOUSE: The Rib & Chop House announced several weeks ago that it has signed a lease to open a restaurant in downtown Great Falls. The 5,000-plus square-foot restaurant will be at 21 Third Street North - the former location of a Wells Fargo bank. The restaurant will have 225 seats, including a 1,200 square-foot outdoor patio with seating for 40. The menu features steak, ribs, shrimp, salmon, jambalaya, and more.
COFFEE REPUBLIC: The new Coffee Republic opened last month along the 3600 block of 10th Avenue South. Click here to visit the Facebook page.
LOFTS AT THE STATION: Big Sky Select Property Group recently broke ground on a new apartment complex in Great Falls - Lofts At The Station. Construction is underway near the Milwaukee Station building at the intersection of River Drive and 1st Avenue North. The five-story complex will feature 121 apartment units, along with three restaurant spaces and a coffee shop available to lease. Plans include a wellness studio and gym, a physical therapy center, and a massage therapy studio. Click here to visit the website.
ARC APARTMENTS: The Arc apartment complex is being built near the intersection of Division Road and Smelter Avenue by the Farran Group. The 216-unit complex will feature nine 24-unit buildings, with studio apartments and one- and two-bedroom units. There will also be a clubhouse, fitness center, and pool. The first units are scheduled to be available in Autumn 2022. Click here to visit the website for more information.
AURORA APARTMENTS: Work continues on the Aurora Apartments near 18th Avenue South and 28th Street South, across the street from Central Catholic High School. The 216-unit apartment complex is being built near the neighboring Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, which is expected to open in the fall of 2023.
NEW APARTMENTS: A new apartment complex is being planned on the currently empty lot along Second Avenue North just east of 38th Street. The 432-unit complex will feature three-story buildings (above-ground) and will include basement storage areas.
MOUNTAIN VIEW CO-OP: Mountain View Co-op demolished its convenience store/gas station at the intersection of Smelter Avenue and 10th Street North, across from the refinery. Construction is now underway on a new, more modern facility, which will also feature a bar and casino.
STARBUCKS: A new Starbucks is nearing completion along the 1600 block of 10th Avenue South. It is in the space formerly occupied by China Buffet. There is no word yet on when it will open.
CAR WASH: A new Tidal Wave "auto spa" is being built along the 3100 block of 10th Avenue South. There is no word yet on when it will open; click here to visit the website.
LES SCHWAB: A Les Schwab facility is being built along the 3200 block of 10th Avenue South. Les Schwab is a tire and auto-care business with several locations in Montana, and hundreds across the country.
Know of a new business opening in Great Falls, or a big move or change for an existing business? Let us know at email@example.com.
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