The building that held the Boise International Market has sat vacant since an arson fire shut down the shopping center three years ago.
A Nampa-based church has begun work to renovate the building at 5823 W. Franklin St., using the aftermath of the Sept. 5, 2015, fire as inspiration.
“Everything burned, and you can smell smoke and see the residue of the flames,” said the Rev. Monty Sears of the Christian Faith Center, which has campuses in Nampa and Caldwell. “We believe that translates to our ministry. Your life might be in shambles, but from the ashes there’s new life awaiting you.”
The church, affiliated with the Assemblies of God, plans to begin holding services before Thanksgiving, Sears said.
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The Boise International Market opened October 2014, four years after The Vietnamese Restaurant burned down at the same location. It housed 16 small businesses, many owned by refugees from African and Middle Eastern nations. There were shops with grocery items from Nepal, Bhutan, Sudan and other countries, Mexican goods, tea, and restaurants serving Colombian, Ethiopean and Eritrean cuisine. Many of them reopened at other locations.
No one was ever charged in the fire, which began in a coffee shop.
After the fire, a new roof and front facade were added. The church is spending $625,000 to replace plumbing, install a new heating and cooling system, and furnish the building. The sanctuary, which includes a stage and chairs to seat 385 people, will be flanked by a children’s room, nursery, a cry room, kitchen, offices and restrooms.
Heat from the fire damaged the concrete floor, so a 2-inch layer of new concrete will be poured on top, Sears said.
At 11,430 square feet, the building will be less than one-fourth the size of the Faith Center’s Nampa church, which has 50,000 square feet and serves 1,450 members. Its Caldwell church, with 30,000 square feet, serves 350 members. Christian Faith Center’s original 8,000-square-foot church serves 200 members in Oroville, California.
“We’ll still be able to fit 350 people per service,” said Sears.
To get started, 175 members of the Nampa church have agreed to attend services temporarily at the Boise location. Sears said he hopes that once they get going the Boise church will attract new members.
Sears said the church is spending more than $2 million on the improvements and the purchase of the building, which came with an empty lot to the west and the rest of the strip mall to the east that contains several businesses.
“We believe the people of the Boise Bench and Ada County deserve the best, and this will reflect that,” Sears said.
The Rev. Jordan Hodges and his wife, Amanda, will lead the Boise congregation.
“Stylistically, we’re very much on the contemporary side: live bands, passionate speaking and a specific ministry for children of all ages,” Jordan Hodges said. “It’s not necessarily a traditional style of church, but very much modern, contemporary and connecting with this generation.”
“We don’t just serve a God that loved our grandparents, but we serve a God that loves us today and desires to be a part of our lives,” Hodges said.