1

Blackfoot River Outfitters set to construct Russell Street retail, office building

A Missoula outfitting business plans to move forward with construction of its new headquarters on Russell Street, making it the first new business to invest along the newly renovated corridor.

The Missoula Redevelopment Agency on Thursday awarded Blackfoot River Outfitters $80,500 in tax increment financing to assist in aspects of the project, including the demolition and clearing of a vacant garage and landscaping in the public right of way.

While the business owners had planned to begin work this year, their $1.3 million project may be delayed into early next year.

“We were hoping for something to happen by the end of this year,” said co-owner Terri Raugland. “The permitting process is a little longer than we had hoped for, so we’re pushing into 2020. But we’re still on this course.”

The two-story building will cover 5,100 square feet on a corner lot located at 235 N. Russell St. Raugland and co-owner John Herzer will move their 29-year-old fishing and adventure business into a portion of the facility, where they’ll open a retail shop and book adventures.

A coffee shop and second enterprise are expected to occupy the other two spaces.

“It’s the kind of business and construction we’ve been looking for to fill in along Russell Street,” said Chris Behan, assistant MRA director. “It fits with the Russell Street study the Sonoran Institute did a few years ago.”

Completed in 2014, that study took a long-term look at the corridor and its potential for redevelopment. The Montana Department of Transportation’s $30 million Russell Street project is expected to create a flurry of new investment and construction along the corridor.

Among other things, the Sonoran study set a vision for a walkable corridor lined with a mix of multi-story housing, commercial and retail. The city has invested in significant trail work already, and other improvements have readied the stage for future investment.

“Some of the things they talked about in that study were patios along this area, coffee shops and more retail,” Behan said. “So far, the design of this building fits with that study very well.”