Students set to move into Front Street project; three restaurants, clinic on tap

Crews continue working on the Roam student housing project on Front Street in downtown Missoula. The first batch of students are slated to move in starting in July, and several restaurants are looking to occupy the ground flood. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

Students will begin their move into the Roam student housing project in downtown Missoula this July, and as construction crews put the final touches on the project, several new restaurants are ready to occupy the retail floor.

Jim McLeod, senior managing director with Farran Realty Partners, said the complex remains on pace to fully open in August, infusing the downtown district with several hundred residents.

“We’re on track to be stabilized by the start of the school year,” McLeod said. “We’ve got several hundred leases right now. It’s been very good.”

Crews broke ground on the $38 million structure in late 2016 and are racing to meet the planned August opening. The facility includes 488 beds and a 308-stall parking garage, along with 6,500 square feet of retail space.

McLeod said the building’s studios went quickly, followed by the two-bedroom units. Demand is strong among students seeking the four-bedroom units as well, he added.

“This summer, we’ll start matching students,” McLeod said. “You may have two students, but they don’t have two additional roommates. A lot of times, those students hold off because they’re trying to find four roommates, so we’ll start matching them.”

The list of tenants lined up for the four retail spots located on the ground floor include First Care outpatient clinic by Community Medical Center, according to permits on file with the city. A hospital spokesperson said Tuesday those plans are still being developed.

Plans for Wally and Buck are also on file with the city. The eatery got its start as a mobile food concept in Missoula crafting hamburgers built from grass-finished beef and other local ingredients. Attempts to reach the company Tuesday weren’t successful.

Two other eateries are also proposed for the building, including one by Peter Lambros and another by Dave Beaton. Beaton said Tuesday his plans were still being developed and not yet ready for a public announcement.

While those announcements could be coming soon, McLeod said the project is moving in the right direction, as is the downtown district.

“I’m excited about what’s happening downtown in general,” said McLeod. “I know they’ve got some pretty exciting concepts with restaurants going into the Mercantile as well. You’ve got the library, and we’re making progress on the Riverfront Triangle, so there’s a lot of good things happening right now.”

The Riverfront Triangle, which sits five blocks west of the new student housing project, is also planned for development by Farran Realty Partners and other investors. Plans call for housing, retail and office, along with a hotel and conference center, all tucked into roughly seven acres.

While the project has been years in the making, McLeod said it’s moving forward.

“We’re just working with our contractor and the architects,” he said. “It’s such a complicated building. In apartments, we can get a design in two or three months, but this will take nine to 12 months to get the design.”

On a separate note, Old Chicago Pizza received a commercial building permit for the shuttered Johnny Carino’s restaurant at 3630 N. Reserve St. That project is listed under Bitterroot Holdings, LLC, with a Wyoming address.

Several requests for comment from Bitterroot Holdings haven’t been returned.