MISSOULA — The Missoula Redevelopment Agency on Thursday approved a request from RBH Investments to help fund renovations to the old Fat Cat Pizzeria building, which are expected to cost more than $2 million.
MRA’s contribution includes roughly $73,000 for facade upgrades and improvements to the public right of way. The renovations will bring several new jobs into the facility, which has sat vacant now for several years.
“It was built in the 1970s and aesthetically is very dated,” said MRA project manager Annette Marchesseault. “The applicant is doing a gut renovation. The renovation will separate the building into two separate businesses.”
One portion of the building will house Horizon Credit Union, marking its second location in Missoula. A restaurant is proposed for the other half.
However, Marchesseault said a tenant hasn’t been secured.
“There is some patio space that would nicely accommodate a restaurant. But they don’t yet have a tenant,” she said.
Brent Reimer of RBH investments said the investment represents an opportunity to continue the improvements taking place within the Brooks Street corridor and Midtown district.
Horizon Credit Union secured half the building, and Reimer hopes to find a restaurant to make use of the remaining space, saying it would be a good fit given the location.
He’s working with Sterling Commercial Real Estate in Missoula to find a tenant.
“Because it’s gutted right now, it’s hard to present it to any possible client at this point,” said Reimer. “We’ve had a couple serious inquiries about it. I’m hoping to get a little restaurant in there. It would be a neat little space for that.”
A number of other renovations have taken place along the Brooks Street corridor, including the new Dairy Queen and Les Schwab Tire. The Big Dipper invested in renovations to its Midtown location, as did Bridge Pizza.
A number of other tenants have followed suit or expressed interest in the area. The city is working to finalize renovation plans for the Brooks Street corridor itself, which could see a center-running bus and and transit-oriented development.
“The trend of redevelopment in this area is a sign that your project may stimulate another,” said MRA board member Ruth Reineking.