A group of investors announced plans this week to remodel a former nightclub in downtown Whitefish. Construction has begun on the building, located at 100 Central Avenue, and the Western Montana Real Estate Fund is already negotiating with prospective tenants interested in leasing street-level space.
The vacant building once housed Flanagan’s Central Station, a staple in the Flathead Valley’s music scene well known for bringing some of the biggest bands to the area. But after several run-ins with local police and state liquor authorities, Jim Flanagan was forced to shut his doors in September of 2007. Before Flanagan moved in, it was home to Coaches Corner.
In its latest reincarnation, more than the name on the front door will change. General contractor Hammerquist Casalegno will be giving the exterior a substantial facelift. The I-beams protruding from the front window will be removed, the façade will be set back further from the sidewalk and the building will be painted.
“Our primary goal for 100 Central was to clean up the cluttered exterior and make it less imposing to pedestrians when they walk by,” said Mark Young, an architect with Jackola Engineering & Architecture.
The upgrade is scheduled for completion by the end of June. Marshall Friedman, a Whitefish resident and investor in the project, says its too early to speculate on who may eventually move in. The two levels can be offered as two large spaces or divvied up into multiple ones; and while the ground level will remain retail, Friedman said the upstairs, with its high ceilings and wide-open floor plan, could accommodate commercial or residential tenants.
“There’s going to be a lot of interest as people see what’s happening,” Friedman said. “I think they will be contacting us about different uses and we will evaluate each one as they come up.”
The mission of the Western Montana Real Estate Fund is to “acquire property that will appreciate over a three- to five-year period,” and Friedman said 100 Central Avenue fit that criteria.
“We are optimistic and actively purchasing properties in the local market,” Alan Elm, another investor in the group, said. “We believe the current economic conditions will lead to a return of a strong real estate market and feel that Whitefish is poised as one of the most attractive areas of investment for real estate.”
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