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Kalispell Council looks at housing and parking garage proposal

by HEIDI DESCH
Daily Inter Lake | August 1, 2022 12:00 AM

Kalispell City Council on Monday will consider a parking garage and multi-family housing development project proposed for a downtown parking lot.

The Montana Hotel Dev Partners have submitted a proposal to the city that would turn the lot into a 239-stall parking garage with retail space on the street level. It would also include a 78-unit apartment project.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the City Hall, 201 First Avenue East.

City Council in June said it would consider new submissions to redevelop the city-owned parking lot at First Street West and First Avenue West. The decision resulted after the developers, which had been slated to construct a parking garage on the lot, returned with a plan to add housing to the original project.

The developer last year gained city approval for its plan to construct The Charles Hotel on Main Street and, as a related project, construct the nearby garage to provide public and hotel parking.

Now, the developer has officially submitted its new plan for the project estimated at $41 million. It was the only one to reply to the city’s request for proposals for the lot.

The estimated completion for the project is fall 2024. The developers say in their proposal that the project takes “design cues from the surrounding historic downtown buildings.”

“We envision a total transformation of the site from a quiet surface parking lot to a busy downtown hub of activity,” the developer says.

The eight-story building would be under private ownership for financing purposes with a lease/management agreement with the city for the parking spaces that would remain open to the public. The parking garage would set aside 90 parking spaces for the hotel.

The proposal calls for 6,200 square feet of retail and office space on the ground floor.

Constructed above the parking garage, of the 78 apartment units, 20 are proposed to be designated for workforce housing.

The developer is asking for the city’s assistance by offsetting impact fees for the parking garage development with tax increment finance funds.

Partners with Montana Hotel Dev Partners include Robert Watson, John Costa and Bill Goldberg of Compass Construction.

“Our team shares enthusiasm for the future of Kalispell,” the proposal says. “That excitement resonated so significantly with our investor group that they have already committed capital for the entire project. We are eager to see the results of the vision seeded almost one decade ago in the city.”

The city’s Downtown Plan specifically addresses the need to redevelop city-owned surface parking lots into more beneficial uses to eliminate blight and increase the tax base.

ALSO ON the agenda, Council will consider a resolution that sets a public hearing for Aug. 15 to take comment on amending the Downtown Urban Renewal Plan and the West Side/Core Area Urban Renewal Plan to include workforce housing as projects eligible for tax increment financing.

Updates to the plans would allow for tax increment finance funds to be made available for affordable workforce housing projects. Council earlier this summer expressed interest in making the change that would allow it to then allocate TIF funds to such housing projects.

Council is set to vote on a request from William and Simone Bailey for the annexation of property less than an acre in size on South Woodland Drive. The annexation request is based on a need to connect to city sewer due to a failing septic system.

At the meeting, Council will consider a request from Morning Star and Green Acres Cooperative for the city to serve as a host for the submission of a Community Development Block grant application for the purpose of both communities connecting to the city’s sewer system.

Both mobile home communities have septic systems at the end of their life and would like to connect to the city system. If awarded the grants it would help fund the design and construction of the onsite infrastructure needed to connect.

For more information, visit the city’s website at https://www.kalispell.com/.

Features Editor Heidi Desch may be reached at 758-4421 or hdesch@dailyinterlake.com.

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