Montana Commercial Real Estate 2020 Wrap Up

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Maggie Collister

Montana Commercial Real Estate 2020 Wrap Up

Get ready for a rundown of some of the biggest commercial development stories across Montana in 2020.


What happened in commercial real estate in Montana this year?

So 2020 –  that was a heck of a year, huh?  We’re glad it’s almost over. But, even in the midst of a pandemic, an economic crisis and all of us becoming the world’s worst substitute teachers, Montana’s commercial real estate market was thriving.

The Sterling CRE team was excited to be a part of one of the biggest stories this year. Yellowstone, a popular TV show, relocated production entirely to Montana. It was a really interesting lease for our team to facilitate. It likely won’t be the last as the MEDIA Act continues to incentivize productions to move operations to Montana.

In other news, WinCo construction got underway in Missoula and Bozeman this year. It looks like the Missoula location will deliver before Bozeman – but both are set to bring jobs and cost-effective grocery options to their respective cities.

Speaking of new grocery stores, Whole Foods is also planning to come to Bozeman as part of the Gallatin Valley Mall redevelopment project. The Mall rings in at about 365,000 square feet in total. A Macy’s is on site as well.

Another significant event for the commercial real estate market was the legalization of recreational marijuana in Montana. Already, we’ve seen more interest for facilities. They need to have the right zoning and other features to meet the demands of this new industry.

However, retail sale of marijuana products won’t start until 2022 so it’s likely that we’ll see retailers looking for commercial space later in 2021.

Further North, Great Falls greenlit a zoning change that would allow for a $16 million luxury housing project fronting the Missouri River. As of the zoning change in August 2020, the plans included restaurants and an on-site gym as part of the amenities for the 80-plus unit complex.

Finally, in Missoula, progress on the Mullan Area Master Plan and the BUILD Grant means that the city continues to inch toward solutions to the housing crunch. While it’s certainly a step in the right direction, Missoula is still working to handle a multifamily vacancy rate of about 1%.

The industrial market was strong throughout 2020, and we anticipate that it will continue to be a safe bet in 2021. The shipping and last-mile distribution networks, along with self-storage, are likely to hold steady for the foreseeable future.

And as much as we all enjoyed working from home in our sweats, interest in the office market is picking up as companies are itching to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

Finally, of course, with the migration of big-city dwellers to Montana, multifamily assets will continue to show a great deal of promise in larger cities around the state. Overall, Montana shows great promise for commercial real estate as we head into 2021.

Thanks for tuning in with Sterling CRE through 2020. Subscribe, like and follow Sterling CRE Advisors for weekly updates on Montana’s CRE deals.

Happy New Year from Sterling CRE!


Matt Mellott
Matt Mellott, CCIM/SIOR

Montana Commercial Real Estate 2020 Wrap Up