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An architectural rendering of the new U-Global student housing project that is under construction at the Old Sawmill District on Wyoming Street in Missoula.

The city of Missoula saw a huge surge in residential and commercial construction in the past three months, making up for a relatively sluggish start to the year and setting an unprecedented six-month pace.

In the first half of 2017, the city’s Development Services office issued 789 building permits for projects with a total market value of construction of $130.8 million. At this time last year, which was a record-breaking year of growth, there had been 742 building permits worth a total of $108.3 million.

The city still has a long way to go to break last year’s record of $248.7 million worth of new construction, but it could easily happen at the current rate.

The two largest residential projects were the $13 million, 213-bedroom U-Global student housing project, which was approved and broke ground recently at the Old Sawmill District, and the $11.6 million, 138-unit, five-building multifamily housing project called Halling Farms Apartments on West Mullan Road.

The U-Global project will consist of roughly 52 units of pod-style apartments, each with four bedrooms with private bathrooms, a common living area, kitchen and washer and dryer. There’ll be underground parking, an outdoor courtyard space and a fourth-floor clubhouse style social room that walks out onto a rooftop deck.

Other big projects included the $3 million, 16-unit Polleys Square Building D condos, a $2.7 million multifamily apartment building on Hickory Street and a new $3.6 million Garden City Plumbing and Heating headquarters on Flynn Lane.

Government buildings also comprised a huge amount of the new construction. The Hellgate High School addition and remodel is a $19.1 million project, and the remodel of the University of Montana’s Liberal Arts building is worth $1.7 million.

Development Services director Mike Haynes said that although he doesn’t have a crystal ball, he expects the robust pace to continue.

“It’s not a straight line, so you never know how the next quarter is going to be for sure,” he said. “These numbers do depend on larger projects that come in. Those are the ones that move the needle. But we’ve seen a strong first half of the year. I’m not in the habit of making predictions, but we’ve got a lot of plans coming in and it’s looking like that should continue with a healthy pace.”

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