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Work begins on Bloomstone homes

by Matt Hudson
| July 22, 2015 9:00 PM

A sizable residential subdivision approved almost a decade ago has come back to life as site work begins on the Bloomstone development in north Kalispell.

The developer is touting the units as an affordable option, with homes in the sub-$300,000 range.

Situated just west of Kidsports and north of Four Mile Drive, the 75-acre tract has been purchased by Kalispell National Investment Co.

A smaller, 16-acre portion of the land will be developed as the first phase, with 25 single-family homes and a collection of apartment buildings containing 96 units.

The Kalispell City Council initially approved a planned unit development for 569-unit development in 2008. It was then put on hold for seven years as the recession set in.

“We started out gangbusters and got hit by the 2008 crash, just like everybody else did,” said Jim Davis, who manages the development company.

At that time, Davis said $2.5 million was invested in the project. Developers subsequently requested extensions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to file a final plat.

With the deadline approaching on the latest extension, Davis and his company filed the final plan and the council unanimously supported it.

“All signs point to yes,” Davis said of the current construction market trend.

He said multifamily units such as apartments were part of the plan even in its earliest stages.

“From the conception of the project, it was always a plan to include lots of multifamilies,” he said.

Construction of the apartment buildings will be overseen by another developer, but Davis oversaw the project up to that point.

The development plan was drafted for a range of housing types, from houses to condominiums, but the apartments are aimed at bridging a growing housing gap in Kalispell where the rental market is tight. Few buildings of that scale exist in the area.

“We have a shortage of rental housing and a shortage of multifamily housing,” Kalispell Planning Director Tom Jentz said. “We’ve never been a multifamily community.”

Without a major university or industry to attract hordes of renters, the majority of residents traditionally have relied on single-family homes and small apartment complexes.

But the Flathead Valley has seen rapid growth over the last decade, and the search for rental units is becoming more limited in scope. Jentz said he’s heard from multiple people about the difficulty in finding rentals in Kalispell.

In the larger scheme, the Bloomstone project could include as many as 250 apartment units.

The initial round of apartments are awaiting approval from the city’s architectural review committee, one of the last hurdles before breaking ground.

THE MAJORITY OF the subdivision will be single-family homes, however. Davis has 25 planned for the first phase and the site work already is underway. The foundations for two homes will be installed in the coming days, and they should be finished within three months.

These homes will be smaller, less than 1,300 square feet. Bloomstone managers are pegging starting prices in the low $200,000s.

“The city really has a need for affordable housing,” Davis said. “The people down at the city, they know that.”

Of the first two homes, one already has been sold. The other will serve as a model unit as Bloomstone ramps up its marketing.

The future could hold a variety of different homes for Bloomstone. Davis said they’ve planned for several lot sizes, home types, condos and other apartment complexes. The total build-out likely won’t surpass 570 individual units.

This subdivision will spring up alongside steady development in north Kalispell. A new, large commercial project has been approved south of Costco, and the coming bypass will seal off that area from contiguous growth.

But the kinetic energy found in the Bloomstone project could point to a renewed stability in real estate for an already-potent Kalispell market.

The first phase of Bloomstone is expected to cost about $1.1 million. Then it’s on to the next phase for Davis and company.

“Things are definitely looking up,” he said. “We’re excited about getting going and building houses.”

This article was updated to more accurately reflect the proposed prices of Bloomstone homes.