Meeting set to discuss moving Boise's Knudsen House

zkyle@idahostatesman.comJune 20, 2013 

The Knudsen House at 603 W. Franklin Street is in Dutch Colonial Revival style, a Boise rarity even when it was built in 1905.

COURTESY OF THE IDAHO DIVISION OF PUBLIC WORKS

Anybody wanting to move the historic Knudsen House at 603 W. Franklin St. — and save it from demolition — will have to ask lots of questions before jumping through lots of hoops.

A bidder would have to submit a proposal to the state including a bid price, plans to move the home, and arrangements for permits to move the building through the tree canopy and utility lines. And the bidder must own a nearby lot where the home would go.

“It is a lot of orchestration,” said John Baltes, history committee chairman of the Boise City Department of Arts and History,

To simplify that orchestration, Baltes and employees of the Idaho Division of Public Works — which owns the lot and needs to clear the space for a future parking garage — plan a public meeting for Tuesday, June 25. Prospective home relocators can tour the 2,165 square-foot, Dutch Colonial Revival style home at 5:30 p.m.

An informational meeting will follow three blocks away at the J.R. Williams Building at 700 W. State St. There, speakers from state, city, Preservation Idaho, Western States Movers, Pacific Movers and a real estate broker experienced with historic properties will make informal presentations to explain how to navigate the logistics involved in moving the home.

Boise residents Jim and Monica Walker will talk about how they moved the historic Fort Street home where they live today.

Proposals to move or demolish the house are due July 24 and must map out plans to move or demolish and clear the house by January.

“We feel this is the only option,” said Linda Miller, statewide leasing manager for the Division of Public Works.

Baltes said he’s optimistic someone will emerge with a plan to move the home.

“There’s been tons and tons of interest,” he said.

The state has offered up to $15,000 to reimburse moving expenses. John Bertram, president of Preservation Idaho, said his nonprofit group will request matching funds from the Morrison Foundation, the charity operated by the family of Morrison-Knudsen cofounder Harry Morrison.

Bertram said he was contacted by a Boise resident interested in donating $10,000 to the preservation effort, though he wasn’t sure whether the offer was to keep the building at its current location, relocate the building or either. The state isn’t considering proposals to keep the house at its current location.

“It’s a very honest effort by someone who cares about preservation to step up,” Bertram said. “I’d like to challenge others to do the same.”

Read the Statesman's original story on the plan to move the house and the follow-up story on the state changing its proposal deadline to July 31.

Zach Kyle: 377-6464

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