MEP in talks with potential developers for old library block

MEP in talks with potential developers for old library block

MISSOULA — Three years have handed for the reason that Payne household donated a whole block of downtown Missoula to the town — a present that surfaced through the building of the brand new Missoula Public Library.

In current months, the Missoula Financial Partnership (MEP) has contacted potential builders to check their curiosity and skill to redevelop the block into one thing new.

The method continues to be younger however Julie Lacey, MEP’s director of financial improvement, is inspired by what they’re seeing by way of curiosity.

Payne Block represents the positioning of the previous library, which can finally be eliminated and redeveloped in accordance with the City Middle Grasp Plan.

“We created materials to create a folder with details about the positioning and the fundamentals of the method,” Lacey mentioned. “That ought to give sufficient info for somebody to orient themselves if they’ve a venture in thoughts.”

Lacey mentioned the MEP collected details about the positioning, comparable to infrastructure and utilities. He additionally contacted metropolis officers concerning rules on design overview of any potential venture.

Additionally they explored potential partnerships and incentives that would assist deal with the necessity for parking and funding. Potential tenants have been additionally mentioned.

Lacey mentioned the primary effort to solicit curiosity attracted 11 potential builders. Of those, MEP plans to proceed conversations with seven of them.

“We spoke to them, they expressed curiosity and we shared the data,” she mentioned. “The following step, we’re asking folks for particulars about their previous enterprise and initiatives, particularly initiatives which are within the discipline and accomplished.”

Though the Downtown Grasp Plan just isn’t set in stone, it does current a imaginative and prescient for the way forward for the neighborhood.

A current market evaluation revealed that the downtown space is ripe for retail and restaurant area, market-priced housing, places of work, lodging and hospitality.

He additionally recommended that downtown might count on so as to add between 300 and 700 residential items over the following decade to accommodate about 1,000 new downtown residents.

“We have been very outspoken in saying it wants housing and good design,” Lacey mentioned of the Payne block. “Different points, whether or not it is an incorporation of concepts from the grasp plan or public curiosity, these conversations can evolve relying on what the design seems to be like and what incentives may be obtainable.”

The downtown grasp plan particularly cites the library block, calling it “an enormous asset to the town”. The design and use of the positioning must be “rigorously thought of”, the plan suggests.

A constructing starting from 4 to 6 tales has been recommended in previous conversations. The positioning can also be giant sufficient to accommodate multiple construction.

“No matter occurs with the positioning, any new constructing ought to contribute to the material of the buildings round it, not hurt them,” the plan says. “The constructing shouldn’t be thought of in isolation, but additionally how the streetscape will also be improved.”

The plan additionally presents recommended makes use of, together with “funky” retail and eating areas, a common workplace, daycare and cafe.

It additionally suggests {that a} downtown grocery retailer may be appropriate, in addition to structured parking, mixed-income housing, or reasonably priced housing.

However parking and low-income housing will be troublesome to realize within the metropolis middle given the price of land, supplies and labor, a minimum of with out a important public subsidy or public-private partnership. .

Such conversations ought to unfold over time.

“We’ll have requests for all the pieces however the kitchen sink to go on this block,” MRA director Ellen Buchanan mentioned. “Having somebody who understands the economics and feasibility, relatively than a bunch of public staff saying this or that, goes to be invaluable as a result of everybody needs all the pieces there.”

Lacey mentioned the MEP didn’t situation a request for proposals (RFP), however relatively reached out to seek out potential companions. It has been a very good strategy thus far, she mentioned.

“It isn’t a young — it is as an alternative of a young course of,” Lacey mentioned. “They (the builders) like the concept of ​​with the ability to perceive this web site and dealing in collaboration with the town.”

Lacey mentioned she expects MEP to provide MRA a listing of really useful builders early subsequent yr. MRA will overview the nominees and their imaginative and prescient, and certain make a suggestion for Metropolis Council to think about.

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