With a $23 million project gearing up, the Missoula City Council on Monday moved to annex a parcel of property off North Reserve Street, setting the groundwork for a future business park and the addition of commercial development.
Consumer Direct is planning to build its new national headquarters on the parcel, located off Grant Creek Road and Howard Raser Drive. The project will include the extension of city water and sewer, and street construction completed to city standards.
“They will construct the extension of Howard Raser Drive to the east of the property line with this tract,” said city planner Denise Alexander. “Once the extension passes the inspection by a city engineer, it will be accepted by the city as a city street.”
Mark Bretz requested the annexation, which the council approved on a 7-0 vote. Five council members were absent from Monday’s meeting.
As planned, Consumer Direct will construct the extension of Howard Raser Drive to allow access to its proposed 67,000 square-foot office building. The property falls under the North Reserve and Scott Street urban renewal district, which the city will consider modifying on July 20.
Consumer Direct is requesting $677,000 in tax increment financing in exchange for brining city services to the property. Bretz RV and Marine is also planning a $3 million addition to its showroom, which sits nearby.
“The property is contiguous to the city and zoned as heavy industrial,” said Alexander. “It will be included in Ward 2 and the Grant Creek Neighborhood Council, along with the North Reserve-Scott Street Urban Renewal District.”
While the request for annexation passed, not all council members were pleased with the proposed building project, as designed.
“It’s a building in a sea of parking,” said Ward 3 council member Alex Taft. “I would like to see if staff and the applicant can work on getting the building closer to the street, so pedestrian access is better.”
The City Council is also being asked to decide whether to extend the life of Urban Renewal District 3, which encompasses a large swatch on the city’s south side.
The owners of Southgate Mall are looking to begin a $70 million renovation and improvement project, and they’ve asked to be brought into the district so they can access tax increment financing.
The mall’s planned projected includes a new movie theater, reconstruction of Sears, a market, and new road infrastructure, among other projects. Mall owners are meeting Wednesday with MRA to discuss the plan.
MRA has presented its desire to extend the district’s life, but the City Council has yet to act on the request. However, most council members have spoken in favor of the district and giving it more time to fully develop.
The City Council also approved claims of $275,687.63 for checks dated June 30, and $747,984.20 for checks dated July 7.