Downtown will never be the same

by Pete Talbot

A downtown defines a city and in the 1980’s, Missoula’s downtown was on its way out. The economy was lousy and Southgate Mall was beating up on downtown retailers.

Most of the merchants and other business people downtown would have welcomed The Loft with open arms. Hell, they would have welcomed any business with open arms. Back then, if I remember correctly, Fantasy for Adults played an active role in the Downtown Association.

Jamee Greer created a bit of a firestorm with his recent post on the newly created, members only, tony bar called The Loft. Comments ran the gamut, from attacks on those who would join such a club to a strong defense of the club and its members. The undercurrent to all this was that nasty fourteen-letter word: gentrification.

So being one of the older (as in over 50-years-old) contributors to 4&20 and approaching forty years here in the Garden City, I’d like to offer some perspective. My wife has also been involved in a number of retail and service businesses downtown, and has suffered through the bad years and enjoyed the good ones.

Downtown is in a constant state of flux. A decade ago, who would have thought that there would be six, that I can count, coffee shops downtown? When I first moved here in the late 1960’s, there were three hardware stores, three drug stores and a half-dozen clothing stores in the greater downtown area. Thanks to WalMart, Home Depot and Target, I doubt we’ll see those small, independently-owned businesses downtown again, at least not in my lifetime.

And here’s a little déjà vu. Most of my generation remembers and occasionally visited a bar called Lukes. It was a biker dive bar that had music on the weekends. Oh the angst when Lukes closed and was taken over by an upscale deli (with some funding help by the Missoula Redevelopment Association). Missoula’s going yuppie, was the hue and cry, gentrification is ruining the downtown.

Of course other music venues appeared on the scene. Jays, the bar that the Loft is replacing, was one of them.

So maybe downtown is becoming too hip for its own good but please consider the alternatives, like a downtown that nobody wants to visit. Plus, there are parts of Missoula that are hurting the way downtown was in the 1980’s. A blighted Brooks Street comes to mind. Maybe that’s where the next Jays will pop up.

Things could be worse. Been to downtown Billings or Great Falls lately? You can fire a cannon down the main drag and not hit anyone. I’ll bet those cities would readily accept The Loft.

Would I join The Loft? Probably not. To borrow from Groucho Marx, I’d be suspect of any club that wanted me as a member. I also think my invitation was lost in the mail.

Do I want to see a downtown made up entirely of exclusive clubs, high-end boutiques and Aspen-like galleries? Of course not. But having lived through the years when downtown Missoula almost died, I’m not so quick to judge any business that wants to add its name to the roster of downtown Missoula players.

  1. Jim Lang

    Downtown is one the great things about Missoula, if you ask me… and the fact that there are multitude of businesses there that I will never visit (among them, The Loft) bothers me not a bit.

    I don’t really understand what all the hue and cry is about…. and I still say this place will go out of business within 5 years … how about a bet – the monthly fee is $175… I will bet $175 that in December 2012, it will either be out of business or have changed it’s business model.

  2. Jim Lang

    Any takers?

  3. petetalbot

    $175 is a little steep, Jim. Also, with my short and long term memory lapses, I’d probably forget about the bet even if I won. How about your beverage of choice as a wager?

  4. Jim Lang

    Does that mean you think this business venture will succeed?

    Anyway, I’ll happily buy you a round – no wager necessary – and I’m pretty sure there is no shortage of downtown bars who’ll be happy to oblige.

  5. I think it was Groucho Marx who quipped about not being in any club that would want him as a member.

  6. Hey, now that $175 is no longer on the line, can I get in on this wager?

  7. Jim Lang

    Sure, if you’re willing to bet that this business will be a success.

  8. I heard that Kip Pout & the Riff Raff got a standing house gig at that new Loft joint. Can anyone confirm?

  9. petetalbot

    The quote I butchered sounded like it came from Will Rogers but you are correct, Rebecca, it was indeed Groucho Marx. I’ve made the change — thanks, Ms. Smarty Pants.

    And Jim and Rebecca, I say we make it interesting and change the wager to three years. That’s usually the benchmark given to business startups — if it can make it three years, it will make it five.

  10. Jim Lang

    Sure three… although I’m not going for $175 in that case… but forget the bet, what I really wanna know is if I’m the only one who thinks this venture is doomed to failure.

  11. I guess I can’t bet against you, Jim, because I think it will fail too. I’m thinking about the old statistic that 60% of small restaurants (and other small businesses) fail in their first three years. I noticed last night that “Earth Folk” has already disappeared from North Higgins, and it only took them what? One year? Two?

    That’s Little Miss Smarty-Pants to you, Pete. ;-)

  12. Jim Lang

    How about that ‘New York Deli’… was it open for like, two weeks?

  13. Colin Hickey

    I would take that bet but I’m going to need that $175 in 2012 to power my flying car and robot servants.

    BTW Earth Folk has moved to an online store now. R.I.P.

  14. Colin Hickey

    Also the New York Deli closed because of a illness in the family forced them to move.

  15. You know, here’s what gets me about the Loft — forget about the membership fees and everything — they don’t actually provide anything except for the space. No food, no booze, you can’t even buy a fine cigar!

    Look, if I were a capitalist lighting my stogies with $100 bills, I’d want a little something for my money: some exclusive food and booze, and cringing, obsequious service…at the very least!

  16. Jedediah Redman

    A shield from the hoi polloi would not tempt you at all?

  17. No booze? Fuck that! Now it’s gonna fail for sure!

  18. “How about that ‘New York Deli’… was it open for like, two weeks?”

    You mean Gandolf’s? That place was pathetic. DH and I waited eagerly for two months for that place to open. Deli, schmeli. The food was rotten. We checked out on the way to Taco del Sol every week and it was a morgue.

    Note to entrepreneurs: It helps to have a good product.

  19. I kept meaning to go that deli (Gandolfini’s?), but by the time I got around to it, it was already gone…and yet another fruit smoothie place was in its place. Seriously, how many smoothie places does one town need?

  20. Jamee Greer

    It’s a frozen yogurt joint! They also have hot chocolate, but it’s nowhere near as good as the stuff they got at Posh Chocolat by the Wilma!

  21. Is it? I saw pictures of fruit and shakes through the windows and assumed the worst.

  22. matguy

    Any bets on how long the smoothie place lasts? Out of a general issue I have with places with names in baby talk, I never went to Junga Juice… And Gandolfo’s was a joke. You could take the meat it took to make one of their sandwiches out of a Worden’s sandwich, and the Worden’s sandwich wouldn’t even look any different. My vote for the location would be either a Ben and Jerry’s or a place where you could get a reat, honest to goodness slice of pizza.

  23. Jamee Greer

    Great post, Pete! It’s neat to hear your perspective on the whole thing. I have heard stories about downtown Missoula in the eighties, especially things about the Wilma!

    I have seen several comments on how the Loft is making downtown too “hip” “hep” or “cool” – and I just want to point out that few people I know think it’s any of that.

    The Badlander or The Palace? Hip.
    Betty’s Devine? Hip.
    Biga Pizza? Hip.
    Shakespeare and Co? Hip.

    The Loft? Decidedly un-hip.

  24. Why would we need a Ben and Jerry’s when we have a Big Dipper? I don’t have anything against Ben and Jerry’s…but let’s support a local business over a chain, even a hip, liberal, delicious chain. Which reminds me, there’s even a Ben and Jerry’s on the corner of Haight and Ashbury. Talk about appropriate…

    You forgot to add Fantasy for Adults to your hip list there, Jamee.

  25. Jim Lang

    Hmmm… speaking of cigars, I think you could make a successful business out of a private club downtown once the smoking ban goes into full effect…. not for $175 a month, but with a reasonable price, you could open a ‘private club’ that was in reality just a bar for smokers…

  26. Smoothie place: Everything tastes like lemon yogurt. Another bomb.

    People are just not thinking through their business plans.

    It’s a shame Friends didn’t try that location before they went belly up becaues their deli food was really good. But maybe not foo-foo enough for downtown. Too bad the Bike Dr. moved out in the first place. Was it a hissy fit over Starbucks?

  27. Jim Lang

    I liked the food at Friends, too. Bike Dr…. I’d guess they moved for cheaper rent. I don’t think a bike shop is really in much need of the pedestrian traffic that a downtown location provides.

  28. g.hooligan

    “fine cigar” “jumbo shrimp”

    Yep, RS, it’s a “true fact” that 66.2% of all statistics are made up “on the spot”.

    Like I said before, at least Double Front and the Big Sky burger joint are still around. The head shop’s gone, too, I guess, busted a few years ago along with my buddy’s “Grateful Shed” shop.

    ya can’t go back and ya can’t stand still

  29. Jamee Greer

    The Bike Dr. is an amazing business, and I totally forgot to include them on the “hip” list.

    I heard there was a significant rent increase around the time Starbucks moved in. It’s too bad they’re no longer down on Higgins, I thought their location was great. But their new place has been an excellent concert space, surprisingly – so perhaps it was for the best. You know, until it’s turned into an exclusive club or ritzy deli.

  30. Jamee Greer

    …and no, Rebecca. Fantasy for Adults is not hip. I’m sorry. I hear Bozeman is getting a “hip” adult store though.

  31. goof houlihan

    Downtown will never be the same…

    Yeah, don’t I know it. Can’t afford to eat or drink at Plonks, myself.

    Long way from free jitterbug lessons at the VFW on thursday nights.

    Plonk bar isn’t the Maverick or the Range. But it’s packed three or four nights a week, and 317 ain’t the Zebra, but it’s packed almost every night with college students. So it goes.

  32. goof houlihan

    The Chamber’s Green coats didn’t cut the ribbon at “Erotique” and the Mayor didn’t stand outside at the grand opening. But I’m glad Billy’s hanging in there. I’m sure he’d welcome the Missoula business, too.

  33. I’ve had a few drinks at Plonk, Goof. And I wept when I got my credit card bill.

    Clearly I forgot to type my sarcasm tags, Jamee. No, Fantasy is not hip. But I don’t think we’ll be seeing a Good Vibrations here anytime soon.

  34. The head shop’s still here, Goof. At least two of them are, The Joint Effort and The Down Under. The former is on Brooks near CVS and the latter is beneath the hippie clothing store on Main.

  35. David Strohmaier

    Be advised, the Downtown Business Improvement District, the Downtown Association, and the Parking Commission, in concert with the City of Missoula, are on the cusp of kicking off the process to develop a downtown master plan. One of my main goals upon taking office on city council was to get this planning underway, which will help clarify our collective vision for downtown Missoula for the next twenty years or more. I’ve been part of the steering committee for about a year, and today, after countless hours of review, we selected a consultant to lead the planning effort. I believe that this will be one of the most exciting and important planning initiatives that we’ve undertaken as a community. Stay tuned for opportunities to become involved.

  36. David Strohmaier

    I neglected to mention the Missoula Redevelopment agency, which is the other primary player in the master planning initiative.

  37. JC

    on the cusp of kicking off the process…

    Thank god, I thought some action was imminent, and we’d have to define our collective vision so the consultant could clarify our initiatives, or was it to undertake the effort to plan the opportunity, or…???

    ;-) Sorry David, couldn’t help myself. And if the commenters on this article stay tuned any longer, they’re probably going to get involved with a hang over tomorrow.

    Pete, nice revisionist history! Anybody else remember the organic whole wheat pizza served out of the basement pizzeria at Lukes? Dancing at the Park? Watching the morning crew at Eddies get their picture taken in the alley? An intimate moment in the Chapel of the Dove?

    Jamee, people would buy tickets to the Chapel of the Dove for the worst movies, just so they could spend some time there. Who would have guessed that the basement of the Wilma housed one of the most outrageous fetish displays in Montana, ever?

  38. Big Swede

    Billings all ready has a Loft, and no, I’ve never been there.

  39. matguy


    I don’t have anything against the Big Dipper, but their stuff, while creative, is not quite as good (to me anyway) as Ben and Jerry’s. I’m all for local places, but there just isn’t anybody local making ice cream as good as theirs- texture, richness, the whole deal- even since the Unilever buyout, and it would certainly be better than that smoothie place.

    I don’t get how it is that all the foo-foo boutiques make it in Missoula, as I almost never see anyone in them. Even the rich trophy wives of the Bitterroot (heels, perm, Chevy Tahoe, white puffy coat) are easier to find lunching at Doc’s than shopping in those places.

    So, whatever happened to the fish place up by the XXX’s? I was really hoping for something good there.

  40. Yes! I saw that “Down Under” banner all summer while shopping at the Farmers’ Market and now the buidling is empty. Anyone know what happened to the future fish market?

  41. Thank god, I thought some action was imminent, and we’d have to define our collective vision so the consultant could clarify our initiatives, or was it to undertake the effort to plan the opportunity

    Ha ha ha! You forgot to add that our consultant will first need to organize our focus groups; after engaging in sessions establishing a Missoula brand, they will envision a mission statement encompassing the diverse needs of the community while at the same time strengthening the ties between ourselves and Frenchtown, Lolo and Turah.

  42. petetalbot

    Please point out what was “revisionist” in my post. And, yes, I do remember the pizza served, for a brief time, out of Lukes basement, and the Park, and the Chapel of the Dove, and Eddy’s Club.

    Here’s a little one-upmanship. All the spaghetti you could eat and pitchers of beer — a dollar for each at the Shack (when it was located on Front St.), Monk’s Cave (free beer on Monday night), Connies, the Flame, the Turf (dime beer night), Jekyll and Hydes, the I Don’t Know Tavern (predecessor to Lukes), Alice’s Restaurant, Kramis (sp?) Hardware and Howard Distributors, Rishashay (my wife owned it for a while)…

    Whoa, I’d better stop there. Too many bar and beer references. Plus, I’m sounding like an old timer.

  43. I’m no Loft apologist nor detractor; but having talked to those guys directly, I do think it’s worth mentioning this to those who don’t understand the business plan: The main thing that I think their business plan is hung upon is the fact that they have a nice conference room and meeting space. There are many small businesses that need meeting space but don’t have it (and even some reasonably large businesses and non-profits; witness Susan Cramer’s editorial in the Missoulian regarding the space issues at the United Way offices….I also know that the Missoula Downtown Association needs to borrow space for its monthly board meetings because they don’t have a conference room).

    There are also people who work from home who need, in essence, a kind of floating office where they can meet people. And there are the out-of-towners who do business here, vice versa….
    As to betting either way about the business’ longevity, doing so would certainly ding my credibility as a journalist. But it’s worth noting one factoid from the first story I wrote in the Missoulian: the Loft in Whitefish has been open for 3 years and currently has a full membership list and a waiting list of 57 people who want to join but can’t because it’s full.

  44. JC

    Hmmm… maybe a better term would have been reminiscent. I wasn’t meaning revisionist in a negative sense–just in the sense that we all have our own takes on the past.

    Let me throw a few more out there: Tropicana Cafe (best veggie browns ever), the Down Under, the Smith Hotel, with its solitary exterior light and the old man who used to sit out at night reading (now a parking lot). The, dare I say it, the Ugly Shop (across the hall from the Beauty Shop on Brooks)?

    How about the Hideaway/Benchmark (now Moulin Rouge) and the Carousel out on the strip? First clubs I ever played in Missoula, mid 70’s to 80’s, soon to be followed by trips to the Top Hat (pre-expansion, if you think its crowded now, you should have seen it then). And for you Bozoners, Rose’s Cantina.

    I think the point here is that Missoula has changed a lot, and the continuing tension between downtown and the strip goes on. One of the things that has changed dramatically has been the composition of the clientele of the various hip joints. From cowboy to cowboy hippy, disco to rocker, new-waver to punker.

    What I see in the change, most of all, is the appearance of the affluent young professional, transplanted from the coasts and big cities, with economies far different from Missoula’s. Wealth not earned here, but flaunted here. And for those of us who have struggled in Missoula all these years to little economic advantage, to see the problems of poverty, homelessness, and disparity in income and opportunity, well the contrasts are growing stark.

    I have no problems with the Loft, as a business like any other having to make it on its own merits. Nor do I mourn the passing of Jays–my days spent working and playing in the clubs are over, having succumbed to the inevitable end game of the 9-2am shift.

    The Loft, and the changes in downtown Missoula play out with a new cast of (relatively) wealthy and hip newcomers. Unfortunately, imported wealth serves to impoverish many of those who chose to not seek greener $$ pastures elsewhere (and paying their “dues” to return to a Missoula they could then survive in), as the median home selling price and the median wage no longer the twain shall meet. Property taxes based on your neighbors imported wealth–his second or third home, possibly. Sub prime mortgages and payday loans, pawn shops and check cashing joints, exploding rental prices, and casinos abound in this New Missoula. Catering to those who only dream of having the wherewithall to afford a club like the Loft, much less be… invited… to join.

    Nonprofiteers and service groups and businesses wrangle for position, jostling with each other to maximize exposure and impact. Controversy is inevitable, as it always has been. But what will become of Missoula’s character, no one can say for sure. That’s up to us.

  45. Pete Talbot

    Thanks for the info, Joe.

    And JC, who are you? If you remember the Ugly Shop, then our paths must have crossed. (The signs read: “Beauty Shop, Walk In” and on the door opposite, “Ugly Shop, Walk Out.”)

    As for the changes in Missoula, well, I was just in Great Falls. It kind of reminded me of Missoula a couple of decades ago: friendly, unpretentious folks saying “hi” to a stranger on the street. On the other hand, I’ll take our economy and amenities over Great Falls’ any day of the week.

  46. Deborah

    Eddie’s Club?
    Gilded Lily?
    Queen of Tarts?
    Missoula Mercantile?
    ABC Kiddy Shop?

    Kindly police officers who would drive you home and not rat you out to your parents…

    Christ I’m old.

  47. petetalbot

    Oops. Deb inadvertently points out my misspelling of Eddie’s Club. I always mixed it up with Eddy’s Bakery (where Rockin Rudy’s now resides). I remember the smell of fresh baked bread as I was headed home from the U to my basement apartment ($75 a month, and worth every penny) on Blaine St.

  48. JC

    Speaking of bakeries and coffee shops, can you believe that Bernice’s is celebrating its 30th birthday right now? Wow.

    And Pete, if I told you, you might have to enter a witness protection program. Just kidding ;-). Thems were some dangerous days, back then. Remember when the Turtles anonymously backed up Jethro Tull at the field house? “We don’t know who you are, and you don’t who we are… imagine me and you…” Let’s just say for now that the Ugly Shop and some of its inhabitants & I have long roots stretching back to Gruffles (Great Falls’ equivalent of Mizzou, or the Bozone).

  49. goof houlihan

    “What I see in the change, most of all, is the appearance of the affluent young professional, transplanted from the coasts and big cities, with economies far different from Missoula’s. Wealth not earned here, but flaunted here. And for those of us who have struggled in Missoula all these years to little economic advantage…”

    Montanans who left after college, moved to the coast, learned a profession, sacrificed living in paradise (I’m talking about Bozeman there, not Missoula ha ha but to each his or her own) are now moving back to try their professions here. I’ve gone door to door and talked to the new parts of town, and my experience is that this is the story, “come-backers” who went to school here or are attracted by strong economies. They’d move back to their towns in Montana but there is no opportunity there.

    These people sacrificed; they left their hometowns and their states. These people are Montanans, but are counted as outsiders because of their success or because of their last addresses.

    That’s wrong. It’s also wrong to make “envy” part of public policy. They made one choice, and others made another. The different outcomes of those choices have many factors including the industry and the risk-taking and abilities of those making those choices. It’s not a result of public policy.

    All the good times are NOT past and gone. The rehabilitation of a downtown, the growth of an economy, the ability of Montanans to live in Montana, those are good things, not bad things.

  50. JC


    I wasn’t referring to Montanans who have chosen to leave (the sacrifice) and are returning. I’m referring to people who are leaving the big cities and coming here because we such a better quality of life, in some ways, than they have there. I’m talking about the people building second and third trophy homes for their Montana getaways. I’m talking about Montanans losing job opportunities at home to relatively wealthy, resume-padded big city refugees.

    But there still is a problem with having to need to “sacrifice” one’s time by going to land of economic milk and honey. It sounds like you are giving them a badge of honor, like we give military vets, for having done so. That somehow the young Montanan who doesn’t undertake the sacrificial journey, in order to buy their way into the middle class on return to Montana, is somehow lesser of a person.

    It is the importation of wealth by non-Montanans that is as responsible for creating the rift between things like median price of a home in Missoula, and the ability of the median wage-earner to afford it. Or the ability of the young Missoula family to buy health insurance, when the rent on their Missoula home–owned by an out-of-stater–increases to a point where they no longer can afford to.

    I really don’t know what to do about it. Montana’s economy in general, and Missoula’s in particular has been blasted out of balance by the importation of wealth. This is not about envy or choice. it is a simple observation. In the olden days, I used to hear my elders saying: “gut shoot ’em at the border.” Now I know what they were talking about.

    Now I’ve never suggested that the good times are past and gone. Nor do I think Missoula’s downtown “rehabilitation” is a negative thing. Far from it. I’ve spent my life observing change and politics in Montana. There is much about the changes in Missoula that I enjoy. I just think that those who are involved with public policy need to acknowledge what many of us long-time Montana residents know to be true.

    If you want to deal with economic justice issues in Montana, then you’re going to have to look at the issue of how the economy (and the accumulation of wealth) in the big cities is affecting our state and our residents. Personally, I believe in protectionist policies in Montana that serve our residents, not our wealthy immigrants and out-of-state profiteers. And I’m not the only one who believes this.

    And the Loft exemplifies the issue of having to chase the money “where it is” by our nonprofit leaders, when the blue collar working sector of Missoula no longer has the wherewithall to give, and indeed is becoming needy for aid.

    What I am referring to really is just the tip of a class-warfare iceberg that has appeared on the horizon. Just as many have described the fighting between the right and the left as a political civil war, so are some others pointing to the discrepancy of the haves and the have-nots as the next civil war. Enlightened public policy in Montana has the potential to change that.

  51. My parents were two of the Montanans who had to leave their home in search of a better life and larger salary. My father settled in the Bay Area in his twenties, and when he met my mom in Missoula in the 1960s, he brought her down to California. We tried to make a go of it up here in the mid-70s (my father worked for a young Denny Washington), but just couldn’t do it. No one, including Denny, was paying enough even back then–during the mythical “Golden Age” of high-wage natural resource jobs.

  52. goof houlihan

    Nobody from Montana was ever able to buy the big house on the hill.

    The towns of Laurel, and Livingston, and Anaconda, and Havre, and Three Forks, they’re small towns with small houses of those who worked the mine and mill and railroad.

    Outsiders always built their big places in towns other than those, or out on the hills.

    And no, JC, you don’t get to claim the high road now. I refuted YOUR assertion that it was nobler to stay here and starve than to leave and build a future. Either way has it’s advantages and disadvantages, and I’ve tried both. Neither can claim any moral victory.

    You imagine enemies of people who are just as you describe, hard working, middle class, determined. Their resume’s are padded because they went where the work was, and worked hard. Your scorn for their efforts condemns your words to appear as little more than self pity.

    As far as “economic justice” goes, my philosophy has always been the same, “the taters are there if you wanna dig em”. America is still the land of opportunity, and capitalism is still the closest thing to economic justice this world’s ever figured out. If it’s war you want, then you should note, the communists are losing to the capitalists, in the Soviet Union, in China, in Israel, everywhere.

    Gut shoot em at the border referred to shooting the draft dodgers as they returned from Canada. It was offensive then, and it’s offensive now.

  53. JC

    No goof, you twist my words to suit your own perceptions. I never suggested that it was “noble” to stay and starve. Many Montanans have done just fine getting started in the local economy. And my premise is not built on the idea that the Montanans who leave and come home are the problem.

    I was merely pointing to the fact that many people are moving to Montana who have never lived here. And they bring wealth and values that were built in much larger and different communities. I’m not intimating some sinister intentions on their part. It’s just that the changes happening in Montana are starting to reflect more the character of the big city, than the character of small town Montana.

    Your philosophy of economic justice sounds more like the views of a meritocracy heralded by neocons, than that of progressive Montanans. I was not, and do not suggest that capitalism is the root of the problem, or that communism or socialism is the cure, as you seemed to allude that I do.

    But when capitalism becomes hostage to collusion between corporations and the federal government, well, then some call that fascism. And the structural poverty that is the result becomes apparent to many people. Your philosophy seems to suggest that the poor and homeless, and infirm just need to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and get a life. I don’t buy it.

    And as to the gut shoot ’em phrase. I brought that up because I listened to my father say it when I was growing up in the 60’s. He was referring to the Californians moving to Montana, or hippies bringing in drugs. You may have heard in different contexts. I heard and learned a lot of offensive things from my father and others as I was growing up. And I had to unlearn them as I matured. I only brought it up, as the phenomenon of social and cultural change in Montana is not a new one.

  54. “It is the importation of wealth by non-Montanans that is as responsible for creating the rift between things like median price of a home in Missoula, and the ability of the median wage-earner to afford it”

    This happened damn near everywhere and is not unique to Montana. Easy credit had more to do it than anything. Cross your fingers that the emigres buying trophy homes here have lost enough equity elsewhere to put the brakes on this process for a few years.

  55. Ayn Rand

    times are a changing on Duncan Drive..Pete Talbot, Missoula’s newest developer apparently has interest in either Sonata Park or Duncan Meadows or both. A little digging will out the prep. According to the developers agent..”a lot of land in that neighborhood already is protected open space” .The neighbors diagree, according to Missoulian on Line.

  56. petetalbot

    Way to go, Ayn, turn an interesting exchange of ideas on growth, development and downtown into to some sort of personal tirade. You’re a class act.

    And as usual, your facts are all wrong. I have absolutely nothing to do with Sonata Park or Duncan Meadows or any development on the west side of the Rattlesnake.

    Here’s what I am involved in, peripherally. Over a dozen years ago, my wife and I bought an acre above our house on the east side of the Rattlesnake. It was to be our nest egg. My wife (the smart one in the family) has started building three patio homes on that site. She began the project when real estate was hot in Missoula. It has since cooled, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

    She’s also involved in some remodels of duplexes in the Rattlesnake. She’s an interior designer, so this is what she does. She’s damn good at it, too. There. Any other misinformation I can straighten out for you, Ayn?

    As I said, my wife’s the responsible one in the family — doesn’t waste her time responding to anonymous bloggers who have nothing to add to a conversation. I hope I can learn from her and in the future, just delete your asinine comments.

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