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New Milestone in Montrose

P3 fosters economic development and preserves historic city hall

The Montrose City Council approved a resolution to redevelop City Hall in March 2023 marking a new milestone in the partnership between the Montrose community and Colorado Mesa University. The city’s decision, along with efforts from the private sector and CMU will contribute to the economic development, revitalization, historic preservation and enhancement of higher education in Montrose.

The council is partnering with the same private company that is currently developing the Rathbone Hotel in downtown Montrose and is working to include the historic City Hall facility in that redevelopment project. Simultaneously, the City Council agreed to a memorandum of understanding that invests the proceeds from the project to establish the Montrose Permanent Fund Endowment. The fund will be matched with a $500,000 contribution from CMU and will provide a lasting benefit for Montrose residents. The endowment will support higher education initiatives including the addition of hospitality management and culinary arts curricula at the CMU Montrose Campus to train and support a regional workforce to serve the growing tourism, recreation and visitation needs of the community.

“The City of Montrose has had a longstanding, positive relationship with CMU, and we look forward to continuing this partnership by expanding the available curriculum that Montrose citizens have available to them,” said Montrose Mayor Dave Frank.

He continued, “We are also excited to add a permanent funding source to aid Montrose residents with tuition to expand our educational opportunities locally.”

In 2010, CMU, the City of Montrose, and Montrose County agreed work should be done to improve relationships and enhance education and workforce development efforts in the community. Improvements began with the renovation of the Buell Higher Education Center to improve the quality of educational instruction at the evolving CMU Montrose Campus. The partners then moved to purchase the Patrick Davis building, which is now the Branscome Center and the City of Montrose created the Cascade Avenue pedestrian quad to connect the two buildings.  

Most recently, the partnership between Montrose and CMU created a new summer law enforcement academy and a new Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program.

In March CMU President John Marshall delivered a speech at an event celebrating the formal signing of the partnership arrangement involving City Hall and was accompanied by CMU Foundation CEO Robin Brown.

“Montrose has been a great partner with us, and we have achieved a great deal together over the last decade,” said Marshall. “The Montrose Permanent Fund is a true milestone that adds to the millions CMU has invested in Montrose in the recent past and will serve as a catalyst for even more investment in enhancing workforce training and higher education for the future, while also supporting revitalization and economic development in Montrose.” 

Negotiations with the owners of the Rathbone Hotel are ongoing with a closing date yet to be determined, but city officials are hoping to close later this year, according to Montrose City Manager Bill Bell. 

"We are so excited to seize this rare opportunity to enter into a collaborative project that will benefit the Montrose community for decades to come. We know that the face of our downtown is changing as our community grows and with many new businesses opening up, there is a need to think bigger and more strategically as we plan for the future,” said Bell. 

Last year, the council voted to purchase the vacant building at 400 East Main Street, formerly the Wells Fargo Bank building in downtown Montrose, to be used as the city’s new City Hall. Renovations to that building have been ongoing since last fall. The process of moving operations from the old City Hall to the new Main Street location began in March.  

The new City Hall is much larger than its predecessor, which will allow the city to expand services as the community continues to see unprecedented growth and by establishing the Montrose Permanent Fund Endowment, the community will continue to have access to robust educational opportunities.


Written by David Ludlam