By Martin Kidston/MISSOULA CURRENT
Employees with Stockman Bank joined city officials and other dignitaries Wednesday to break ground on a new downtown bank, the first of several large construction projects slated for the city’s core.
The bank announced plans to build the six-story flagship branch on the corner of West Broadway and Orange Street in late 2014. Deconstruction of the old Salvation Army and Car Quest buildings wrapped up last month, setting the stage for construction.
“It seems like an eternity that we’ve been working to get into this area and get a physical presence in downtown Missoula” said Stockman Bank CEO Bill Coffee. “We’ve been welcomed with open arms all across the city.”
Coffee, along with Bob Burns – the bank’s Missoula market president – said the process of finding a suitable location began roughly two years ago. They credited local real estate agents and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency for facilitating the process.
Coffee said the diversity of growth and commerce in Missoula helped convince them to move forward with the project.
“It’s a really bright future here,” Coffee said. “Western Montana is going to continue to grow. This allows us to serve more of our neighbors across the state.”
Missoula Mayor John Engen joined bank officials in the ceremonial groundbreaking. He said the project will enhance one of the city’s major gateways. It’s the first of several projects planned for downtown Missoula over the next two years.
The projects include student housing and a $30 million Marriott Hotel on Front Street, and the $150 million redevelopment of the Riverfront Triangle – a project that includes a conference center, retail, housing and office space.
“The fact that Stockman Bank has elected to not only invest in Missoula but to invest in the heart of Missoula – that is on this particular corner – is a big deal,” Engen said. “I firmly believe that over the course of the next 10 years, we’re not going to recognize downtown Missoula, but that will be in a good way.”
The project calls for a 140-stall parking structure and a 55,000 square-foot building. The building was designed by CTA Architects to meet Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design standards.
“The bank was conscientious about salvaging 90 percent of material that came off this site, Burns said of the old structures. “We’ll continue to do that through our LEED status.”
The building’s environmental design includes a rooftop deck and garden on the fifth floor. The sixth story includes an expansive community room.
Coffee said the new branch will help the company expand its reach across the state.
“There are a lot of business and businessmen that travel the state, and university students from across the state that go to school here,” Coffee said. “It’s nice to be able to continue to serve them, whether they’re from a small community on the Hi-Line or from Missoula. We’re very excited to get this project started.”