A Missoula developer is hoping that public support might save his plans for saving a historic building at Fort Missoula.

But that could be a tough kickstart since one city panel already decided it was against the idea. Not because of the old building, but the plans to build adjacent homes.

Owner Max Wolf and his partners are hoping to renovate the Old Post Hospital and pay for the Fort Missoula Commons project by adding 16 adjacent residential units on the surrounding five acres. But that plan has run afoul of Fort Missoula fans, who argue it would change the historical nature of the surrounding Fort property.

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Last spring, the Missoula Historic Preservation Commission denied Wolfe and his partners an HPP, or Historical Preservation Permit. Wolf is appealing that decision, with a hearing before the Missoula County Council on September 11th.

This weekend, Wolfe will open the doors to the hospital, which was first built in 1911, to show why the building needs renovation, and how the rest of the project will look.

“Our first Open House this spring was fantastic, with over 300 people wanting to learn more about the Hospital’s history and our plans for its future,” said Wolf. “We want the community to see the need to restore the Old Post Hospital firsthand, and to hear directly from our team about the plan to use our parcel of private land to revitalize this underutilized section of Fort Missoula.” 

Wolf told me his biggest frustration is the misinformation that's been circulating about the development plans.

"Some of the misinformation that we've seen lately includes that this is publicly owned land. It is not," Wolf points out. "I purchased the property in 2019 and it remains a private property. Our plan would allow the public to access it once again."

And he says the housing units aren't "million dollar condos", as some have asserted.

"If approved, there would only be 16 townhomes and 20% of them will be workforce housing."

The open house is this Saturday, starting at 11 am until 3 pm,  where people can take tours of the property, learn why the renovation is needed and ask questions about the project.

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