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MRA approves deconstruction requests ahead of Missoula redevelopment projects

Posted at 9:40 AM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 11:40:19-04

MISSOULA - The Missoula Redevelopment Agency on Thursday approved two deconstruction requests ahead of proposed projects, including a new corporate office and redevelopment of the West Broadway corridor.

First Security Bank announced its plans to build a corporate office at the corner of Garfield and Dearborn, and it’s expected to request some level of tax increment to make improvements to the public right of way alongside the project.

Details of the project itself haven’t been released, though MRA on Thursday approved the bank’s deconstruction request and plans to consider reimbursement in July. It’s then that project details will be known, and how much tax revenue and jobs the resulting project will generate.

“They have reached out to deconstruction contractors and have learned there’s a window of availability of a contractor able to do that work in June,” said Annie Gorski, deputy director at MRA. “They would like to come back in July to support public improvements on the site.”

The Department of Public Works and Mobility has also requested tax increment to deconstruct a dilapidated building at 1359 West Broadway. The city now owns the property, and the structure has become a public safety hazard.

MRA approved the department’s reimbursement request for deconstruction costs of $60,000.

“This is a parcel of publicly owned property within the West Broadway Master Plan study area,” said MRA staff member Annette Marchesseault. “One of the benefits of having this much contiguous public property is that it gives the city a lot of control over how that property develops.”

The city has recently acquired a number of properties in the West Broadway corridor, including the Sleepy Inn. It also owns the Missoula Water building.

The new Master Plan details the city’s vision for redeveloping roughly 15 acres within the corridor. As proposed, the plan calls for around 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and around 15,000 square feet of office space. It would also include 130 market-rate townhomes and apartments, and around 70 affordable housing units targeted to a range of incomes.

Redevelopment of the Sleepy Inn will likely be the first project to take place, and once Public Works leaves the Missoula Water building for another location, that and adjacent parcels will follow.

“The long-term vision is for Public Works to move to a new facility on Scott Street. When that happens, Missoula Water will move up there as well. That will free up this entire parcel of property for redevelopment,” said Marchesseault.

Marchesseault said it’s likely MRA will play a significant role in deconstructing buildings within the project area. Under state law, the agency is permitted to reimburse for deconstruction costs within an urban renewal district.

Over the years, the practice has kept thousands of tons of debris from entering the landfill. The practice has become a popular tool in waste reduction.

“The sooner we move to redevelop this area the better,” said MRA board member Tasha Jones. “We’ve invested a lot of public time and resources into this area.”