New complex will house nearly 500 students in Missoula’s downtown

Nearly 500 college students could soon move into Missoula’s downtown area, with the first wave moving in next month.

Roam Student Living is one of 30 new businesses in downtown. It’s a private, off-campus apartment complex marketed primarily toward students. It has 168 apartment units capable of housing 488 people. It has a courtyard, study areas, and it will be dog friendly.

It will also have four retail spaces at street level, including a First Care, and two levels for parking -- one for tenants, the other for the public that will be run by the Missoula Parking Commission.

"Housing in downtown is really a high demand. And we don't have a lot of great options for folks, especially in that affordable range, so this is a really new and different project for our community," said Linda McCarthy, executive director of the Downtown Missoula Partnership.

A couple people downtown were skeptical the apartments are something the average college student can afford.

The going rate is $899 per month for a one-bedroom unit and $550 per month for one bedroom in a four-bedroom unit.

"The hope is that it fills up. We're doing really well. We're ahead of schedule in terms of preleasing, and it is a market rate apartment, so anyone, in terms of Missoula resident, can live there,” said Will Greenway, vice president of development for Farran Realty Partners.

He says they have 50 percent of the building leased so far.

Many wonder what the addition of nearly 500 students will bring to the downtown area. McCarthy says it will be a good thing.

"It's a perfect project for our downtown community. They're going to be right here. We'll have more eyes and ears on the streets. More people, you know, moving around and using our downtown services," she said.

The Farran Group said their location off Front Street and Clay Street is prime.

"You have the brand new library that's going to go in, a renovation occurring at the Double Tree Hotel, the Merc, the Riverfront Triangle, as we all know, downtown Missoula is essentially exploding right now, and Front Street itself is really taking off," said Greenway.

The numbers show that downtown is exploding. McCarthy said there are $850 million in investments in Missoula’s downtown right now. Roam is a $38 million chunk of that.

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