1

Duplexes planned at Russell and Second; sidewalks pending full plans for Russell

James Lainsbury and Brandy Gillespie purchased two lots and plan to construct two duplexes on the site. The units will be compact given the lot configuration and will range from 621 square feet of living space to 679.

Plans to redevelop a small lot on South Second Street into two duplex apartments received approval from the Missoula Redevelopment Agency last week, though sidewalk work along the corridor will have to wait until plans for Russell Street are fully baked.

James Lainsbury and Brandy Gillespie purchased two lots and plan to construct two duplexes on the site. The units will be compact given the lot configuration and will range from 621 square feet of living space to 679.

“I appreciate that they’re fairly small units,” said MRA board member Ruth Reineking. “I believe there’s a market out there for that.”

Each duplex carries an estimated construction cost of $477,000. The property’s current tax bill is around $1,000 a year, though after the duplexes are completed, it will increase to more than $4,200.

Several vacant and dilapidated structures will be removed from the property and for that, MRA approved $12,300 in tax increment financing for deconstruction, along with $1,200 to make repairs to the public right-of-way.

Unlike most projects, sidewalks weren’t required given future plans for Russell Street.

“There is not a sidewalk on Second Street at this point,” said Todd Gass with MRA. “We’re not proposing to include a sidewalk as part of this project, because that’s in the works in a future project.”

The Montana Department of Transportation last year completed Phase 1 of its Russell Street expansion project. Phase 2 is in the works and public right-of-way is being secured.

Once that project is funded and ready, crews will widen Russell to four lanes south of where the old project left off. That will likely bring changes to the intersection of Russell and Second Street, where the duplex project is planned.

“The Russell Street project will redesign the corner of Russell and Second street. They’ll change the grade a little bit, so we didn’t want to get ahead of that project,” Gass said. “We pulled it out of our sidewalk project last year and need to wait for the Russell Street project. It’s kind of a waiting game right now.”