“Eye On Great Falls”

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Here’s a look at some of the changes happening in Great Falls, including new/relocating businesses, construction in progress, and other tidbits.

I love the “dynamics” of seeing change in our community. Sometimes it’s tinged with sadness, such as when Goode’s Q & Bayou Grill closed, or a building filled with “memories” is torn down, but it’s exciting to see new things springing up.

The Great Falls offices of the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management will soon move to a new facility near the intersection of 38th Street North and River Drive North. It’s a pretty cool looking building, as far as government offices go.

The former Ryan’s Station restaurant is now home to several small businesses. Texture Salon & Spa recently opened in the west side of the building, and the Pay Station casino is open in the center area. It’s a nice shop – friendly people. The area on the east side of the building will soon be home to a new Amy’s Morning Perk location; it is expected to open on Friday, April 1st, and will feature both an indoor dining area and a drive-thru. I met Amy – she’s very excited about the new spot. She recently closed her location in the mall, but the original “log cabin” spot on Northwest Bypass is still going strong.

The west-side McDonald’s has been demolished, and construction of its replacement is underway.

Still no official word on if/what might go into the space in between TJ Maxx and Staples on the NW side. I’ve heard two persistent rumors: Ulta and Harbor Freight. But still nothing official. Until the rumors started a few months ago, I had never heard of either. But holy cow – some of my friends and co-workers get positively giddy at the mere thought of an Ulta store in Great Falls!

The Townhouse Inn on 10th Avenue South in Great Falls has closed its doors and the process of tearing down the building has begun. New convenience store and casino coming to that location, and I believe a new hotel will be built in between Dahlquist Realty and the Holiday convenience store on the far west end of 10th Avenue South, where a long time ago the Kanga Inn used to be.

The building that once housed TJ’s Lounge and Godfather’s Pizza in Great Falls is being torn down, and construction of the “Cash Out Casino” is underway at the corner of 10th Avenue South and 13th Street.

Crews are continuing work on the Voyageur Apartments building on Division Road, between 16th Avenue NW and Smelter Avenue. The Voyageur Apartments will be a multi-story complex designed for people age 55 and older. 

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen will soon open a new location on the 400 block of Smelter Avenue NE on the lot that once housed Burger Master. I expect that traffic in and around this already-wonky intersection will be fairly intense, initially. Looking forward to it — I like their chicken, but having it so close instead of having to go on base (Malmstrom) will be pretty sweet!

Renovation and construction continues at the site that once was Vans grocery stores at 10th Avenue South and 32nd Street. The space is being turned into a Super 1 Foods grocery store. The project includes improvements to parking, landscaping, building facade, and expansion of the existing structure. I’ve heard lots of good things about Super 1 from folks who have shopped at their other locations.

Ground has been broken for the East End Retail Center near 10th Avenue South and 57th Street. The project will include a second Walmart for Great Falls. No idea yet what other shops will be in this space. I only hope that once it opens, traffic along Smelter in front of the existing Walmart will decrease!

The Sleep Number mattress store recently opened at 10th Avenue South and 9th Street. Just a few hundred feet away from the also recently-opened Mattress Firm. In the Great Falls Mattress District. Where people can buy mattresses.

I’m a little confused that both stores opened so close to each other in such a short amount of time, but other than that – more power to ’em. I’m very happy with the “Durango” bed that I sleep on every night – we bought it about five years ago at Denver Mattress. But when it comes time to buy a new bed, we likely will check out one or both of the new stores (prolly Mattress Firm first, because the manager is a nice guy). I appreciate having choices.

As for the casinos — I just don’t care. I’m fine with casinos, got no problem with them. I figure I spend about…maybe $50 a year or so playing games in a couple of restaurants after a meal. Other than that – I basically don’t think of them at all. But it always baffles me when I see SO MANY people complain about them and rant about there being too many casinos in Great Falls.

Seriously – why so upset? Why not rant about the number of retail locations that sell lottery tickets, too? Why get so worked up about something that not only probably doesn’t directly affect you negatively, but helps Montana retain its “no sales tax” status?



  1. Thanks for the updates. What’s going on with the former Kranz Flowers & Gifts, being demolished just off 15th Street and 3rd Avenue South?

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