Boise developer plans workforce apartments in River Street neighborhood

The townhome-style apartments planned for Ash Street would border part of the Pioneer Pathway connecting the Greenbelt to Downtown.
The townhome-style apartments planned for Ash Street would border part of the Pioneer Pathway connecting the Greenbelt to Downtown. Provided by Pivot North Architecture

Boise developer Dean Pape plans to build two townhouse-style buildings near River Street in Downtown Boise to house 34 rental units for moderate-income workers.

Pape plans mostly three-story apartments of about 1,300 square feet each on a now-vacant lot at 503 S. Ash St. owned by Capital City Development Corp., the city’s urban-renewal agency.

CCDC solicited proposals for projects that would rent or be sold to tenants or owners earning between 80 percent and 140 percent of the Ada County median income, which for a two-person household was a little less than $50,000 in 2016.

The developer has not yet set rental rates. Using 2015 statistics, a qualifying couple would earn between $39,000 and $70,000 per year, placing the rent for a one-bedroom unit at $900 per month or more, said Shellan Rodriguez, CCDC’s project manager for the site.

Most of the units will be larger than that and cost more.

The townhome-style design includes front doors accessing Ash Street rather than units accessed from hallways inside of the building, said Gunnar Gladics, an architect for Pivot North Architecture in Boise. Pivot North joined with GGLO, an architecture firm in Seattle, to design the townhouses.

“We’re trying to create something not prevalent on the market: A walk-up, townhouse-style unit with urban-style stoops,” he said.

The project would include garage space between the buildings. It also would include 800 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor of one of the buildings that could be filled by a coffee shop, eatery or bodega.

Gladics hopes to start construction on the yearlong project in the late summer or early fall. Visser Building Co., of Boise, is the builder.

Rodriguez said CCDC wants the property to add housing diversity to the Downtown area, where housing built in the last few years has either been government-subsidized or high-end.

CCDC encourages development by selecting proposals that fit its vision for a property, then either giving it to the developer or selling it for a reduced price, depending the outcome of a reuse appraisal after the developer secures entitlements and construction quotes.

“We’re in support of increasing housing stock Downtown,” Rodriguez said. “We think it adds vitality to the streets and helps businesses prosper.”

While expensive, the apartments will serve the development corporation’s goal of increasing housing options in the area, Rodriguez said.

“This is one piece of the puzzle,” she said. “We don’t think our work is done.”

Zach Kyle: 208-377-6464, @ZachKyleNews