City Touts ‘The Rowe’ Condos as Affordable Housing for Missoula
The Rowe Condominiums are a public/private partnership that secures the current and future use and sale price of eight one-bedroom homes that are set aside for purchase by households earning up to $68,640 a year.
KGVO News visited one of the 1-bedroom condos along with City of Missoula Mayor Jordan Hess and developer Tyler Eisenzimmer with PureWest Real Estate on Thursday afternoon.
The City and the Developer were able to Come Together on the Project
Eisenzimmer described ‘The Rowe’ concept.
“This is called The Rowe with part of the city in the MMC DC,” began Eisenzimmer. “We had 20 percent of the build as affordable housing units, and so we are currently in Unit 204 of The Row. It was 120 percent of the AMI for Missoula’s median income, and Individual households had to have right around $68,000 for income. So this is a one-bedroom unit with a little over 500 square feet. There are quartz countertops, GE appliances, and all the same materials that we used in the main building with The Reed are all in here as well. Something like this could easily be in the $300,000 plus range if it was in the regular market.”
Mayor Jordan Hess Stopped in to Explain how the Project Developed
Mayor Jordan Hess was also part of the entourage that toured the 500-square-foot condo.
“This was a really exciting project,” said Mayor Hess. “When this came about I was chairperson of the land use planning committee on the City Council and the project applicant came to us looking for the vacated right of way. Of course, that was something that provided them a benefit, and we were able to get these affordable housing units as a benefit in exchange.”
Hess said even though the project was challenging, all the parties were able to get it done and sold.
“It was a ‘win-win’,” he said. “It made their project work and it provided us with several income-qualified units that made the project and provided a public benefit to the city residents as well. So this is the first time we were able to do this. It was innovative; it was challenging and it was great to build and to get it done.”
Mayor Hess is Hoping More Affordable Housing can be Developed
Hess said this was an unusual project, but he hopes the model can be used more often for Missoula.
“It was a really specific model that we were able to apply here,” he said. “We've used this as a case study for a lot of other types of projects. We don't have inclusionary zoning in the State of Montana, and we're not able to require this sort of thing very often. But this type of exchange, particularly with the right of way vacation, gave us a really unique opportunity.”
All the units are pre-sold, and owners are moving in as this article is being written.