By Martin Kidston/MISSOULA CURRENT
Missoula set a record for the number of building permits issued by the city in 2015. This year, the construction industry is likely to benefit as a result.
The city’s Development Services and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency are both watching a number of large projects advance through construction, including the Polleys Square condo project in the Old Sawmill District and Consumer Direct’s new $21 million office building on North Reserve Street.
Several other large projects are expected to break ground in the coming weeks, including the new six-story Stockman Bank building on West Broadway, and new student housing on East Front Street near the Missoula Public Library.
“The student housing project will break ground within the next two months, maybe sooner,” MRA Director Ellen Buchanan said recently. “They’ve already gone for the foundation permits, with underground parking.”
Plans filed with Development Services on Dec. 23 call for two levels of parking, part of which will be underground. The five-story project includes 164 units of student housing and ground-floor retail.
Farran Realty Partners and Lambros Developments announced the project in January 2015. Pat Corrick, a managing partner at Farran, expects the units to open for students by the 2017 academic season.
Farran is also behind plans taking shape on the Riverfront Triangle in downtown Missoula. The development firm unveiled its vision for the property last June and continues to make headway.
The project, estimated at $150 million, includes housing, office, retail, and a hotel and conference center
Chris Behan, assistant director at MRA, said the city and developers will continue to work toward an agreement on how the conference center is managed.
“We need to work through a lot of the legal mechanisms to show them (City Council) the legal language that might be worked into the development agreement,” Behan said. “But that needs to pass muster here first.”
MRA also expects construction to begin on a new $4 million pedestrian bridge spanning South Reserve Street. The project was approved last year. It will connect the new Missoula to Lolo Trail with the Bitterroot Branch Trail.
Buchanan said the fabricators are currently working on the structure.
“We should see that project completed in late summer or early fall,” Buchanan said. “If the weather breaks, they might be out there driving piles and pouring concrete. I don’t know if we’ll get a jump on the construction season or not.”