Historic Howard Apartments back in familiar hands

Posted by Jessica Mayrer on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Several investors with dreams of snatching up the historic Howard Apartment Building at 147 W. Main Street in the wake of a foreclosure proceeding gathered at the base of the Missoula County Courthouse steps Wednesday morning. When the auctioneer asked if anyone was willing to bid above the minimum $903,296 asking price, the small crowd stayed mum. Apparently, they couldn’t stomach covering the tab on the 120-year-old structure that has fallen into disrepair.

Outgoing owner Steve Wall purchased the Howard years ago from Horton Howard, a part-time Missoula resident who christened the building in his name in 1991. But Wall fell behind on payments to Horton and the former owner went ahead with foreclosure proceedings.

But with no bids during the trustee sale, the Howard, which houses the Mo Club, The Rhino and about 70 apartments, will now revert back to Horton’s ownership.

It remains to be seen if Horton will spruce up the Howard. The tall white building at the corner of Main and Ryman streets was built in 1891 and originally served as the Kennedy Hotel, one of several built in Missoula around the turn of the century to accommodate travelers increasingly arriving by train.

Chauncey Woodworth Photographs, K. Ross Toole Archives, The University of Montana—Missoula

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I've lived in the Howard's before and to call it substandard is giving it a little to much credit. However, I'm glad one of these developers didn't snatch it up and convert it into another yuppie-friendly condo complex (a la the Wilma) as part of the MDA/Chamber of Commerce's ominous anti-democratic "Downtown Master Plan". Substandard or not, those units are at least some of the only affordable ones downtown, and they beat the hell out of a stairwell when it comes to places poor folks can sleep in wintertime.

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Posted by CCopeland313 on 01/21/2010 at 4:50 PM
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