Old Sawmill District: Developers announce plans for ‘gastropub’ and student housing

The developers of the Old Sawmill District in Missoula have announced plans to break ground on a 213-bed boutique student housing project this spring and then follow up this summer with a new “gastropub” called The Sawmill Grill.

Ed and Leslie Wetherbee, developers of the 45-acre former sawmill site near the Clark Fork River on Wyoming Street, say the new gastropub will offer a “refined neighborhood atmosphere.” While pubs have traditionally been thought of as drinking establishments, they say the gastropub concept of the Sawmill Grill will be focused more on food.

Things are happening fast at the Old Sawmill District. Five massive new buildings will be under construction in 2017. That also includes two new condo buildings and a 150-unit active living and learning campus project for those age 55 and over.

The student housing complex, called UGlobal, is set to break ground this spring. The building has been modeled after other successful off-campus student housing projects. It will offer a “variety of amenities and resources programmed for students to promote a strong academic and lifestyle balance,” according to the Wetherbees.

The community for ages 55 and over will break ground late this year. That project will feature a lecture hall space for collaboration with UM’s School of Extended and Lifelong Learning and will include five to six buildings “with an emphasis on health and wellness.”

The Wetherbees say the current residential and commercial projects in the district represent about $125 million in development and construction costs, but eventually there will be $250 million invested. It’s been referred to by city officials as the largest urban infill project in state history.

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