New hope for Missoula Mercantile


MISSOULA, Mont. - One of Missoula's first buildings may soon be brought back to life. The Missoula Mercantile has sat vacant since 2011. New offers could indicate the start of the building's future.

The Merc, as it's known by locals, was last a Macy's when it was closed for business in late 2011. Octagon Partners, which owns the building, has been looking into three strong offers for the space.

"What I can tell you is that we have three very strong suitors, if you will, for the Merc. At this time we're in talks with all of them," said Jed Dennison, the owner and broker of Zilla State, which is representing Octagon Partners.

Residents around Missoula would like to see the Merc remain a part of the downtown scene. Some have ideas for what they would like to see move into the vacant space.

"I really would like to see the old Missoula Merc building become the Missoula Public Library. I think it would be a great way to preserve a lot of the history of Missoula," said downtown visitor Laurie Foshag.

"I think a hardware store. To be able to buy hardware and other items like that, general items that we might need instead of having to go all the way out of town," said local business owner Mike Norvelle.

No matter what the Merc is turned into, it will remain a part of Missoula's future for decades to come.

"AsI like to tell folks, it's not like you're really buying the Merc, you're becoming the next caretaker for the Merc," said Dennison.

Dennison has no timetable for the sale of the building, but says that they hope to come to a conclusion with one of the interested parties soon.