MISSOULA - With its products growing in popularity and new products now released, OnXmaps of Missoula plans to add dozens of new jobs this year, so long as the housing market can absorb them.
It also announced last week that it will occupy one of the structures set for development in the Riverfront Triangle in downtown Missoula.
“We’ve experienced some significant growth the past two years with the conversion of the chip product to an app, and the release of OnX Offroad and OnX Backcountry,” said Chris Weber, director of accounting for OnX. “We’ve gone from essentially 100 employees in 2018 and we’re now closing in on 300. It’s been pretty rapid growth.”
Missoula County has approved the company’s application for a Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund grant as it works to fill the new positions. Weber said the company is budgeted for around 380 employees total and plans to hire as many as 75 new workers this year, though the economic grant would support fewer.
Where the number lands will depend upon a number of variables beyond the company’s control, Weber said.
“The reason our plan is very conservative, our most recent hires have had a lot of difficulty finding housing, as I think we all know,” Weber said. “Also finding talent has been hard wanting to move to Missoula as well. It’s up to a lot of different variables and how the housing market is.”
Several dilapidated properties in the Riverfront Triangle are slated for demolition ahead of an infill project, one of which OnX will occupy. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)
While the company navigates the challenges of recruiting new employees and placing them in Missoula, it has made a commitment to stay in the city where it was founded by Eric Siegfried in 2009. The company completed a record-breaking $20.3 million funding round in 2018.
Weber confirmed the company will occupy one of the new structures planned for the Riverfront Triangle. Missoula County last November approved a 310 Permit, allowing crews to remove several vacant buildings on the property, including the old Blue Mountain Clinic and a crumbling parking garage.
The site clearing is expected to begin this spring.
“We have a new lease signed for downtown on the old clinic. We have plans to stay in Missoula,” said Weber. “That old clinic is going to be demolished here shortly. That means were going to start moving forward.”
The Riverfront Triangle represents a collection of parcels west of Orange Street and south of West Broadway. The vacant lots have been eyed for redevelopment by a number of groups for years, though plans were delayed after the economic slowdown related to the pandemic.
But interest has returned to the properties. The Missoula Redevelopment Agency last June said it was working with “multiple developers,” including one who was “particularly interested in the residential and office building part” of the master plan.
If demolition begins on the clinic site, it will mark the first visible sign of progress in developing the Riverfront Triangle. The Wise Enterprise Group in September 2020 also received a zoning change for its parcel at 601 W. Broadway.
Plans presented for that project suggested a multi-story building with a blend of retail and housing. The city has said that effort is still alive as well.