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Site work on Scott Street housing project set to begin ahead of infrastructure

Scott Street Housing
Posted at 2:21 PM, Oct 21, 2022

MISSOULA — Work to lay the infrastructure needed to support a 9-acre housing project off Scott Street is set to begin this winter under a contract approved Thursday by the Missoula Redevelopment Agency.

The work will include the removal of old soil and other materials and excavating ahead of future road extensions.

“This is essentially starting on the site work for the public infrastructure,” she said. “There's quite a bit of housing development occurring in that area. The master plan said connectivity and better access in that area was key. This is the first phase of that work.”

The $305,0090 contract, awarded to Ravara, marks an investment in what will become a mixed income neighborhood planned off Scott Street.

The city purchased 19 acres in the area two yeas ago and Ravara is under contract to purchase 9 acres for around $6.3 million. Of the nine acres, the contract calls for Ravara to develop roughly 70 units of permanently affordable housing on 3 acres that are available to buyers earning between 100% and 120% of the area median income.

According to project partners, that would mean a price range from roughly $250,000 for a studio or small one-bedroom condo, to $450,000 for a larger four-bedroom townhome on three levels.

Ellen Buchanan said pricing remains in flux as construction prices fluctuate and final designs come fruition.

“Architectural plans for the owner-occupied townhomes and condos has progressed to the point that construction pricing is occurring, and we're starting to understand the relationship of construction cost to sales price for the income-qualified, workforce housing,” she said.

The remaining property will include several hundred units of market rate housing, a daycare, and other small commercial amenities. Construction has been looming for a while, and it's finally set to begin this winter, starting with the removal of 21,000 cubic yards of poor soil material.

Jeff Smith said the work will take about 60 days to complete.

“We're cutting the streets down to future subgrade,” he said. “By doing this work over winter, as weather allows, we remove that 60 days from the critical path of the construction schedule to facilitate a much shorter construction duration for the infrastructure next year.”

The plan calls for the extension of a number of existing streets. It will extend Shakespeare south through the project and extend Palmer, Charlo and Rodgers streets west through the project and connect them to Shakespeare, effectively create a new grid.

Timing construction will be key to net good pricing.

“This work facilitates the final construction of infrastructure,” she said. “Phase 2 would include bidding the construction in January or February so it's one of the first projects contractors can bid on, hopefully netting more favorable pricing.”