January 23, 2015

Student Housing in the Works for Missoula

MISSOULA – The first privately-owned housing project designed for University of Montana students is in the works for downtown Missoula.

As the director of ASUM’s off-campus Renter Center at UM, Katherine Brady helps students with the process for renting a home. Something she says can be a struggle.

“We see a lot of students struggling to find a place they can afford, that’s someplace close to campus or students who end up in unsafe rentals that are not up to code.”

Brady says the lack of housing is due to the low vacancy rate in Missoula, making it hard for students on a tight budget to find a place to live.

“Because of lack of housing landlords know they have the upper hand and they can charge a lot.”

Now the Missoula firm Farran Realty Partners may have found a solution to the problem after buying a piece of land on East Front Street and Clay from First Interstate Bank.

“This land has always been one of the sites student housing developers have looked at, and frankly drooled over, because of its proximity to campus, its proximity to the Madison Street footbridge,” said Mayor John Engen.

The mayor confirms the realty firm, which has worked on housing complexes like the Corso Apartment Homes and the Copper Run at Reserve plans to build a 500-bed housing project on the site.

“It really caters to the needs of students today. It provides safety, security and a degree of affordability.”

Engen has been working with the university for more than two years to create safe and affordable housing for students in Missoula. The news of this housing project is a step towards achieving that goal.

“These units provide some affordability, there’s a degree of communal living, but everyone has their own bedroom and bathroom, and it’s under lock and key so it’s secure.”

Mayor Engen says he hasn’t discussed the time frame of the project with the realty firm. He says the firm is known to work quickly.

By ABC Fox Montana

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