The old Branson Harbor retail building and visitor’s center near the turn off from Highway 65 onto the 76 strip has been demolished to make way for a new retail development. No renderings of the new development have been released, and it sounds like the design may not have been finalized yet, but plans currently seem to call for a two story retail structure with a visitors center similar to the old structure. A national tenant is apparently interested in the site, but has not been signed or named yet. You can watch the building be demolished and get a few more details from the developers at this link.
While the Branson Harbor building had indeed fallen into disrepair, one has to wonder if Branson is about to lose another semi-unique structure in favor of yet another cookie cutter suburban strip development. While it was never a great example of urban development, it’s exterior at least exuded the timeless Ozarkan decor that visitors had come to expect and desire from Branson. On the other hand, just look at the building next to it:
This location is probably among the top ten development sites in Branson that could really make or brake the recent efforts to revitalize the 76 strip. Sitting right at the turnoff from highway 65, this is a plot that almost all visitors to Branson are going to end up going past at some point; usually as the first thing they see entering the strip. Adding another cheap shell building with a generic national brand would make this turnoff just like any other in Missouri instead of the gateway into the Midwest’s fun capitol. Let’s hope the developers really think outside the box and at least do something interesting architecturally, no matter what the tenants are.