Redevelopment Renaissance Continues in Downtown Kalispell

First Interstate Bank is renovating and updating its hub location on the corner of Main Street and Center Street, following a development upgrade trend in the city center

By Maggie Dresser
Crews remodel First Interstate Bank in downtown Kalispell on Jan. 26, 2023. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

As downtown Kalispell experiences a development renaissance with the newly constructed Parkline Trail and the future additions of an eight-story parking garage, a new hotel and a housing and restaurant project on Center Street, First Interstate Bank is following suit with a remodel of its Main Street branch.

Crews with Swank Enterprises are currently remodeling First Interstate Bank at the Center Street and Main Street intersection to add drive-thru windows and transform the green-granite interior into modern brick-and-metal paneling with windows scaling the north face of the building.

“The green granite was a popular look back in the day,” said Brenden Craig, the Flathead market president of First Interstate Bank. “Our vision statement at First Interstate Bank is to be the most relevant, everyday experience for our clients. So that really prompted this remodel of just making that building relevant again. We’re excited at the momentum we’re seeing in downtown Kalispell, and we’re excited to be part of it with this renovation.”

Craig calls First Interstate’s Kalispell branch the Flathead Valley’s “hub location,” which he says is the largest of eight branches in the valley – stretching from Eureka to Polson.

The 15,000 square-foot building will also be home to additional tenants, with First Interstate encompassing 9,000 square feet on the main floor with 4,000 square feet available for lease. Craig said there has already been interest from potential business owners in leasing the future spaces.

Rendering of the remodeled First Interstate Bank building on Main Street in Kalispell. Image by Cushing Terrell

Additionally, a drive-thru will be added to the back of the building, which did not exist before construction began. The First Interstate drive thru on First Avenue East near Super 1 Foods will be torn down and bank tellers will relocate to the Main Street branch when the remodel is complete.

“We’re excited to have our tellers and our entire team in the same building again,” Craig said.

The company has been working closely with the Kalispell Downtown Association and the city’s architectural review committee to ensure the design fits within Kalispell’s historic character and the Main Street corridor, Craig said.

The bank’s redesign was imagined by Cushing Terrell, an architectural company with a Kalispell office and a history of bank design and other commercial properties.

First Interstate’s renovation follows a construction trend in the epicenter of the Flathead Valley, which has attracted interest from developers who have historically worked in Whitefish.

Last fall, the city approved a $9.2 million, eight-story parking structure that will include multifamily housing a block south of First Interstate. The project drew widespread opposition from residents and business owners, who argued the height and design would ruin the city’s historic character.

A year ago, the city approved a five-story hotel that will include 79 housing units, a full-service restaurant, a rooftop bar and valet parking service on the corner of Third Avenue and Main Street.

Across Center Street from First Interstate, Flathead Valley developer Mick Ruis is in the process of building 230 residential units on a mixed-use property that will also be home to a bar and restaurant on top of the historic 100-foot grain silo at the former CHS property along the recently finished Parkline Trail.

“I’m just thrilled at the momentum we’re seeing in downtown Kalispell,” Craig said. “It’s becoming a really cool downtown and we’re excited to be part of it.”

Rendering of the remodeled First Interstate Bank building on Main Street in Kalispell. Image by Cushing Terrell

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