Firm proposes affordable family housing unit


A Missoula corporation is hoping to build a 30-unit affordable apartment complex behind Albertson’s, which would be called Stower Commons.

Housing Solutions founder Alex Burkhalter explained his plans to the Miles City Council Tuesday night.

Burkhalter has worked 10 years at providing affordable housing and has been involved in 14 projects in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming. That equates to 561 apartment homes.

He started Housing Solutions in 2012, and the corporation has worked on housing projects in Kalispell, Missoula and Glendive. 

He works on both family- and senior-style apartments. He’s looking at family apartments for Miles City.

Burkhalter said finding funding to build affordable housing is always a challenge, but he is looking at the federal Housing Tax Credits program, which funds more than 90 percent of the affordable rentals in the country. 

It is administered by the Montana Board of Housing.

“It’s been successful. It is a public-private partnership,” he said of the tax program.

The Miles City housing would be for those families that make at or less than 60 percent of the area median income.

For Custer County, 60 percent of the AMI for a family of four would be $34,860.

“I’ve been looking at Miles City for three years,” he said.

He believes that a Miles City project has a good chance for funding because it has not received money from the program since 2006, with the Cornerstone project.

That was a remodeling project, and Miles City has never received Housing Tax Credits for new construction. 

The plans for Miles City involve 3 one-bedroom, one-bath apartments; 18 two-bedroom and two-baths; and 9 three-bedroom, two-baths.

Each would have a patio or balcony and all standard appliances, air conditioning and heating. Each unit would have washers and dryers.

There will be a community room with a kitchen that can be used for gatherings, like birthday parties, and there will be covered parking and a children’s play area.

Burkhalter wanted to touch base with the council to let them know his plans. Then he will return in August and ask for a letter of support, as he prepares his application for funding. In November he will know if he received the funding to move forward.

If he’s successful, he expects the construction to begin in April and be completed in March 2016.

Mayor Butch Grenz said affordable housing is “extremely needed” here.

The land is on the corner of Moorehead Avenue and Stower Street, on the former Kosty property and is zoned agricultural, so it would have to be rezoned before building begins.