In reversal, RiverView workforce housing project receives $6.49 million award

MT Board of Housing changes course after additional IRS allocation

Updated Dec. 1, 2021 3:34p.m.

In a reversal from their Oct. 18 decision, the Montana Board of Housing awarded $6.49 mil-lion dollars of low income tax credits to the Big Sky Commu-nity Housing Trust (BSCHT) for the RiverView Apartment 

workforce housing project in Big Sky on Nov. 15. The Board of Housing last awarded a project in Big Sky in 1998.
The 100-unit RiverView development, which will be built across the street from Ace Hardware on the old American Bank property, is a collabora-tion between BSCHT and the Lone Mountain Land Company
(LMLC). The idea for the project began in January 2021. 

"In total, LMLC has contributed about $45 million dollars to the RiverView Apartment project," ac- cording to BSCHT Executive Director Laura Seyfang. According to LMLC media representative AshLee Strong The developer won't establish a leasing plan until the development is much further along, closer to early 2023.  These numbers vary slightly from BSCHT’s infographic on their
website stating: “75% reserved for local employers to lease for their workers “and “25% reserved for local workers who meet income qualifications.”

 Cheryl Cohen, the Executive Director for the Montana Board of Housing, explained the River-View Apartment project was not awarded $6.49 million earlier this fall because board members did not identify RiverView as a top four project. A few weeks after the Oct. 18 deadline, the state of Montana received $29.75 million tax cred-its from the IRS for the Montana Board of Housing. “We found out we would be receiving a bit more in credits and [could] fully fund an additional project,” explained Cohen.

 A few weeks after the Oct. 18 deadline, the seven Montana Board of Housing members met for their monthly meeting and voted on the RiverView Apartment project to receive $6.49 million in low income tax
credits. This was in part due to the overwhelming public sup-port including 10 positive letters from the Big Sky community. The $6.49 million award for RiverView makes it the largest award of the year from the Mon-
tana Board of Housing—rough-ly 21% of total funding. 

Asked what were the factors that led to this decision, Cohen explained, “I cannot speak to the board members' discretion. Some of the factors they consid-er: the frequency of past awards in the area, geographic distri-bution, strength of development team, community support of the projects, effective use of units, and cost per unit.” There was zero negative feedback from the Big Sky community on the RiverView project according to Cohen.

 By accepting an award from the Montana Board of Housing, the RiverView Apartment units will be exclusively reserved for workforce housing and  oni-
tored for a variety of complianc-es over the next 15 to 30 years. “Once the [RiverView] project is built they are required to lease the housing with income re-strictions and maintain the unit rents at the max allowed levels for the program. We monitor the project for those complianc-es... And we go out every three years to check on the project,” explained Cohen.

 In terms of the next steps for the RiverView Apartment project, Seyfang explained the development team will get to-gether to meet and try to solve a $2 million dollar funding gap—she explained the $6.49 million does not cover 100% of the project. Lone Mountain Land Company, who has contribut-ed roughly $45 million to the RiverView Apartment project, is also currently wrapping up the approximately $400 million dol-lar luxury Montage Hotel at the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club. 

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