MISSOULA, Mont. -- Historic Florence building in downtown Missoula has new owner
In mid-October, Thomas Taylor bought the Florence building in downtown Missoula -- and it wasn’t even on the market.
He says he had his eye on the building for years. He lives in Dallas, Texas, but his daughter is currently a student at the University of Montana. That’s when he started visiting Missoula.
Taylor’s a structural engineer and has his own firm in Dallas. He sold one of his buildings in Texas and had some extra cash on hand to make an offer on the Florence.
“I think I just ended up hitting them at the right time with an offer, so that’s how that came about,” said Taylor.
The Florence opened in 1941 and is filled with history.
“The history of the building, you don’t talk to anybody that doesn’t some connection to the Florence,” said building superintendent Chris Sampson.
Sampson says he’s excited for the renovations Taylor wants to get started on.
“We don’t intend to turn it back into a hotel. We have already hired architects, we’re going to do some phasing but not too much. The first thing that we’re starting is the lobby,” said Taylor. “It will all be done with a thought of returning it back to its original roots in the 1940s art moderne style.”
Restoring historic structures isn’t new for Taylor. His engineering firm is responsible for restoring some pretty famous Texas landmarks.
“In Texas, for example, we’ve worked on the Alamo that you probably heard of and the state capitol in Austin and the school book depository, where Oswald shot at Kennedy,” said Taylor.
They plan on keeping the Florence an office and retail building. Renovations are set to start on the lobby in January.