MISSOULA, Mont. - Missoula is growing, and with that, the downtown corridor is changing in order to support both its residents and tourists. 

One of the cornerstones of revamping downtown Missoula is the modern AC hotel on the corner of Pattee and Main Street. 

It can seem hard to believe, but just two years ago, an empty, run-down tire store stood on this prime corner in downtown Missoula. 

Now, the six-story AC Hotel not only welcomes tourists, but provides locals with a fresh new watering hole. 

"I think what it was, was taking an older building, and really using it to revitalize something in Missoula- bring something that just wasn't here, even with the old tire store here," Joseph Gary, assistant general manager, said. 

With its minimalist features and sleek design, the AC aims to provide its guests with a comfortable stay, while recognizing they won't spend much time in their room. 

"We want them to experience what we have here, what we've created," Gary said. "Have a drink in the lounge, but then we want them out. We want them to go experience the city." 

To make sure visitors get the full experience, hotel staff is at the ready with local recommendations. It's all in an effort to support neighboring local businesses. 

Kristen Sackett, Missoula Downtown Association's marketing director, shared growth on this corner is just the beginning.

"Downtown is the heartbeat of Missoula, and there's a reason for that," Sackett said. "We have such a strong heartbeat going right now, I can only see it getting stronger and more vibrant."

That strength and vibrancy will come from other projects that are in the works, like development at the Riverfront Triangle on Orange and Broadway that would help connect the downtown corridor. Previous developers backed out during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we've learned there are other interested parties looking to make some moves. 

There's also another new hotel in the works. The Wren is expected to open this winter just across the street from the AC Hotel. It will include a local coffee shop on the ground floor and a courtyard with patios to enjoy the garden city. 

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