The next Missoula Redevelopment Agency (MRA) Board meeting will occur on Thursday, March 16 at 12:00 pm. The Board will consider funding for several public improvements at its Thursday meeting, including restoration of the Flynn Lowney Ditch, installation of a waterline in North Avenue to support future redevelopment, and deconstruction and public right-of-way improvements surrounding First Security Bank’s new building planned at the corner of Dearborn Avenue/Garfield Street in Midtown Missoula. MRA staff are recommending this catalyst project because it meets the criteria of the TIF Infrastructure Program, including aligning with several goals in the City’s Strategic Plan and with the URD III Plan, adding trees and boulevard sidewalks in the ROW, leveraging private investment and an innovative, sustainable building design, and increased property value.
What is the First Security Bank project?
- In June 2022, the MRA board approved Proceeding without Prejudice for deconstruction of the building at 2500 Garfield Street, in the Southgate Triangle neighborhood/Ward 4.
- The bank is requesting funding for public improvements in the right of way surrounding the site, as well as deconstruction of two obsolete buildings onsite, for a total of $711,083 in TIF funds. The TIF request represents approximately 3% of the total project cost, which is a 1:33 public to private ratio investment. If approved, Urban Renewal District (URD) III assistance will leverage $23.5 M in private investment for this catalyst project in Midtown.
Why is this project important?
- New private investment in commercial projects, like First Security Bank, contribute more property taxes. This growth in tax increment is reinvested back into the district for public improvements such as MRL Park, Bitterroot Trail, public infrastructure for housing at 2405 38th St., and street improvements such as South Avenue and Mary Avenue. When URD III ends, the growth in property taxes will flow to the local taxing jurisdictions who will benefit from private investments like First Security Bank, Trempers Kent Plaza, and Trailhead River Sports.
- Any TIF funds awarded for this project would be repaid over a 2–3 year period from the additional property taxes of First Security Bank. Currently the two First Security Bank properties pay $76,000 in property tax. Projected new property tax is estimated to more than triple, creating new revenue that can be invested in things like implementing the Midtown Master Plan, funding new parks and trails, and helping to build affordable housing.
- Private investment stimulates job creation in the local economy. First Security Bank intends to utilize local contractors and labor for the project. They anticipate that 20 local subcontractors and an estimated 150 individuals will be employed over the duration of the project with 90% of the work going to Montana businesses.
- "The Southgate Triangle is a major focus area of the Midtown Master Plan and First Security Bank's exciting project is located in an area identified as a top priority for commercial redevelopment," said Mark Bellon, Missoula Midtown Association Past President and Board Member. "The MRA's investment in improving the infrastructure of Midtown's commercial core will lead to additional development and we welcome this new building as a vital improvement to Midtown and an example of a good project we hope other property owners will consider as Midtown grows. Furthermore, my company, Territorial Landworks, was able to revitalize our building in this same neighborhood 12 years ago because of Urban Renewal District III TIF Funding allowing us to add new positions and provide an improved environment for our staff so I know firsthand that Midtown employers rely on this economic tool to make facility improvements pencil."
How does this project align with City Strategic Plan goals?
Environmental Quality :
- Sustainable growth initiatives: The project involves redeveloping a site in Midtown, at a primary node close to transit, rather than developing a greenfield at the edge of Missoula.
- The URD assistance for deconstruction will prevent building materials (asphalt, wood, roof trusses, siding, door hardware, and interior finishes) in two obsolete buildings from going to the landfill.
Public Safety and Wellness:
- Boulevard sidewalks will be installed surrounding the project, adding much needed trees and greenery to this portion of Midtown, which cools and shades sidewalks and parking lots.
- One goal stated in the Urban Renewal District III Plan to “Encourage the use of landscaping in all URD private and public projects and facilities and develop landscaping standards for public places and rights-of-way that encourage planting of trees, shrubs, flowers and other ornamental plantings as appropriate.”
- American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible pathways throughout the site will connect the public right of way to all points of the new building, exterior plazas, and associated landscaping.
- MRA strives to support economic projects that align with the City strategic plan goal that pledges to maintain and grow a diverse economy through partnerships and innovation to support large and small business and entrepreneurs while providing employment opportunities for all residents.
Details for attending the MRA Board meeting can be found on the MRA Board Meeting Agenda.