Last Friday on the City Talk edition of KGVO’s Talk Back show, a caller asked City of Missoula Communications Director Ginny Merriam about some property out at Fort Missoula that had been sold to a private party.

The caller had heard that the new owners planned to turn the Old Post Hospital into expensive condominiums, and was distressed at the idea.

Merriam, a former Missoulian reporter, did some digging and contacted KGVO News this week.

“We had a caller who wanted to know how somebody could purchase the old hospital building, which is called the Old Post Hospital at Fort Missoula,” said Merriam. “The person asked specifically ‘Is that legal for a private entity to buy it’? and I found out the answer is, yes, it was owned by the western Montana Mental Health Center and the Mental Health Center sold it to the new owners.”

Merriam provided more details about the plans the new owners might have for the property.

“The new owner has had some informal conversations with the city,” she said. “They seem interested in restoring the post hospital building for office use, but not for high end condos, they say at this point as the caller had heard. Part of that project will also include adding some residential, and some small scale commercial and a restaurant on the adjacent vacant land which they also purchased.”

Understanding the caller’s concern about whether the public would have any input in the historic property, Merriam said some hearings will be necessary.

“They will have a public hearing at least on the extra zoning overlay that the new owners will need to ask for,” she said. “There will be a public comment period for that and public hearings at the planning board and at the City Council.”

She added this comment.

“Then, any building permits to restore or develop new buildings will require the owner to apply for an historic preservation permit, because the building is protected in that way, and for which there will also be a public hearing.”

KGVO appreciates the hard work that Merriam put into finding the answers for our concerned listener.

Merriam brings a special guest into the KGVO studios each month for City Talk.


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