City gives initial approval to storage warehouse after developer makes changes

Storage facility planned at Reserve Street and River Road.

Six months after sending a proposed residential storage warehouse off Reserve Street back to committee for additional work, members of the City Council on Wednesday gave it preliminary approval.

The storage facility, planned by Jay Getz for a vacant lot at the corner of River Road and Reserve, will include 440 units in 59,000 square feet of space across three floors, including offices.

The warehouse adheres to city zoning and new design standards, earning the developers praise from members of the council.

“As we continue to grow, it’s going to be more challenging to find sites that don’t present a challenge,” said council member Mirtha Becerra. “I appreciate the applicant working with all the different departments to come up with a reasonable and safe solution to this.”

The project ran into hurdles back in February when issues over ingress and egress emerged and the owner of an adjacent property withdrew his offering of an easement.

The developers worked with city staff and the Missoula Fire Department to resolve a number of issues. The fire department agreed to a performance based fire plan and access to the property will be restricted to River Road, and only for a right turn in and a right turn out.

“The building is configured with glass, timber, stucco and all of these things which have been approved from the Design Excellence Review committee and meet or exceed guidelines,” said Getz. “We sure hope or project at some point will be used as an excellent example of the DER program. We have a great project.”

Commercial real estate agents in Missoula have noted a need for additional residential storage units. Efforts to meet the city’s affordable housing needs has led to smaller apartments and townhomes.

The facility is expected to generate roughly 26 vehicle trips per day, according to city calculations.

“I have no doubt based on the existing facility you have on River Road that this is going to be a beautiful building, will be well taken care of and fills a need the community has,” said council member Julie Merritt, who represents that district of the city. “The fact you have put all this time and energy into it means we do need it.”