A sign on the Crossroads Parkway provides an indication of what to expect on the property, which is overshadowed by the Mountain View Meadows housing development and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana headquarters.
The Crossroads Commercial Center now has 17 commercial lots and a total of 46 lots to build more business between Helena and East Helena to serve the growing residential and commercial community. The property is just a stone’s throw from State Highway 12, which has a steady flow of traffic.
Tyler Warne, a broker and owner of Coldwell Banker Commercial, said the signs have been up since December and he gets a few calls a week about the property. He said the projects could also be a mix of commercial and multi-family homes.
Mark Runkle, the Mountain View Meadows property owner and developer, said he’s hoping for an upscale business center — dubbed “The Crossroads” on Mountain View Meadows’ website — with a nice restaurant.
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He noted that State Highway 12, which passes by the property, has 23,000 vehicles daily and Interstate 15, which is 1.5 miles away, has 15,000.
But it could take a few more years. He said he’s holding off on promoting the commercial lot until he gets more homes for Mountain View Meadows, a master-planned community now nearing 500 units.
“We don’t expect things to move too fast until we get more housing and housing in this area,” he said. “I think we’re going to be very busy with housing over the next year or two and we’ll see what comes.”
He added that it’s his theory that commercial projects need to “come to us” and he doesn’t have to go to great lengths to go out and sell.
“Historically, advertising has always followed the rooftops,” he said.
Runkle pointed out that the Blue Cross headquarters will be complemented by a residential community for seniors to be built by St. Peter’s Health and Immanuel Living, a Kalispell-based subsidiary of Immanuel Lutheran Communities.
Officials said it will have 150-200 units on about 20 acres of commercial land and bring more residents to the area.
Runkle said there is flexibility for commercial projects as lots range in size from half an acre to 20 acres. He said he believes he has the largest commercial lots in the city.
Warne, who is also with Green and Green Realty Associates, said the center would also be good for some smaller commercial businesses like chiropractors, lawyers and dentists.
He also said he would like to see a grocery store or a quality grocery store.
Warne believes the commercial center would attract people not only from East Helena, but also from Montana City, Clancy and North Jefferson County.
“It’s in exactly the right spot,” he said.
While the project is in Helena, Warne and Runkle said East Helena also identifies with Mountain View Meadows because the students who live there attend East Helena schools.
Warne said what makes Crossroads and Mountain View Meadows unique is that they have city infrastructure and are operational.
Warne said the east side of Helena is where he believes “the path of progress” will lie in the future. He said anything built on the property must be approved by the Mountain View Meadows Architectural Committee.
He is sure that the Crossroads development will take place.
“I’m pretty optimistic about Helena in general…” he said, adding that there are few places in the United States where you can live and relax from your doorstep.
“People have a high demand for this type of housing,” he said. “I’m optimistic about Helena.”
Associate Editor Phil Drake can be reached at 406-231-9021.