City gives initial nod to $730K bond ahead of workforce housing project

Phase I of Scott Street Village, picture last year, was completed in November. Edgell Building is now looking to begin the project’s second phase, requiring costly infrastructure improvements. (Missoula Current/File image)

Members of the Missoula City Council on Wednesday approved a $730,000 bond to lay the infrastructure needed to begin additional phases of a workforce housing project on the city’s north side.

The bond, secured through First Interstate Bank at 4.7 percent interest over 25 years, will cover the cost of street improvements, water and sewer needed to support two additional phases of Scott Street Village.

The City Council will take a final vote on Monday.

Jil Dunn with the Missoula Redevelopment Agency said the project’s second phase carries a cost of $4.2 million and includes six single-family homes and 18 townhouses. That portion of the development aims for completion next year and is seeking $518,000 in tax increment financing.

Phase III proposes a 60-unit apartment complex with a target date of 2020. But Dunn said the developer, Edgell Building, plans to conduct further market analysis to ensure the $5.5 million project is needed.

Edgell is seeking roughly $162,000 in tax increment financing to make infrastructure improvements needed for Phase III. With both phases combined, the developer is seeking $730,000 in tax increments.

“Regardless of the timing of that (third phase), the infrastructure needs to be there,” Dunn said. “This area is deficient in infrastructure, mainly sewer and water. It made sense to complete those (improvements) at this time and get them done and paid for. We want to have that infrastructure there so development can occur.”

Edgell broke ground on Scott Street Village roughly two years ago and completed Phase I just last month. It included 24 single-family homes and four townhouses at a development cost of $4.6 million.

The homes sold at price points ranging from $165,000 to $220,000 – prices considered low for new housing in Missoula. The median price of a home currently sits at roughly $274,000.

“All the units have been sold or committed,” Dunn said. “They have a waiting list for Phase II.”

The target price for properties included in the second phase of development range from $184,000 to $271,000. The project represents what several council members described as a rare and welcome entry-level housing project.

“I’ve kept my eyes on that project and I think it’s a good project,” said Ward 4 council member John Wilkins. “It fits there and it’s good workforce housing.”

The City Council adopted a guiding plan for the North Reserve/Scott Street Urban Renewal District earlier this year to help guide future development in the former industrial zone.

The plan calls for the development of housing, office and retail, along with light industrial and other uses. Combined with Consumer Direct’s new headquarters and an expanded Bretz RV, the Scott Street Village project stands among the district’s first major projects.