Local coffee shop to be among first businesses in saw mill site

By Jenna Heberden/Fox Montana

The arrival of spring brings new life for many and one old industrial site in Missoula readies for its new life.

A few years ago, the saw mill district opened Silver Park, beginning a long-needed revitalization. Now it prepares for the opening of a new living complex in just a few months.

This site has sat vacant since the early 1990s, but that vacancy has a pending expiration date as Polleys Square is set to open in a few months. The Loose Caboose is bringing its first sit-down branch within this complex, becoming the first business to open what developers are hoping to be a center of the community.

The Old Sawmill District was once a booming sawmill complex. Now it sits unused and unsightly, but rich in history and potential. Loose caboose Owner Malcolm Lowe says he wants to incorporate that history in his new bakery cafe.

“We were kinda trying to tie into the history, but not coming up with any happy ending and then we started thinking ‘ok, what’s the future? What are people going to think about his place with Silver Park, with the ball park,” says Lowe.

The answer — dogs and bikes — spurring the name “The Dog and Bicycle Bakery Cafe”

The bakery cafe will be the only business in the four building Polleys Square, but is just one of the many to come. Another business that plans to open just across the street is Lolo Brewing. Lowe believes the impending transformation of this former industrial site will soon become a center of community.

“It’s one of the few places that is really going to fill in nicely. The short of overall plan for Polleys Square and the sawmill district, I think is really great with this nice mix. It’s on the bike path. It’s right in the middle of town, so I think it’s really going to be a vital part of the community.”

The city gave 12 million dollars to the revitalization of the site for public improvement helping build the 14.5 acre Silver Park. Now Windermere Reality oversees the project.

Lowe says he’s been looking at this area for a long time and hopes his cafe will be the place for people to come in that neighborhood.

“Ed and Leslie have designed a planned community that has a lot of really neat integrated elements. It’s all happening and we want to be the focal point.”

This project has been in the works for 13 years. Polleys Square is expected to open in early July with ‘”The Dog and Bicycle Bakery Cafe following shortly after.

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