Four years of work: Grand opening held for restored historic downtown Missoula building

David Erickson

The skilled craftspeople that laid the original brick on the Union Block building in downtown Missoula in 1891 could hardly have predicted that, 131 years later, a crowd of people would stare in awe at their handiwork.

“It certainly must have been master masons who did the outside wall, that’s for sure,” explained David Gray, a local architect who spent four years restoring the façade and interior of the structure, now called the Radio Central Building. He noted that even a fraction of an inch of error in their work might have meant calamity.

On Tuesday, owner Nick Caras and his team held a grand opening celebration for the building, which they began renovating in 2018. After spending half a century hidden behind ugly metal siding installed in the 1950s or ’60s, the building has been unveiled and returned to its original glory.

“We’re really happy with how it turned out,” Caras said. “I was shocked at how many people came out. A lot of neighborhood people showed up because they’ve been watching it from across the street for years.”

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