Old Normal Affordable Housing Schemes And The People Making Money On It

by William Skink

Are you excited about the latest Missoula city land purchase in an Urban Renewal District enhanced with Trump Opportunity Zone sweetener for investors seeking to avoid capital gains taxes as they dump stocks artificially propped up by perpetual central bank intervention?

Yeah, me to.

Here is the sweet $6.6 million land buy:

City officials moved forward with a plan to purchase roughly 19 acres in the Northside neighborhood along Scott Street with an eye toward developing residential housing and perhaps commercial services in the future.

On Monday, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency’s board approved a proposal to purchase the property through the issuance of roughly $6.6 million worth of Tax Increment Financing Revenue Bonds. The Missoula City Council has to approve any land acquisition by the city and the issuance of bonds, so they’ll meet at a future date to consider the proposal.

I am again confronted with the bubble thinking of our local braintrust as they operate from their alternate reality where OLD NORMAL development patterns persist.

Perhaps commercial services in the future? How far off in the future are these visionaries planning for? Because I suspect there is going to be plenty of available commercial/retail space available as the ripple effects of lockdowns really start emerging in local markets.

The article has some history on the site and the owner, Michael Stevenson. I believe this is the same Michael Stevenson who is a principal with the Bannack Group.

At the link you can read about the team at Bannack Group, like James McCray. Here’s some background from his bio:

Jim McCray is a Principal for the Bannack Group. He has extensive experience and knowledge in national fundraising and development. McCray is also a Managing Partner at Highwood Capital – a national political, business, and 501(c)(4) nonprofit consulting firm headquartered in Washington D.C.

Previously, McCray served as the Deputy National Finance Director for John McCain’s presidential campaign, where he actively managed a 50-state finance strategy. Prior to a brief stint at the National Republican Senatorial Committee running the major donor program, McCray served on the Senior Staff of U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) as General Counsel and as a Strategic Advisor for the Senator’s reelection campaign. McCray actively advised the Senator on legislative strategy and served as a principal liaison to industry groups. McCray developed deep connections with the majority of the Republican Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Senators, and he established significant contacts nationally with industries across the board. McCray has set historic fundraising records in Montana, Kansas, Utah and North Dakota.

Before working for Senator Burns, McCray practiced corporate law in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the international law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP and in Washington, D.C. at the law firm of Dow Lohnes & Albertson, PLLC in the areas of Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity/Finance – advising senior corporate executives, management teams and boards of directors on corporate governance, acquisition guidance, and private equity and venture capital financing arrangements.

McCray and Stevenson are also both involved in Highwood Capital, which describes itself like this:

Highwood Capital is a national political and business consulting firm specializing in solutions for business, political, and non-profit entities. The typical client cycle involves the formulation and execution of a strategic campaign to influence stakeholder and/or public opinion, enhance brand awareness, raise funds from national sources/investors, develop new business relationships, or a combination thereof.

Our consultants have extensive experience and knowledge with Government Relations, Message/Crisis Communications, Legal and Political Strategy, Political Finance/Fundraising Strategy and Campaign Finance Law.

Highwood Capital actively advises U.S. Senators, Governors, national business coalitions, non-profit organizations, and corporations.

I hope we got a good assessment on the value of this property.

The guy who did the assessment is Kraig Kosena. From the earlier link:

Buchanan said the property was appraised earlier this year by local appraiser Kraig Kosena, and a buy/sell agreement was negotiated with the owners last December.

Has this Kraig Kosena ever been involved in assessing land for a big city project before? Why, of course, and guess which project it was.

If you guessed the Riverfront Triangle project, pat yourself on the back. From the link:

Engen said Monday the appraiser evaluated the land three different ways. Kraig Kosena, with Kembel, Kosena and Co., separately appraised two parcels along the river. Then, he appraised them together.

The southeastern site, which would accommodate a performing arts center, came in at nearly $2 million. The adjacent southwestern site came in at $1.36 million. The two sites together came in at $2.7 million, which is less than the total, but Engen said it’s typical that splitting the sites increases their value.

The OLD NORMAL is alive and well in Bubble Land. If you think they will willingly change their ways, just recall what it took at address our Mayor’s alcohol problem: an INTERVENTION.

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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