Missoula Mayor Hess Says ‘The City Made Money on the Sleepy Inn’
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - City of Missoula Mayor Jordan Hess used the closing minutes of the Monday night city council meeting to let his feelings be known about the Sleepy Inn Motel which is currently being deconstructed.
Mayor Hess said 'The Sleepy Inn Motel Saved Lives and Made the City Money'
He began by stating unequivocally that the Sleepy Inn Motel saved lives and made the city money.
‘That Sleepy Inn property unequivocally saved lives and made the city money, and anything contrary to that is false information,” began Mayor Hess. “We paid $1.1 million for the building. During that time we were reimbursed $1.9 million from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency for our expenses and we in addition to that received $718,046 in rent.”
Mayor Hess then said selling the property will result in more income for the city.
When the Property Sells it will Bring in Even More for the City
“We are, in the next week or two, listing that property for sale for $890,000,” he said. “So the $1.9 million in reimbursements was reimbursing costs, but the $718,000 in rent plus the $890,000 in listing price is over for over $500,000 in excess of the original purchase price. So we will make money on that property and that is the plain truth of it.”
Mayor Hess detailed the many people who were placed at The Sleepy Inn during the pandemic.
“There were 395 people who stayed at the Sleepy Inn for an average stay length of seven days,” he said. “Those were people who were homeless. There were also traveling workers who were stranded here after a COVID diagnosis. There were also people who were moving out of their homes to avoid infecting family or maybe to avoid infecting elderly or immunocompromised family, and there were people who are discharged from the hospital who had COVID and had nowhere else to go.”
The Mayor said the Reclaimed Site will Help Revitalize the Downtown Area
Mayor Hess further detailed the advantages that having the Sleepy Inn property will have on the future of the downtown area.
“The next step is this deconstruction and sale process and redevelopment,” he said. “That will yield an opportunity to redevelop the site and increase the tax base and promote city objectives. So that could be housing; it could be mixed use; it could be commercial, but whatever it does, it'll be in service of the West Broadway community Master Plan, which will create, and which calls for creating a new neighborhood center in the area. It calls for services that the West Side neighborhood has asked for for a long time. There are local businesses, childcare, other types of services that are neighborhood oriented, and it calls for redeveloping a relatively blighted area on West Broadway into a more vibrant area.”
The late Mayor John Engen was savagely criticized for the city’s move to purchase the Sleepy Inn Motel at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.