Montana financing group lands $65M in tax credits; project announcements expected

The Garlington Building, pictured at left on Broadway in downtown Missoula, was among the first projects financed with New Market Tax Credits by the now-named Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

A financing group spread across Montana and Idaho secured $65 million in new market tax credits this week, bringing its running total in the competitive federal program to more $496 million over the past decade.

With the financing secured, the Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation is gearing up to announce newly qualified construction and revitalization projects across the region.

Dave Glaser, president of the Missoula-based organization, said funding applications are stacked deep. Several of those potential new projects are located in western Montana.

“We don’t talk about projects until financing has been put together,” Glaser said on Tuesday. “We do have three projects in the closing process right now that should close in late March or early April. So stay tuned.”

While the program has helped leverage tens of millions of dollars in projects across Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, it has served especially well in western Montana, helping stimulate growth when private investment was hard to come by.

In Missoula, the tax credits helped fund the construction of the Garlington Building in downtown Missoula, transforming a portion of the district with mixed-use commercial development in the heart of the city.

The credits also helped pay for the construction of the Poverello Center and the Missoula Food Bank. In Polson, the funding helped complete the Mission Valley Aquatics center and the Red Lion hotel.

Downtown projects in Billings, Butte, Helena and Bozeman have also benefited from the competitive program, Glaser said.

“To be considered, a project has got to have high community impact, and it has got to align with what the U.S. Treasury is solving for,” Glaser said. “Job creation, services for low income or revitalization plans – those are a couple examples of how these projects align with community benefits.”

Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines have both lauded the program’s ability to create new jobs and businesses through investments in smaller communities, such as those scattered across the northern Rocky Mountain region.

Daines has supported legislation to make the New Market Tax Credits a permanent part of the tax bill while Tester, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he’ll work to ensure the funding remains available to further finance the creation of jobs.

“New Market Tax Credits have helped spur economic development across Montana,” Tester said. “I will continue to support New Market Tax Credits, and I will fight on the Appropriations Committee to ensure these resources continue to finance job-creating projects.”

The Montana & Idaho CDC, which competes against 300 similar organizations nationally, sells the tax credits to investors, turning the awards into cash which are used to finance businesses, nonprofits and real-estate development.

Prior awards have financed everything from manufacturing facilities to new grocery stores and hotels, along with homeless shelters and redevelopment projects, such as that planned for the Riverfront Triangle in downtown Missoula.

Glaser declined to say if the 7-acre infill project planned in Missoula’s downtown district was one of the potential projects slated to close on financing this spring, though he did say the project ticked all the boxes for consideration.

“There’s a positive domino effect to these projects that extends well into the future,” Glaser said of all the projects currently under consideration. “Where these investments are made, we’ve seen additional investment follow. The tax credits are the catalyst, but Montanans take it from there.”