Ravara and the city of Missoula team up for new Scott Street project

MISSOULA – One of the driving forces behind a unique development planned for the Northside neighborhood of Missoula continues to assemble the parts needed to complete the estimated $ 60 million project.

Goodworks Ventures, founded 14 years ago to invest in businesses that create well-paying jobs, took the housing shortage in Missoula under its wing and formed Ravara Development LLC with a team of like-minded partners.

Together they are work to develop a 9-acre property off Scott Street in partnership with the City of Missoula, making this a unique public-private effort to address one of Missoula’s most pressing problems – housing.

“Last fall, when this all started to fall into place, we saw housing as a major issue,” said Kiah Hochstetler, COO of Goodworks Ventures. “This is our first attempt at development and we knew we needed good partners. “

The city bought the 19-acre plot in 2020 for around $ 6.3 million and approved a deal with Ravara in 2021 to develop 9 acres. The sale agreement with Ravara depends on the planning process, material costs and the continued participation of the project’s main investor, Goodworks Ventures.

Goodworks plays the role of master developer.

“We’re building something for the community that people want to use in the neighborhood,” Hochstetler said. “There is a communication from the neighborhood that they don’t want cheap and junky development, but also they don’t want upscale. They want it to be quality, but not just throw up housing. “

As proposed, approximately 6 acres of land in the development is set aside for labor housing and will include a variety of affordable housing in several forms. Plans could see up to 240 units developed during this phase, as well as enough retail outlets to serve the larger neighborhood.

This could include things like a grocery store, food court, daycare and other services, Hochstetler said.

Another 3 acres will be donated to a community land trust and developed into 70 permanently affordable housing units. The model has been implemented in other parts of Missoula and allows households to own their own housing while the land trust retains the land.

The result lowers the cost to the owner of the unit, making homes more accessible.

“We work with Long distance design for the market rate and the trading side, ”Hochstetler said. “We haven’t identified all the parties to deliver the community land trust portion. But through that, there is a myriad of different fundings that we are working with to make it happen. “

Funding for land trust development could include an impact-driven investor interested in the Missoula Opportunity Zone, as well as established organizations building housing. The property is also in one of Missoula’s urban renewal neighborhoods, meaning that the tax increase funding could be used for infrastructure needs.

Habitat for Humanity could also play a role.

“This is a unique opportunity to bring 70 skilled income units to workers in Missoula through the community land trust. The city asked us to deliver these units at 100% to 120% of the region’s median income, ”Hochstetler said.

“For the multifamily and commercial side, it is about creating a neighborhood space in the city center that provides services to an underserved place.”

Earlier this month, the city and Goodworks Ventures, along with other project partners, hosted an open house to showcase development progress and collect community feedback.

As expected, concerns about traffic, streets, park access and density were among the concerns. The Ravara project is one of many residential developments planned or underway in the region, which was identified in a recent master plan as a suitable location for infill development and new services.

The city has plans to improve the road network and called the open house “amazing”.

“There must have been between 50 and 70 citizens there in addition to the team working there. They did a great job of setting this up, ”said Ellen Buchanan, director of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency. “We have had excellent feedback and comments. This project is progressing very well. “

Hochstetler said Goodworks Ventures remains committed to the project.

“We have a team at Goodworks working on all of these different projects, and this was one of the ones that we felt was important for the community to be delivered,” he said. “The concern was that someone from the outside could come from outside who did not have the same values ​​and develop a project that worked but was not optimal.

A second open house is scheduled for August 19 and the site plan will be finalized in September.

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