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Missoula to lease out old library, Johnson Street structure while planning redevelopment

Missoula Park
Posted at 1:18 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 15:18:26-04

MISSOULA — Members of the Missoula City Council this week approved a contract with a property manager to lease out the old library building in downtown Missoula and a vacant industrial building in the Midtown district.

Under the agreement, Zillastate will manage each property for $1,750 a month and lease them on a short-term basis to new tenants as the city explores redevelopment options.

“The library project is coming to rapid conclusion and they expect to move out of there in August,” said city CAO Dale Bickell. “There have been tenants that have approached the city with interest in using it as a temporary facility while looking for places in Missoula and to build as well.”

A philanthropist donated the old library block to the city in 2019 as construction on the new library kicked off next door. The property will eventually be redeveloped for a higher and better use, though that process must undergo a master planning process.

Bickell said that effort will take time, and interest in using the building on a temporary basis will generate revenue for the city.

“While we have a cost as property managers, we believe this will be revenue positive for the city,” Bickell said. “We plan to start a master planning process for the library block this fall.”

The other property, located off Johnson Street, was purchased by the city in 2017 from Montana Rail Link. The city has converted a portion of the property into a new park though the second half is also being eyed for redevelopment.

That portion of the property contains several structures, one of which is currently empty.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in that as well,” Bickell said. “In advance of the master planning processes related to the Johnson Street or library site, we have some time to lease these facilities.”

Funding for the contract with Zillastate will come from a centralized account where the city holds its lease revenues. Bickell said the account had roughly $180,000 in it.