Real estate developer Brian Walker received approval this week to convert a former lumber-storage warehouse in Missoula, Mont., to self-storage, despite the council’s desire that the structure be used for residential purposes. The property at 2115 Johnson St. is zoned community commercial and required a special-use permit for the storage use, according to the source.
The plans include the construction of 275 units inside the 13,800-square-foot building. Walker also agreed to make external improvements, including updates to the façade, and the addition of new landscaping and a sidewalk around the property.
Missoula City Councilmember John DiBari said that while he appreciates the enhancements, a storage facility isn’t the “highest and best use” for the site, which is across from Montana Rail Link Park, a 4.5-acre parcel under development that will include a playground, picnic shelter and community gardens.
Councilwoman Gwen Jones also would prefer that the storage facility be developed elsewhere, saying the location near adjacent neighborhoods, a school and bus routes ideal for residential development. “I hope that the reuse of this building doesn’t preclude residential going in some years down the road,” she said.
Although Walker had originally planned to remove the site’s chain-link fencing, he’ll leave for now after neighbors expressed concerns about the property’s safety, the source reported. The site will be unmanned and employ video cameras.
Walker has developed three other self-storage facilities, the source reported.
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