Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - A team has been selected by the City of Missoula and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency to redevelop the site of the former Missoula Public Library, now called the Payne Block after the Payne Family donated the entire block to the city in 2019.

KGVO News spoke to Annie Gorski with the Missoula Redevelopment Agency for details on the future of the site.

The Payne Family Donated the Old Library block to the City in 2019

“Terry Payne and his family donated the library block to the city in 2019,” began Gorski. “Since then, we have been leasing that space to schools, and the city's parks and recreation department has been using it for summer programs for kids. That building has been used in the interim, but the goal for the city was always to redevelop that site into housing and mixed-use to add to the vitality of the downtown area.”

Gorski said the team is just beginning to scratch the surface of how the Payne Block will be developed in the coming years.

Plans are Just Getting Started to develop the Payne Block

“We are just at the beginning stages with this development team, but we’re very excited because they are pretty aligned with the city's goals for this site and interested in trying to accommodate as many of the goals and priorities from the downtown master plan is as we can on this site,” she said. “We know we can’t accommodate all but we’re really excited and we'll be coming back in and updating the council and the community as we move forward.”

A Sizable Portion of the Block will be used for 'Affordable Workforce Housing'

Gorski said much of the block will be used for ‘affordable workforce housing’.

“A big piece of that is housing, with mixed-income and workforce housing,” she said. That included addressing the need for housing for Missoulians that are in that middle-income band where they may not be able to afford a median-priced home or rental apartment. As of now, we don't know the details of what that will look like yet on this site.”

Gorski said the team will be taking all the time necessary to properly plan the development of the Payne Block.

“They're going to start meeting with housing partners in the community and understanding the need, and then they'll do some design work and come back to us and report back,” she said. “I would expect that it likely will be three years and maybe more before we see something (built) on the site. That’s because that process can take some time, with design, permitting, and financing for the project, and then starting construction.”

The Oregon and Idaho-based team of Edlen & Co and deChase Miksis was selected after an in-depth review process of several development firms. The City and Missoula Economic Partnership introduced the selection to city council during the Housing, Redevelopment, and Community Programs Committee meeting on Wednesday morning.

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