The changes at Southgate Mall are becoming more apparent every day, especially as drivers along Brooks have seen all the flowering trees torn up where a new entrance is being designed.

Mall General Manager Tim Winger said the plan to recreate the mall has been in place for quite some time.

"That plan has created an opportunity for us to change where our entrances are going to be," Winger began. "This will improve the access and flow of traffic. Those trees were where one of the new mall entrances will be, but the owners of the mall are planning to replant many trees once the construction is complete to create a beautiful landscape."

Winger said the main entrance to the mall will be moving south on Brooks.

"The new entrance will line up between where Curley's used to be and Wendy's," he said. "That will be where the light is moved. The Montana Department of Transportation and the city and all the contractors have had this plan in place for quite awhile. (See the video at the start of this story). Some of the work has already started on the railroad tracks by Montana Rail Link, and I know the city has been working with the neighborhood and things are progressing there."

Winger said the construction continues on the new nine-screen theater complex, as well as the initial phase of construction for Lucky's Market in the old Sears location.

"There's a great big crane up there finishing up all the steel work for the entrance to the theater and they'll be welding in the next couple of weeks," he said. "We'll probably see a mid-fall opening for the theater. For Lucky's, the interior demolition is underway at the old Sears location. We're hopeful that Lucky's will be opening during the first quarter of 2018."

The overall project is being funded with both public and private monies, with $64 million in private investment, which, according to developers, will result in over $320,000 per year in property taxes.