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Kalispell hotel closure means uncertainty for residents struggling with housing costs

Residents at the Fairbridge Inn in Kalispell move out on Feb. 11, 2022. The hotel is being renovated into apartment units and displacing some long-term residents.
Aaron Bolton
/
Montana Public Radio
Residents at the Fairbridge Inn in Kalispell move out on Feb. 11, 2022. The hotel is being renovated into apartment units and displacing some long-term residents.

A Kalispell hotel slated to be renovated into studio apartments is displacing a number of long-term residents and families. Some found housing in the nick of time as the hotel shut its doors Friday.

Residents like Shannon Baumgardner, who's loading her four-year-old daughter Rose's bed into the back seat of her car.

Rose is enthusiastically helping. But Baumgardner has been stressed after receiving a notice last month that the Fairbridge Inn had been sold to a developer so that it could be remodeled into 250 market-rate studio apartments — which many residents here couldn’t afford. A local homeless shelter says it’s preparing to house some of the displaced residents.

“I’ve got two daughters and we were looking at homelessness," Baumgardner said. "I found an RV camper to rent, for a temporary.”

She found that RV five days before she had to move out. Baumgardner and other residents also received a surprise $10,000 check from a local venture capitalist who learned about the situation. Baumgardner and other residents say while it’s helping them get ahead for now, they worry about what the future holds as the Flathead Valley’s housing market only gets tighter and more expensive.

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