Missoula Redevelopment Agency Votes Today To Buy A $675,000 Property For $1.1 Million Dollars

by William Skink

Today people you didn’t elect are going to vote on whether or not spend $1.1 million dollars of your money on a motel that was listed for $675,000 six years ago.

And, on top of that, our shady Mayor has once again seemingly done his best to conceal the city’s actions surrounding this deal.

This is coming out thanks to a letter penned by three ELECTED council members who are trying to get critical information out to the public before our limited resources are used to purchase a property for hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price of six years ago.

Here is a portion of the letter:

We are writing as three elected officials representing three wards of the City of Missoula. We are kindly asking you not to approve the purchase of the Sleepy Inn Motel until full details have been determined and digested by ELECTED officials and the citizens of Missoula. We personally see this as an example of “never letting a good crisis going to waste”. After much research, we have not yet seen any evidence of any municipality in the United States using the COVID-19 crisis to purchase a hotel/motel. We have seen many examples of municipalities renting or leasing hotels/motels, but never purchasing one during this crisis.

All signs point to COVID-19 hopefully ending in the next couple of months, meaning that the long-term effects and intentions of the Sleepy Inn Motel purchase are not that of COVID-19. Using this as an excuse to purchase something that would otherwise receive even more scrutiny is not acceptable; especially since it was buried as an address that was buried in Claims that was buried in the Consent Agenda during our historic first-ever virtual City Council meeting.

We need to see commercial estimates by commercial appraisers. This hotel was listed six years ago for $675,000 dollars. At the time the owner was so desperate to get rid of it that they were offering owner financing on it. This price is close to half of what the city is now paying for it after 6 years of wear and tear in the middle of an economic depression. It is also worth noting that the taxable value of the hotel is roughly 400k less than the value the MRA plans to spend. It is our strong recommendation that the City gets at least two commercial appraisals. We do not know if a commercial appraisal has been completed on the property and we do not know if the tax dollars (that we supposedly preside over) are being spent wisely or appropriately.

What the hell is going on here? Who came up with the $1.1 million price tag if the property was listed for essentially half that six years ago?

Mayor Engen appears to be “burying” what he plans to do with the public’s money so his handpicked sycophants at the Missoula Redevelopment Agency can vote on this expenditure of TIF money before the public knows the details.

Are you ok with that Missoula?

While people are locked down, stressed out and wondering how the hell they are going to survive our Mayor continues his shady schemes with even less scrutiny.

The Mayor won’t stop doing this shit until he’s removed from office. He’s an alcoholic who spent years hiding the extent of his problem with alcohol from his peers and from the public. The Mayor didn’t start dealing with his addiction until he was confronted by friends and put on a plane for inpatient rehab in Oregon.

Mayor Engen doesn’t seem capable of acting in a forthright, transparent manner when it comes to the financial stewardship of the public’s resources. I hope you’re paying attention, Missoula, and in 2021, please, vote for ABE (anyone but Engen).

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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9 Responses to Missoula Redevelopment Agency Votes Today To Buy A $675,000 Property For $1.1 Million Dollars

  1. JC says:

    And folks need to remember that the Sleepy Inn was already the (temporary or periodic) residence to many of Missoula’s economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals, who could stay there for the duration of whatever assistance check, meager wage, or gift would allow them to.

    Where are those folks going to move to, now? Typical Missoula move to disenfranchise more people than they help, with every development project undertook or allowed for private developers.

    Maybe Missoula City/County should rescind their growing anti-homeless sleeping in cars on public property laws or tent camping within city limits? Setup public camping spaces on public property with nicely designated and social distanced plots with ports potties and dumpsters and clean water? Or are we going see burgeoning homeless camps chock full of crowded squalor, crime and disease?

    We’re entering a recession the likes of which most of Missoula’s current residents have never seen. Maybe some public debate, leadership and planning for how to deal with burgeoning homelessness and lack of jobs among our community’s most vulnerable?

  2. TC says:

    Don’t worry – Mayor John Engen recently stated that he led us successfully though a recession (2008) – He’s got this!!! Yep – from 2008 to current; Missoula has mortgaged its future, tried to market itself as a resort town, placed its entire existence into Tourism (wannabe Boulder) and seen its income equality make it more expensive relatively than San Francisco.
    Yep – Big Jovial John got this!!! Im sure Missoula will be even better after we get out of Covid. Trust Engen – he has done this/got it!

  3. james says:

    do they have inflation in the real estate market in montana?? i know they do where i live..

    james from moa..

    • howdy James, glad you stopped by. Missoula’s housing prices have been skyrocketing for years for a lot of reasons. geographically we are surrounded by mountains, so there there or physical limits to growth, which makes land very pricey. then you have this inland migration of wealth fleeing western states like California because housing is worse there than here.

      • james says:

        thanks william.. regarding your response, wouldn’t that explain some of the jump in the value of the sleepy inn motel then?? i put the spot on a google map search and it looks like a central location.. i have never been to missoula, but i have wanted to visit the place! the last time i was in montana was 1992.. i was travelling west along hwy 2 that went thru places like havre and selby on thru the blackfoot first nation reserve.. i recall some one playing a game of chicken with me on the hwy headed into idaho!! i don’t know if that is a regular thing going thru blackfoot reservation! the migrant phenom of californians moving and headed north has been ongoing for some time.. i think many have moved into seattle, portland and etc. etc. too.. one day i will visit your area..

        • yeah, it does explain some of the jump, but if the Mayor wants the public to get the best price it could, why not be more transparent about how they came up with the price tag?

          for a million dollars and change the city will own a nasty, run down motel that will probably need to be scraped, and what will be built will be some subsidized development scam.

          if you do get a chance to visit you should. Herr Engen hasn’t completely gentrified the soul out of this valley.

  4. Tony Cate says:

    FYI – Hoping you just saw the story on KECI stating Engen signed the papers for the Sleep Easy 3 days prior to it being voted on (approved) by Council/MRA. Betting he will claim that the recent Council move to make unilateral decisions gives him the ability to make deals like this. As if we couldn’t all see that abuse of power coming.
    And again, despite the company line this deal has little or nothing to do with Covid. It a move towards more gentrification! Next line to the gullible will be that City underestimated the work needed to make habitable and it will be months and $$$ before they can bring on line

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