A vision for an overlooked stretch of downtown Missoula received broad praise on Monday night for its focus on housing and new retail opportunities, and the input collected in crafting the plan.
With nothing but accolades for the process, the Missoula City Council officially adopted the West Broadway Master Plan as an amendment to the Downtown Master Plan, setting a benchmark for future redevelopment, including several parcels of city-owned property.
“The city owns a significant amount of land within this study area, and we have a lot of opportunity to use that land we’ve banked for the creation of housing and to meet other community priorities,” said council member Jordan Hess. “This is an area that has a lot of opportunity, and this plan is thoughtful.”
Headed by the Missoula Redevelopment Agency and more than 18 months in the making, the plan brought together a coalition of partners to set a community vision for an area that hasn’t seen much change over the years.
The corridor has been described as everything from overlooked to dilapidated, and most agree it has significant potential for redevelopment on the fringe of the downtown district’s west end.
The plan covers roughly 15 acres and places an emphasis on housing, retail, restaurants and a greater number of transportation options.
“This area has a lot of possibilities and a lot of opportunity,” said council member Gwen Jones. “This plan puts together a vision that can help propel this neighborhood, in this part of the city, into the future with a strong set of goals and new partnerships and enthusiasm for improving this area.”
As proposed, the plan calls for roughly 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and around 15,000 square feet of office space.
On the housing front, it looks to provide around 130 market-rate townhomes and apartments, and around 70 affordable housing units targeted to a range of incomes.
A chapter of the plan also looks to make improvements to West Broadway, making it easier for residents living north of the corridor to cross the road and find their way to the river.
Plazas and green-space are also envisioned.
“I want to lift up the high attention paid to affordable housing, especially permanently affordable housing, and the use of city-held land and public funds to respond to this housing crisis,” said resident Sam Duncan. “I hope that continues to happen.”
The city holds a number of parcels within the planning area, including the old Sleepy Inn, which is currently being used as a quarantine shelter but will eventually be redeveloped. The city also owns the Missoula Water building and an adjacent parcel.