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Developers say new Missoula apartments fit growing demand

By Emily Adamson, KECI Reporter, eadamson@keci.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:17:58 AM MST
Updated On: Sep 03 2013 09:48:20 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Close to 300 new apartment units are going up in Missoula and some say the market will demand more.  

Two separate multiplexes are under construction on Russell Street. 224 units are going up in seven separate buildings called Corso. The Farran Group’s Jim McLeod said the location is key.

“We're within a mile and a half of St. Patrick Hospital, downtown Missoula and the University of Montana,” McLeod said. “And with the Milwaukee Trail extension going down the river it was just an ideal location for us.”

And just south of there, also on Russell, 58 other units in the works.  

According to data from the Western Montana Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers, on average the vacancy rate for multiplexes like these is about five percent -- that’s for studio, one- and two-bedrooms.  That means 95 percent of those available are occupied.

“You're seeing growth in a community when you're at 5 percent,” McLeod said.

So what does it mean for current property managers? Some of them said they've seen this before when newer, bigger complexes come to town and that often they have to lower rent to compete. But they said that's usually temporary. So as long as the population and the economy in Missoula continue to grow it won't have a devastating impact.

In fact some say current constructions is only a small part of what Missoula will need.

“The city of Missoula in the last two years has grown approximately 2.3 percent,” said McLeod. “Our project will help add more to the housing stock. But there's going to need to be additional housing to keep up with that demand.”