Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) Deconstruction of the Sleepy Inn netted more than 1,500 pounds of copper and 28,000 pounds of steel, among other reusable products, the city said this week.

The Missoula Redevelopment Agency in January approved a $283,000 contract to remove asbestos and lead-based paint from the property, clearing the way for 3 Rivers Landworks and Heritage Timber to deconstruct the building and clear the property for redevelopment.

But as deconstruction progressed, additional asbestos was found behind old plaster, along with a crawlspace, which required more fill material. As a result, the project's cost increased to $318,000. A federal Brownfield grant covered $83,000 while the remainder was funded by tax increment financing.

MRA communications specialist Maci MacPherson said the use of tax increment required that the building be deconstructed as opposed to demolished and placed in the landfill.

“MRA’s policy requires deconstruction and material salvage or recycling for buildings being removed with tax increment financing,” said MacPherson. “At the beginning of the project, Heritage Timer estimated that approximately 60% of the building materials could be salvaged and diverted from the landfill.”

The result of the city's deconstruction policy netted several tons of material that can be reused or recycled. Along with steel and copper, the process reclaimed roughly 31,000 board feet of wood, 1,400 chimney bricks and 18 windows.

It also netted seven sinks and mirrors, 33 lamps and 30 chairs.

The city purchased the property in 2020 to serve both as a quarantine shelter and for future redevelopment. When the pandemic passed and deconstruction began, the city in February announced its plans to list the property for roughly $890,000.

The city is now seeking redevelopment proposals and proceeds from the property's sale will feed the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

“The city of Missoula's Affordable Housing Trust Fund is expected to receive funds from the sale of the property to invest back into affordable housing in our community,” said MacPherson.