With Missoula’s business community on hand, Stockman Bank cut the ribbon on its new $35 million office building on Wednesday, opening shop on a prime corner of downtown real estate.
With more than 100 people joining the celebration, Missoula Market President Bob Burns described the project as a labor of love, one that signals the bank’s confidence in Missoula’s steady economy.
“Stockman Bank is a Montana-based bank, and the bank certainly recognizes that Missoula is an important western Montana community,” Burns said. “It just made sense for Stockman Bank and our customers.”
It was March of 2016 when a group of community leaders and bank executives gathered on the corner of West Broadway and Orange Street to break ground on the new facility.
Nearly 20 months later, the structure occupies the downtown corner and is open for business, though work continues with the finishing touches on the 55,000-square-foot office. Designed by CTA Architects, the building is looking for a solid green energy rating through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
“It was a push to get this done this time of year, all weather permitting,” Burns said. “It’s been a three-year process, but I’m excited for our employees and our customers, who have been very patient knowing that we’d have a permanent location downtown.”
As evidenced from the building’s top floor, where supporters gathered on Wednesday, construction across the city continues to move forward at a strong pace.The Old Sawmill District sits in view to the west, while the Marriott hotel remains under construction to the east. Just across the street, a team of local developers are gearing up to break ground on a $70 million hotel and conference center at the Riverfront Triangle.
“Whenever you have someone invest this much in infrastructure in the Missoula community, it means more employees, more opportunities for growth and it really enhances downtown Missoula,” said Kim Latrielle, director of the Missoula Chamber of Commerce.
Latrielle, like other business leaders, expressed confidence in the local economy and its forward momentum, evidenced by the tens of millions of dollars in private investment manifesting itself in large-scale construction projects throughout the downtown district and beyond.
“It tells me what I’m sensing from our other chamber members, that they’re feeling pretty confident in Missoula right now,” said Latrielle. “There’s money out there right now to be invested, and I think we’re going to see some things happening. This is a great start, and this confidence gives everyone else a little confidence, too.”
The bank and its three-level parking garage, complete with 140 stalls, marks one of the largest development projects to land in downtown Missoula in recent years, placing it alongside the new $25 million student housing project on Front Street and the $30 million Marriott project on Higgins Avenue.
The building has transformed one of the gateways into the downtown district with its modern architecture and green-tinted windows.
“I really think it’s changed Orange Street, becoming more of a gateway into Missoula,” said Burns. “I’ve heard a lot of people comment on the fact that it feels like it has extended downtown Missoula and pulled it more to the west.”
It also represents a successful public-private partnership that saw the Missoula Redevelopment Agency contribute roughly $1.5 million to raze the property’s old buildings, relocate public utilities and make improvements to the public right of way.
But it’s the opportunities presented by the Missoula economy and the bank’s growing customer base that has the Montana company looking toward a bright future. The new facility will employ 40 bank workers.
“They’ve been working under hardship conditions for several years, putting in extra hours, making sacrifices with family and friends and rolling up their sleeves to get this done,” said bank CEO Bill Coffee. “It’s sure fun to get to serve more of our neighbors across Montana every day.”