(Missoula Current) More than two years after purchasing a dilapidated West Broadway property – and one pandemic later – the City of Missoula is now taking steps to redevelop the site in accordance with a plan for the corridor.

The Missoula Redevelopment Agency on Monday opened an official request for bids to remove the Sleepy Inn, located at 1427 West Broadway, and clear the site for redevelopment.

Whoever receives the contract will be required to deal with asbestos removal and lead-based paint, along with deconstruction of the 10,000 square foot building and a small shed.

“We're past the point where it's an asset, and it has become and is a liability,” MRA Director Ellen Buchanan recently said.

With approval from City Council, the city purchased the Sleepy Inn in 2020 for roughly $1.1 million. It was transformed into a non-congregant shelter during the pandemic and housed 395 individuals, according to the city.

But the site is now vacant, the services are disconnected and vandalism is rampant, Buchanan said. MRA will fund the cost of the motel's removal while the process of selling the property for redevelopment plays out over the coming year.

Officials believe the site will be the first property redeveloped in accordance to the new West Broadway Master Plan. The current vision calls for a five-story building with ground-floor retail and roughly 35 residential units.

Members of the City Council have said that proceeds from the sale of the property would be invested into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. That revenue could then leverage affordable housing projects elsewhere within the West Broadway corridor.

The city also owns the Missoula Water building and an adjacent parcel, both on West Broadway. Those also are slated for future redevelopment.

The bidding process for the abatement and removal of the Sleepy Inn closes on Jan. 6.