Property manager says housing initiative isn't needed


POSTED: 10:38 PM Dec 11 2012

A Missoula property manager says a recent initiative announced by the city of Missoula and the University of Montana that would add 1,000 new rental units to the market isn’t needed.

Missoula Mayor John Engen made a case for the Quality of Life initiative at a joint press conference Monday with UM.

"We don't have enough affordable, safe descent housing in Missoula, and we don't have enough, in particular, for students,” said Engen. “So we are making a commitment - the university, ASUM, and the city - to create some of that housing."

Rick Wilcomb, owner of Garden City Property Management, said he isn’t opposed to measures that would improve the safety of rental units, but he said he doesn’t believe the city has a housing shortage.

"We're running as high a vacancy as we have in 10 or 15 years. I think the other management companies are doing the same thing,” said Wilcomb. "I know the university enrollment's down. I don't think Missoula is growing a lot. I just don't see the need for suddenly throwing a thousand rentals on the market, or the logistics of putting up a thousand rentals."

A group of advisors will begin meeting soon to develop plans for the initiative.