New apartments may open in spring

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The 40-unit affordable senior housing apartment building is expected to be ready for occupancy in May.

A once-vacant lot on East Center Street is bustling as construction crews work to finish Depot Place near downtown Kalispell.

Crews have been working into the evening and on weekends. The nearly $4 million, 40-unit affordable senior housing apartment building is rapidly taking shape.

Ground was broken for the project on Sept. 22.

“At this point, the shell is done and the guys are working hard to basically build 40 homes inside,” project manager Alex Burkhalter said. “We’re really happy with how the building is turning out. We think it will be a great anchor for that corner.”

Sparrow Group, a Missoula-based affordable housing firm that’s spearheading the building, is aiming to have it finished and open this spring. The same firm developed the Spring Creek Apartments off Appleway Drive in Kalispell.

“At least some of the landscaping will depend on the weather, but we hope to have folks living in there in May,” Burkhalter said.

Affordable housing tax credits from the Montana Board of Housing require the apartments to be open by year’s end, so the project is well ahead of schedule.

People interested in possibly moving into Depot Place are encouraged to call 756-1204.

“What we’re doing is collecting contact information for folks who are interested. It’s not a waiting list. We’re calling it an ‘interested’ list,” Burkhalter said. “When we think we’re about 45 to 60 days out from opening the doors we’ll give everyone a call to see if they’re still interested.”

Depot Place will offer one- and two-bedroom apartments for income-eligible people 55 are older. One person households must earn less than $23,280 a year and two-person households must earn less than $26,640 a year.

Rents vary based on income, but include all utilities except cable and telephone. They will range from $415 to $575 a month for one-bedroom units and $495 to $650 a month for two-bedroom units.

“We’ve had a lot of interest,” Burkhalter said. “We have about 60 people who have called and said they’re interested. We only have 40 units, but lots of things can happen and lives change so we wouldn’t want to discourage people from calling.”

Sparrow Group also will hire a part-time site manager at some point in the next few months. “With 40 units, I’d anticipate it would be 24 to 28 hours a week.”

The lot at East Center Street has enough room for a second apartment building if the first one does well.

“We need to get this one opened and leased up and stabilized and make sure all the investors and lenders are happy and comfortable,” Burkhalter said. “Then if it seems like there’s still a great demand and we’re full, then we’d pursue a second phase. That’s definitely an option.”

Reporter Tom Lotshaw may be reached at 758-4483 or by email at tlotshaw@dailyinterlake.com.

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