Kalispell approves eight-story parking garage project

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A proposal to build an eight-story, $9.2 million parking garage with 78 multi-family units and commercial space moves forward in Kalispell after City Council Oct. 3 approved multiple resolutions and a conditional use permit who will support the project, despite the opposition of some residents and merchants.

The board passed a developer agreement and transfer of two city-owned properties on Third Street West and Main Street and the southeast corner of First Street West and First Avenue West to the developer, Montana Hotel Development Partners LLC. He also approved a lease of a parking structure and a conditional use permit that will allow the height of the parking garage to exceed 60 feet.

In an 8-to-1 vote, the Developer’s Agreement and the two Land Transfer Resolutions passed with Councilman Ryan Hunter in opposition. The conditional use permit and the rental contract are adopted unanimously.

The 242-space parking structure will be built in the Eagles’ current parking lot at the southeast corner of West First Street and West First Avenue, part of a multimillion-dollar project by 86,000 square feet called Charles Hotel. which will be built at the corner of Third Street West and Main Street.

The hotel will generate significant tax revenue for the city. While the parking lot will be fully funded and built by the developer, the city will reimburse the cost of the properties using TIF funds generated from hotel revenue.

Although nearly all Councilors supported the project, Councilor Hunter did not support the details of the developer agreement or the land transfers.

“I could support a developer deal, having a new hotel and downtown accommodations is great, but I just can’t support this developer deal because of the amount of unnecessary government subsidies given to the developer,” said Hunter.

Several members of the public, including residents, business owners and employees of nonprofit organizations, spoke out against the project, who said the proposal was rushed, there was little public involvement and that the architectural design would ruin the historic character of Kalispell. Many were also concerned that the additional density of hotels and housing would reduce total parking, despite the addition of the parking garage.

Charles Hotel. Rendered courtesy of A&E Design

Employees of the Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana (CAPNM) said the construction of the Charles Hotel, which is near the nonprofit, will disrupt services and leave staff and guests nowhere to go. to park.

“We operate a large number of services, we serve more than 5,000 households a year, and many households are disabled and disabled or elderly,” said CAPNM Executive Director Tracy Diaz. “We will lose our disabled parking spaces to the Charles during construction.”

Diaz was also frustrated because she said CAPNM “was never part of the discussion.”

Bill Goldberg, owner of Compass Construction and one of the development partners of Montana Hotel Developers, applauded city staff for their work on the public-private partnership and reiterated that the public has many opportunities to participate in discussions. since the proposal was submitted to the city last year.

“You’ve had these meetings for a while now and hearing some people say they weren’t invited to the meetings shocked me,” Goldberg said.

“It’s an open door,” he added. “Yes, I have a direct interest for my project and for my investors but it is also for the city of Kalispell. The platform has been established for quite some time to have these discussions. We opened the door several times for several groups.

Other members of the public criticized the design of the parking garage.

“Eight stories taller than any other downtown structure and doesn’t match the character of downtown,” said John Hinchey, a Kalispell resident who has restored historic buildings in the city.

“I am also opposed to the use of TIF funds for the benefit of a private developer,” he added.

Principal Planner PJ Sorensen said that although the site is located in the downtown historic district, it is outside the Main Street Historic District and said the design meets architectural review standards.

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