Construction challenges could push back affordable housing

Bret Anne Serbin

Delays caused by temperamental construction conditions threaten the largest permanently affordable housing ownership project in Missoula history.

On Wednesday, Kiah Hochstetler with Goodworks Ventures said the Ravara affordable housing project in Missoula’s Northside neighborhood might not get underway until next spring. Developers originally planned to kick off the project this fall.

“The supply chain issues and labor shortages, combined with our construction season, means this could be pushed out. We could move from the fall to the spring start date pretty easily,” said Hochstetler.

“Making sure that we’re getting appropriate pricing might cause a delay as well because everyone is so constrained at this time,” he added.

The development, located on Scott Street, includes plans to build 74 townhome and condominium units using a community land trust model, in which homeowners own their houses while a land trust leases the land beneath them. The project would also have 240 to 250 market-rate units.

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Utilizing a community land trust would allow those homes to sell for prices well below market rate. A cap on the amount of equity the homes can build guarantees their long-term affordability.

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