Valley Development Projects on Track

More than 644,000 square feet of new development expected within two years

By Clare Menzel

Within the next two weeks, over 6,000 square feet dedicated to the sale and consumption of Buffalo Wild Wings will open for business along U.S. Highway 93 in Kalispell. Within the next two years, over 644,000 more square footage of new construction is scheduled to open across the valley.

Kalispell’s Chamber of Commerce President Joe Unterreiner reported on recently completed, new, or planned development and infrastructure progress at an Aug. 26 luncheon for local businesspeople. The various projects, which include everything from new hotels to expanded jails, represent $136.6 million invested into the valley.

If everything goes according to plan, Unterreiner expects many projects to be completed this year. Whitefish Credit Union recently opened a new operations center in Kalispell. In Columbia Falls, Nomad Global Communication Solutions will complete its expansion and new development in October and Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply will open its new retail store in November.

Whitefish Mountain Resort expects its Summit House renovation, which includes the addition of 1,700 square feet of dining space and a new 800-square-foot ski patrol headquarters, to be completed by October.

Popeye’s Chicken plans to open their doors by the end of the year in Kalispell. Glacier Steel’s new fabrication plant at Kalispell Industrial Park will open in February.

The Flathead County Historic Jail and Juvenile Detention Center will see 9,400 square feet of renovated space and an additional 5,200 square feet by spring 2016. The Flathead County Office South will also open in June of next year.

Unterreiner also expects three new hotels to open for business by 2016’s summer season. The first, SpringHill Suites Marriott, to be completed by May, will be built on the site of Kalispell’s latest large-scale development, Spring Prairie near Kidsports Complex, which will eventually have 13 other businesses on site. Two others, a Hampton Inn and a downtown boutique hotel, will open in Whitefish. The hotels will provide over 250 rooms to Flathead visitors, increasing the valley’s hotel capacity by 10 percent, Unterreiner said.

Major developments slated for completion in 2017 include the six new multi-use recreation fields at Kidsports Complex and the Kalispell Bypass, which is estimated to cost $35 million and will divert U.S. Highway 93 traffic around downtown Kalispell. Developers expect construction to begin one month after the Highway Commission selects the project contractor on Sept. 7.

In two years time, the development near Cabela’s will also be home to a new Discount Tires, Dress Barn, and Chick-Fil-A.

clare@flatheadbeacon.com

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