Group living center for Missoula seniors approved for development on S. 6th St.

A rendering of the 55+ senior living center planned for South Sixth Street in Missoula.

With housing high on the radar, the Missoula City Council on Monday night placed its stamp of approval on a 36-room group living center earmarked for seniors over the age of 55.

The project, planned by Hogan Senior Living LLC, looks to provide attainable housing for seniors close to city services and existing downtown amenities. The project is slated for South Sixth Street near Higgins Avenue.

“We’re aware that our community is aging and there’s limited housing options for older persons,” said council member Heidi West. “This is an innovate way to bring a new housing type to the market and hopefully build community and support folks.”

The development will have one building containing 36 bedroom suites, including 13 one-bedroom units and 23 studios. The apartments will share a communal kitchen, dining and living spaces.

While such projects are common in other cities, communal living is new to Missoula.

“The reason why this is a new idea and why our community and local government is so receptive to it is because it’s cheaper for people to live,” said council member Gwen Jones. “Instead of having a full apartment with all the amenities, they’ll have partial apartments and some of the amenities will be communal amenities down the hall. For seniors on fixed incomes, this can be a real bonus, living in a central part of the city and having less rent.”

According to data contained in last year’s housing report by the Missoula Organization of Realtors, the age distribution in Missoula has remained largely unchanged over the years, with 20-24 year-olds making up the larges portion of the population at nearly 12%.

But the overall population also is growing by around 2% a year, meaning the senior population is climbing. The Hogan project is the first this year intended for those over 55 years of age.

“There are a lot folks that are pressed to have a place they can afford and a place to enjoy one another’s company,” said council member Heather Harp. “It presents an opportunity for people to downsize from their homes and open up some housing stock for families that are hard pressed to find housing elsewhere.”