Old Sawmill District developers announce new condo project

The developers of the Old Sawmill District in Missoula have announced that they’re going to construct two new three-story condominium buildings as the next phase of the neighborhood. Completion of the project, called Warehouse Flats, is expected in late 2024.

The two buildings will contain a combined 19 condo units, and each one will either be a loft-style studio or a one-bedroom.

The developers, Ed and Leslie Wetherbee, have built a variety of housing and commercial projects in the district, located near Silver Park on Wyoming Street.

They say their goal with this newest phase is to offer housing products at an “attainable price point.”

The condos will be selling for a base price of about $450,000.

“Warehouse Flats serves to provide a housing option that will be attractive to first-time home buyers and geared toward Missoula’s workforce, those possibly looking for a Missoula ‘landing’ spot, or investors looking for income property,” said Ed Wetherbee. “It provides another ownership option in Old Sawmill District, one that leans toward a younger demographic, encouraging the growth of a diverse group of residents in the neighborhood.”

The condos will be sold at a base level of finish with buyers able to upgrade or add certain finish styles.

The two buildings will be built side-by-side at the far west end of the Old Sawmill District on the north side of Wyoming Street, closer to the Clark Fork River. Each unit will be about 800 square feet, and there will be a ground-level parking garage.

So far in 2023, the median home sales price in Missoula is about $535,000.

“We are excited to bring a new product to the market that will help make homeownership more attainable,” said Leslie Wetherbee, co-developer and listing broker for the project.

The units will not allow short-term nightly rentals like Airbnb, but a limited number of owners may rent their units for a minimum of three-month leases. Pets will be allowed with limitations for safety and enjoyment.

The Wetherbees said the exterior of the buildings has been designed to reflect a “warehouse feel” with large industrial-looking windows and a brick and metal exterior.

The Old Sawmill District was once an abandoned sawmill industrial area. It was remediated with the help of Tax Increment Financing. Other projects in the district include a student housing complex, luxury apartments, commercial office space, restaurants, condos and an affordable housing project called Sweetgrass Commons.

Over $100 million worth of capital has been spent on the area to date, according to the Wetherbees.

Missoula is in the midst of a severe affordable housing crunch, with many developers choosing to build housing units at the high-end of the price range due to high construction costs. Wages paid to workers in Missoula have not kept pace with housing prices over much of the last decade.