Missoula City and County Now Own the U.S. Federal Building
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - It was announced on Friday that the city and county of Missoula are officially the new owners of the former federal building on East Broadway at no cost to city or county taxpayers.
KGVO News spoke to Missoula Mayor Jordan Hess on Friday afternoon about the completed agreement and what happens next.
Signed Sealed and Delivered, the U.S. Federal Building now Belongs to Missoula
“In 2015, the U.S. Forest Service moved out of the federal building, and that building has been mostly vacant ever since then,” began Mayor Hess. “The federal government has a program where they will convey buildings free of charge to local governments, and so we've been working with the federal government over the last several years. They gave us title to the building late yesterday and got everything finalized today. So the buildings officially owned by the city and county now.”
Plans are Already Underway for the Move to the Federal Building
Planners and architects have been working on the move from the present City Hall and County offices for some time.
“Soon, we will be doing some work with our architecture and engineering team to really do some analysis of the building to refine our plans, figuring out what departments will move in where they'll go, what level of work is required to get them moved in and to develop those final plans,” he said. “Then, we'll be bringing a contractor on board to do that construction work.”
Hess provided a thumbnail sketch of a timeline and a prospective budget for the move to the federal building.
Possibly by 2025 with a Remodeling Budget of $14 to $15 Million
“So the timeline is going to be probably in early 2025,” he said. “When we're moving in, there's a lot of analysis to be done. There's some asbestos and lead remediation and some work in the building to be done. So we're probably several months out from that work beginning and then and then a year or so of construction work. The budget is probably going to be somewhere in the $14 to $15 million range. That's a ballpark figure that is to be refined. That cost will be split between the city and the county.”
Hess said moving to the federal building will be the most cost effective plan for the future of city and county offices.
“So that's $7 million for the city,” he said. “I would note that this is the cheapest thing that we can do to meet our space needs over the next 20 years. The city has been growing for decades, and City Hall is at the end of its life. So, out of all the alternatives we looked at, whether it's rebuilding on site at City Hall or leasing privately owned space downtown. The best and cheapest thing we can do for the long haul is moving into the federal building.”
The City and County collaborated last fall to create a Missoula Local Government Building Special District to acquire, improve, maintain and operate the building for the public good.
Click here to get the most up to date information about the upcoming remodeling of the federal building and the big move from the former City Hall and county offices.