HELENA — After several years of being mostly dormant, the Capital Hill Mall site in Helena is now once again buzzing with activity.
On Friday morning, First Interstate Bank and Dick Anderson Construction held a groundbreaking at the site, where they’re starting work on a new bank branch. They hope to open the new location by spring.
Guy Almquist, First Interstate’s Helena market president, says the location is a big part of the plan.
“I think it’s great to be a part of this, kind of a revitalization of this area,” he said. “It’s been on the radar for some time now, and to be part of it, working with Dick to do that, is exciting for us.”
The bank is just one of several projects going up on the 13-acre mall site. A new Starbucks was completed several weeks ago – and is already busy with customers. Crews are currently working to complete the exterior of a Taco Bell. Farther down the line, Benefis plans to build a clinic there.
The Capital Hill Mall was quiet after the last store closed its doors in 2017. The mall building was demolished in 2019.
D&M Development, led by Dick Anderson and Mark Esponda, has headed the redevelopment. They’ve installed extensive new water and sewer infrastructure and built two new streets across the property. Now, Esponda says they’re finalizing the division of the site into smaller lots.
While the buildings going up so far have been commercial, other types of development are on the way. D&M sees the site as the “Capital Hill Town Center,” an area of mixed use.
“We hope to have it be more of a community feel down there – narrower streets, slower traffic, more landscaping, fixing the retaining walls to make them look a lot better for that entry corridor into the city,” Esponda said.
Developers are currently looking at adding a five-story building with commercial space and parking on the first floor, offices on the top floor and 45 condominiums or apartments in between. Esponda said work on that project could begin as soon as this fall.
Esponda said most of the site has been allocated to the companies that plan to build there. He expects the site could be close to fully developed within three years.
“We’ll have hopefully the majority of everything built out and have it be a separate operating little community,” he said.