The Missoula City Council’s Committee of the Whole heard discussion on Wednesday about a major affordable housing project for the Scott Street lots over 19 acres that would include 70 new homes, as well as other developments.

Office of Housing and Community Development Director Eran Pehan provided details of the ambitious project that has been over 20 years in the making.

“These estimated 70 homes in addition to seven homes that are being constructed as part of the Reed condos, which council placed affordability requirements on earlier this year, meet 77% of our five year goal towards the creation of permanently affordable home ownership options,” said Pehan. “Upon completion, this project will also be the largest permanently affordable Land Trust development in the state of Montana,” she said. “It should also be noted that in addition to providing the permanently affordable home ownership options, the development will bring desperately needed market rate rental homes to our community.”

Pehan said the development will also address other concerns in the area.

“Other broader housing policy goals that are addressed through the project include a diversity in options; bringing more innovative housing types that we're not seeing at scale to the Missoula market, including smaller footprint homes that are inherently more affordable and more sustainable, helping us achieve our energy conservation and climate action goals.”

Pehan said the principles in the city’s housing directive will be met through this project.

“These principles challenged the city of Missoula to improve diversity, ensuring we have homes at various prices and in various forms, to innovate looking beyond our current development models and trends, to collaborate, working with the broader community and with the private sector in more meaningful ways, and to set achievable yet ambitious goals,” she said. “Through our partnership with Ravera Development, we'll hear more about this project which is incredibly ambitious but very achievable.”

Pehan said it’s the largest permanently affordable housing ownership project ever in the state of Montana.

The Missoula City Council approved, on August 3, 2020, the purchase of the Scott Street Parcel and the issuance of $6.6 million in tax increment revenue bonds to finance the purchase. On August 14, 2020, the City closed on the property and obtained title. The City will next initiate redevelopment planning in conjunction with neighborhood outreach and engagement.

Mayor John Engen provided this comment on the project which he has been envisioning for the last two decades.

“Today we are realizing what we hope will be a game changer for the community for the neighborhood and for the city of Missoula,” said Mayor Engen. “At the end of the day, what we get here for the sale of this property and our investment of infrastructure and more is a housing development, a mixed use development with permanent affordability including a Land Trust model, and in addition, this project will be designed within the context of the Northside neighborhood.”

City of Missoula Communications Director Ginny Merriam said that private sector partner Goodworks Ventures, doing business as Ravara Development LLC and acting as master developer, shares the City’s goals of advancing housing and preserving neighborhood character. Goals include innovative housing types, neighborhood commercial uses that residents want and inclusion of a day-care facility.

No start date has yet been proposed.

The entire city council will hear the proposal and vote at the regular Monday night meeting on February 8.


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