It has been there for years. And like many modest motels, it has been through a number of name changes.

But perhaps you have noticed that the Howard Johnson Inn on South Brooks next to Missoula Federal Credit Union has its parking lot cordoned off and is a motel no more.

The location is slated to become a large automatic car wash facility, known as Metro Express. While not a huge chain, the company does have a  presence in other cities, mainly in the midwest. They boast speed and volume, with a lot of vacuums and wash bays. But those little amenities that you've come to expect at Missoula's bigger car washes, like cashiers, pre-rinse, brushless or touchless wash and towel drying at the end, may not be their strong suits. No word on how they will compare in price.

Tentative opening is expected in late summer or early fall.

DB