As tumultuous as 2020 has been, construction is still a booming industry in the Treasure Valley. In the next year, Boise will continue to raise its downtown skyline and begin construction on nearly 850 apartment units, including much-needed low income, elderly, and workforce housing.
This year has also brought movement on several much-anticipated projects, including a court ruling on contested luxury condos along the Boise River, restoration of the beloved Blues Bouquet building, and a groundbreaking for a new public park downtown.
Below you’ll find a detailed list of all the downtown Boise building projects to watch in 2021.
Idaho Central Credit Union Building
Status: Announced | 4th St and Idaho St | Downtown
This project will be an interesting one to keep an eye on, as nearby residents are fighting it hard and it seems city staff are also not in favor, at least for the time being. Boise’s Planning and Zoning members recently voted against allowing this 16-story mixed-use project to move forward. Developers Ball Ventures Ahlquist and Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU) could appeal the decision to the city council or resubmit their plans with a lower building height, addressing the main criticism of P&Z staff.
If the development is appealed and approved as-is, it will become one of the tallest buildings in Boise. The mixed-use building would include the credit union branch, office space, a medical clinic, condos, apartments and a parking garage.
Plans for the building have already changed once. The original building plan called for a 16-story tower along Bannock Street and a 9-story tower along Idaho Street, with a 460-space parking garage entering/exiting off Bannock. But when nearby residents complained about the increased traffic slated for Bannock, developers switched the towers’ locations. The reconfiguration also helped developers nearly double their number of rental units to 75.
8th and River
Status: Announced | 8th St and River St | Downtown
The downtown library will soon greet a new neighbor in the form of a 12-story senior living tower on the site of the former Foothills School of the Arts and Sciences.
The project, developed by Jordan-Wilcomb Construction Company and Global Senior Housing, is slated to accommodate retail and office space on the ground floor, along with four floors of much-needed parking – city staff are recommending the city purchase 200 stalls for public use, as the library’s current parking falls short of demand – and 160 apartments for adults aged 55 and older. Developers hope to break ground on the project in 2021 and complete it by 2023.
Status: Announced | Americana Blvd | Southwest of Downtown
A court battle threw this approved upscale condominium development into question last summer. While a judge has issued his ruling, the development is still in temporary limbo until the city council votes on the building’s height. Developers had originally asked for 83 feet; opposed residents had asked for a limit of 45 feet to preserve their views of downtown.
Developers Jayo Holdings and WHPacific plan on transforming an undeveloped 7.4-acre parcel southwest of downtown Boise, next to the Boise River, into a five-building gated complex with 304 units featuring luxurious amenities: 2,200-3,200 square feet of living space, gourmet kitchens, large decks, glass-view elevators and two-car garages, among others.
Grove Street Apartments
Status: Under Construction | Between 5th and 6th Streets and Grove St | Downtown
Downtown is about to get much-needed low-income and workforce housing thanks to two developments proposed by Clay Carley and partners.
Dubbed "The Lucy," a 6-story mixed-use building at 5th and Grove will feature nearly 8,000 feet of ground-floor retail space topped with five stories of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The developers have committed at least 50 of the 114 units to be workforce housing (defined as those making 120% of the area median income or below).
Joined by a courtyard, the 7-story apartment building at 6th and Grove will consist of 60 one- and two-bedroom apartments, 45 of which will be reserved for people who make between 30-60% of Ada County’s median income. In a nod to history, the apartment building will be named after Thomas Logan, Boise’s first postmaster and one-time mayor.
Status: Planning | 8th St and Front St | Downtown
Here’s something for local foodies to toast: a proposed revamp of Boise Downtown (“BoDo”) shops would transform old retail spaces into a large, open-air food hall that could host as many as 16 local vendors. The project, fronted by Hendricks Commercial Properties, would demolish walls between several defunct stores to create a 16,000-square-foot space, making it one of the largest open-air retail spaces downtown.
The design is beginning to take shape. The developer’s most recent proposal includes replacing the building’s 2000s-era facade with brick, uniting it with the historic industrial brick buildings to its south.
Whitewater and Main
Status: Planning | Whitewater Blvd and Main St | West Downtown
After the city’s failed bid for a soccer stadium, Roundhouse developers are planning to turn several parcels of land near the Boise River into a mixed-use development. Their plans call for 70,000 feet of retail space and 400 high-end apartments spread across two 6-story buildings.
5th & Broad (Towers) Apartments
Status: Planning | 5th St and Broad St | Downtown
Developer and city council member Scot Ludwig had announced plans to build two towers, a 9-story office and parking building and an 11-story condo building, joined by a skybridge. However, Ludwig recently sold the northern parcel, slated to be the office/parking building, to Roundhouse (formerly known as LocalConstruct, the development firm behind downtown projects like Watercooler and The Fowler). Ludwig is now looking to develop a single 15-story residential tower on his remaining parcel. But if that plan doesn't pan out, he still has the option of repurchasing the second parcel from Roundhouse.
Projects Currently Under Construction in Downtown Boise
Park Place Apartments
E Park Blvd and Ferguson St
The groundwork is currently being laid for 236 one- and two-bedroom apartments off of the Boise River, next to the popular brewpub, The Ram. Plans drawn up for the five-story complex by Gardner Co. also include amenities like a pool, yoga room, scenic Greenbelt-adjacent courtyard and large bike storage. The development will also include a structure with more than 350 parking spaces.
505 W Bannock
Bannock St and 6th St
Construction is clipping along on this three-story, 15,000 square foot building. Developed by Greg Strimple, it will house an office space with an outdoor patio on top of a fine-dining restaurant, cocktail lounge and private bar.
11th and Idaho
11th St and Idaho St
The finishing touches are being applied to this 10-story building developed by Rafanelli and Nahas. Each floor features lofty 10-foot-high ceilings, ground floor retail space that looks out onto a new 30,000-square-foot park designed in partnership with the City of Boise, and a rooftop deck.
11th Street Commons
11th St and Idaho St
This highly anticipated new public park lies adjacent to the 11th and Idaho project (above). In addition to mature trees and a water feature, the park will include large public art pieces – including an illuminated sculpture called “Night Light” and a fabricated tree with swings called “Gentle Breeze.” The park is slated to open in 2021.
11th and Main
1th St and Main St
Revolve Development is busy at work transforming the aging Safari Inn into 42 studio and four one-bedroom apartments and updating the building’s exterior with wood-slat panels and larger windows. The first floor retail spaces, which are currently occupied by tenants, will remain mostly unchanged.
5th St and Front St
After a short delay last spring, work is underway on this 8-story building developed by Visum Development. The Vanguard will host ground-floor retail, bike storage and a dog wash, and topped with 75 residential units.
The Avery Hotel
10th St and Main St
Perhaps one of the most anticipated downtown projects, remodel work to restore the 110-year-old Averyl Building (also widely known as the old Blues Bouquet building) to its former glory is mostly complete. Owner Cal Elliott submitted a detailed, $8.5 million renovation plan endorsed by the National Park Service for historic preservation.
The plan includes renovating the original Hotel Manitou lobby, building a ground-level restaurant and bar, topped by 39 hotel rooms.
A few downtown projects have been pushed back or otherwise delayed. Most notably, Collegiate Development Group is asking the city for more time launching a 243-apartment project at 270 E Myrtle Street in light of the global pandemic.
In addition, it seems that the downtown library will not receive funding for a rebuild until 2025 at the earliest.
Lisa is a top Idaho Realtor and creator of WeKnowBoise.com. From Southeast Boise to The North End, up to Eagle and West to Meridian, or right in the middle of the Boise Bench and downtown - We Know Boise. Whether buying or selling a home, we provide full-service real estate solutions dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals.
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