Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) A Northside housing project set for construction in the coming weeks will gain one additional income-restricted condominium under an agreement approved by the Missoula Redevelopment Agency on Thursday.

In January, MRA recommended and the City Council approved a resolution to issue up to $9.8 million in bonds for an infrastructure and workforce housing project planned off Scott Street. The bond included around $980,000 in contingency fees and, as it stands, a good portion of that won’t be needed.

Annie Gorski, deputy director of MRA, said earthwork at the site hasn’t revealed any major concerns.

“There’s about one week left in that scope,” said Gorski. “They’ve found some items, like buried concrete from former foundations. But so far, the things covered by the contingency are rather small, so we anticipate we’ll have significant savings.”

With costs running lower than anticipated, MRA plans to reduce the overall contingency tied to the project from 20% to 7% once Knife River begins deep excavation to lay the infrastructure. The savings could help pay the impact fees associated with the project.

Gorski said the city received around $2.8 million from the state’s new Infrastructure Revolving Loan Fund to help pay for certain project costs. The loan was approved in February but language within the program says the developer cannot pay the impact fees and the fees cannot be waived.

“We must identify another funding source to pay the impact fees, which total just under $165,000,” said Gorski. “The city doesn’t have another source to pay the impact fees, and we cannot waive the fees under state law.”

Groski added that MRA will pay the fees, either from savings in the contingency or with uncommitted funds from the Scott Street Urban Renewal District. Either way, it will enable Ravara to add an additional income-restricted condominium to the project.

“The developer will eliminate this cost from their construction budget. As a result, they can convert a market-rate condominium to an income-restricted unit,” Gorski said.

A map of the project as planned.

A map of the project as planned.

As planned, 3 of the 9 acres will be donated to the North Missoula Community Development Corp. to serve as a community land trust. The property was initially planned to include 46 income-restricted housing units and 43 market-rate homes.


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With the savings identified Thursday, it will now include 47-income restricted units. The prices have not been set. The remaining 6 acres will include 225 market-rate rental units and a number of commercial opportunities.

As MRA sizes the final bond amounts in the coming weeks, it will determine whether to pay the impact fees with savings from the contingency fund or from the urban renewal district.

“Really, it just allows us flexibility when we size the bonds,” said Jil Dunn, the business and project manager with MRA.

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