By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current
A 117-year-old commercial building in downtown Missoula is back on the market and has attracted several showings over the past few months, according to the broker selling the property.
Given the Radio Central Building’s location on Front Street, and the proximity of several nearby projects, Jessie Eagen believes it’s only a matter of time before an acceptable offer comes in on the $2.25 million property.
“We’ve got a $30 million Marriott Hotel going in behind it, a multi-million dollar brewery getting ready to break ground next to it, and a high-dollar project proposed next door,” said Eagen, the broker and owner of Eagen Real Estate. “I think the Radio Central Building is the hottest property in downtown Missoula right now.”
The building was constructed in 1900 and includes 32,000 square feet of commercial space on three floors. Eagen said improvements have been made to the main level, while an elevator serves the upper floors.
Eagen said a number of developers have viewed the property for both its commercial and residential potential.
“At the end of the day, it’s a 100-year-old building, and it’ll be a remodel for whoever takes it on,” Eagen said. “We’ve had people look at it as Class A office space, or turning it back into what it was originally, with residential on the second and third floors. Either one of those sound really good, though downtown housing is nearly nonexistent.”
The activity unfolding around the Radio Central Building, located at 127 E. Main St., may serve as one of its top selling points, Eagen believes.
A Lolo family plans to develop a two-story restaurant and brewery at 202 E. Main St. – a project that’s expected to open next year. Behind the Radio Central Building, HomeBase Montana is set to erect a new Marriott Hotel with ground floor retail and dining.
Eagen had originally proposed building a condo project next door, where the Firestone Building currently sits at 139 E. Main St. That lot has since been sold to HomeBase, which has not disclosed its future plans for the property.
“We had the Firestone Flats planned and we had pre-sales, but HomeBase had been pursuing us to sell that property for some time,” said Eagen. “We put a good deal together that worked out for everyone.”
Eagen believes the Marriott project will serve as a downtown catalyst, driving further development and investment in the district. As it stands, he said, interest in downtown commercial properties is as high as he’s seen it in his years as a broker.
“I’ve been a commercial broker here in Missoula for 24 years, and I’ve never seen the activity like it is right now,” he said. “In the last 10 months, there’s been over a dozen sales of downtown buildings in Missoula. Everyone is bullish on this economy.”
While most of the commercial buildings in the district are selling from $140 to $200 per square foot, the Radio Central Building is listed at below $100 per square foot, Eagen said. And while half-a-dozen developers toured the property last month, a deal has not yet been reached.
“Since the Marriott got the go-ahead, we’ve gotten a lot of activity,” Eagen said. “My personal opinion is that the Marriott will be a great success for downtown Missoula.”
Contact reporter Martin Kidston at firstname.lastname@example.org