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Downtown Missoula just got 139 new, sorely needed public parking spots as business growth and new construction eat up more slots.

The Missoula Parking Commission has opened the new ROAM Parking Garage at 305 E. Front Street, located beneath the new ROAM Student Living building. It was originally expected to be completed last year, but interim parking director Tiffany Brander said construction delays on the large project pushed the opening until now.

“Construction is a process,” Brander said, “and with a project this large, there are bound to be delays. All the parties involved worked diligently to achieve an opening date that was as early as possible while ensuring the proper measures were taken to produce a safe and efficient garage.”

The garage includes 49 hourly-pay parking spots and 90 public spaces for monthly lease. With hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new investment going on in downtown Missoula, including the planned opening of new hotels, parking is at a premium in the area.

“We are very excited the garage is open,” Brander said. “We think it will go a long way in relieving congestion in the area.”

In 2016, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency’s board of commissioners approved the purchase of the garage from Farran Realty Partners for $3.2 million using Tax Increment Financing. The MRA’s staff said at the time the money will be paid back by $300,000 in annual property taxes generated by the new ROAM student housing project. The site used to be an abandoned parking lot, and the increase in property taxes generated by the new project will go to the MRA’s coffers since it lies within the Front Street Urban Renewal district.

Chris Behan, the assistant director of the MRA, said the original plans called for the city to get 150 public spots. However, the way it was finally striped and the addition of handicapped spaces pushed that number down to 139. 

A second floor of parking spaces is reserved for the people living in the ROAM building.

The fee schedule and hours of operation will mirror those of both the Park Place and Central Park garages downtown, where the first hour of parking is always free and subsequent hours are $1 each. The structure is gated 24 hours a day, but there is no fee to park outside the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Parking is also free on weekends and federal holidays.

The monthly lease rate is $85. To inquire about a lease space, call the Parking Commission at 552-6250.

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