Great Falls Montana Growth Highlights
Total Wages in Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) grew 11.4% over the 3 years ending 2017Q2, adding $153 million in annual wage earnings. Average weekly wages increased 11.9% over the same period. Moody’s projects personal income growth of 4.6% in 2017, 6.2% in 2018, and 5.0% in 2019. Manufacturing employment has averaged 6.1% annual growth over past 16 quarters. Great Falls ranked 4th best small city in nation for Prime Workforce by Area Development. Creative Sector jobs in the Great Falls metro area increased 15.3% from 2011-2016.
FCR opened 35,000 square foot, 325+ employee customer service downtown;expects to top 200 workers by yearend.eHealth Care Service Corporation opened 120+ employee BCBS claims processing center. Centene continues to expand its Great Falls claims processing center.
Montana Specialty Mills broke ground on a 20-acre $20 million oil seed food-grade manufacturing plant in partnership with Columbia Grain. Four companies have purchased 110 acres in the new rail-served, shovel-ready, heavy industrial Great Falls AgriTech Park. Helena Chemical opened a 23-acre complex. FedEx Ground opened a 58,000 SF distribution center. Pacific Steel & Recycling purchased 57 acres for expansion. AgriTech Park certified as a BNSF Premier Rail Industrial Park.
West Bank Landing riverfront mixed-use development has started construction on 132-room Marriott Springhill Suites. The $65 million, 14-acre LEED riverfront development will include restaurants, offices and residential condominiums. The Peak Health and Wellness Center started construction of a 15,700 SF upscale fitness center. Great Falls’ first luxury boutique hotel, The Hotel Arvon, opened downtown. Town Pumpplans to start construction this fall on a 90-room dual-branded Sleep Inn & Suites/Main Stay. Hampton Inn just completed a $2 million renovation. Erck Hotels plans to build 101-room Hilton Home 2 hotel and conference center in 2018.
Montana Eggs opened new $9 million egg processing facility. Construction wrapping up on Cargill’s new $4 million canola research and development center. CHS’ nutrition unit expansion and AgFertilizer’s expansion were just completed. Anderson Steel announced expansion plans to add 50 jobs. Pasta Montana installed $6 million production line increasing capacity by 28%. Frieden Nutrition is finishing construction on its new 10,000 SF facility.
ADF Group continues growth at new fabrication plant; tops 210 jobs; expects to grow to 340. The international leader in structural steel fabrication chose Great Falls for its expansion into western North America. ADF has invested $40+ million in 100,000 SF fabrication building and 42,000 SF paint/coating plant on 100-acre complex.
Walmart Supercenter opened in new 26-acre Upper East End Retail Center. Town Pump opened its block-long redevelopment on 10th Avenue South. Hobby Lobby, Petsmart, City Brew, Big Mouth BBQ, TJ Maxx, Super 1, Sears Hometown, McDonalds, Mattress Firm, KFC/A&W, Sleep Number, Apricot Lane and Teriyaki Madness opened. Ulta Beauty, Panda Express, Auto Zone, Batteries & More, Mountain View Coop, Eagle Beverage new warehouse, and T-Mobile under construction.
Calumet Montana Refining completed construction on $450 million expansion, adding 50+ new jobs. Cypress Creek Renewables is finishing up the 3 MW Black Eagle Solar Farm with over 10,000 solar panels. Loenbro opened new fabrication plant and headquarters on 52 acres; new complex includes 28,000 SF headquarters, 30,000 SF fabrication shop and 7,500 SF machine shop.
Farran Group announced plans to build a 216-unit upscale apartment complex in the west side of the City in 2018. Farran is under construction on a 72-unit addition to its recently opened 216-unit Talus Apartment Homes. GMD Development and NeighborWorks announced the 124-unit Rockcress Commons rental development. The new 38-unit Voyageur Apartments, the 16-unit addition to the Cascade Ridge development, and NeighborWorks’ 12-unit apartment First Avenue Estates opened. HUD fair market rents for Great Falls increased 16.5% over the last 3 years for two-bedroom units; 36.5% for four-bedroom units.
Great Falls Clinic opened new 19-bed, 60,000 SF hospital. Elkin Family Dentistry, DaVita Dialysis and Fresenius Dialysis Center opened facilities. Benefis Health System started construction on $12.5 million emergency department expansion.
Voters approved $98.8 million in bonds to improve Great Falls Public Schools facilities. Work is starting on improvements to all of its schools. City recently secured 1906 Missouri River industrial water rights of 6,335 acre feet at a flow rate of 6.0 cubic feet per second. City’s fire insurance rating improved from 4 to 2. Construction underway on $28 million upgrade of City’s water treatment plant.
GTF airport passenger traffic increased 24% over past 6 years; completes construction on $13 million crosswinds runway project. United started new seasonal direct flights to Chicago. Glacier National Park continues to set visitation records. First Peoples Buffalo Jump named National Historic Landmark.
Providence St. Joseph health announced plans to grow University of Providence – Great Falls into major distance learning center; continues to expand its health care programs. Great Falls College MSU created new welding, fabrication, industrial technology, health, and computer programming and coding programs.
The $8.6 million Cameron Family Center opened downtown. Hi-Line Climbing Center, Fire Artisan Pizza, Klover, Cory Block bakery, Wines by Wednesday event center, Al Banco, Zero Escape Room and two new office buildings opened. Downtown streetscape improvements completed. Dunn-Brown building renovation and Lithia Motors under construction. Play N Learn Academy announces new 120-child center.
NAHB ranks Great Falls as 19th best housing market in country. Great Falls named one of the Top 25 Best places in U.S. to retire by Forbes. New housing subdivisions include the 155-acre Thaniel Subdivision with 88 homes in phase 1 and the West Ridge Subdivision with 171 new homes. NeighborWorks Great Falls announces Beargrass Village 14-home pocket neighborhood.
US Air Force adding 216 positions at Malmstrom AFB; Montana Air National Guard adding facilities. Hangars have been completed at the Montana National Air Guard base at Great Falls International Airport to house the unit’s new C-130 mission. USAF announced that the 819th Red Horse Squadron will remain and grow at MAFB.
At the Great Falls Development Authority