MISSOULA - The second half of a 19-acre parcel purchased by the City of Missoula two years ago could still house the Department of Public Works and Mobility, though officials now say that’s still to be determined.
The property, located off Scott Street, once served as an industrial site and nine acres have been cleaned to residential standards. That portion of the property is poised for a housing development in partnership with Ravara LLC.
But the other half is still encumbered by a land treatment unit, meaning the city has time to decide the property’s highest and best use.
Once the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Huttig Building Products — the responsible party — clean the unit out, “all options are on the table,” according to John Adams, the city’s director of strategic projects.\
“We briefly discussed Mountain Line being there, but it doesn’t fit with their time horizon to develop a new headwaters,” said Adams. “It’s possible that we could think about cleaning it up and it can be housing, but Public Works is the most likely, but not a certain option right now.”
Public Works’ future location could have implications for a number of city-owned properties around Missoula. The agency is currently housed at various sites, including the Missoula Water building on West Broadway and a parcel on Rogers Street.
The department has developed a master plan and is still exploring its options as works to consolidate its operations, Adams said.
“They’re trying to identify the best way to get the space they need for operations now and for the foreseeable space horizon,” Adams said. “They want to make sure they’re evaluating all their options, and if that’s the very best option.”
If the department were to consolidate operations on the 10-acre parcel off Scott Street, it would free up the West Broadway water building and Rogers Street properties for redevelopment.
Both are identified for housing in a number of city plans. The city owns several West Broadway properties, including the old Sleepy Inn. Earlier this year, it finalized the West Broadway Master Plan, which calls for several hundred units of housing and commercial opportunities along the corridor.
The Scott Street plan is further along and has seen a number of projects come to fruition, including the Scott Street Village, which is now in the third phase of construction. The $54 million Vallagio apartment project also is under construction.
More recently, the city closed an agreement with Ravara LLC to build around 75 units of permanently affordable housing in a land trust on city property, and several hundred units of market-rate housing next door.
Public Works had considered the other half of that parcel, around 10 acres, as suitable for consolidation, though Bickell said a decision hasn’t been determined.
“That’s how we were moving forward with the implementation of that master plan,” he said. “But now we’re reevaluating the Public Works facilities plan and whether they need all of it, or if there’s other alternatives.”