Another apartment building goes up Downtown. Here’s what makes 5th and Idaho different

The new apartment building at 5th and Idaho streets will include a small public park through a collaboration with Boise Parks and Rec. It’s the first of its kind in Downtown Boise. The Davies Reid Building, which is just to the west of the project, is not visible in this artist’s rendering.
The new apartment building at 5th and Idaho streets will include a small public park through a collaboration with Boise Parks and Rec. It’s the first of its kind in Downtown Boise. The Davies Reid Building, which is just to the west of the project, is not visible in this artist’s rendering. Provided by GGLO

Developers hope an apartment building under construction at 5th and Idaho streets will set a new standard for creative neighborhood integration in Boise.

The project, across from the Flying M Coffee House, includes ground-floor retail, a trend in Boise’s recent Downtown developments.

But this one also will have something extra: a pocket park — a green space on the west side of the project that will be managed by Boise Parks and Recreation.

“We’re trying to do more than just benches and or a basketball court,” says 5th and Idaho developer Dean Papè. He envisions a gathering place for “theatrical events, movies, music and other activities that work with the neighborhood.”

The 1,120-square foot-park is designed to be low-maintenance, with artificial turf instead of grass. The building managers will take care of day-to-day needs; the city will take on long-term repair and maintenance.

When Papè and his partner on the project, Peter Oliver, approached the department, the answer was an easy yes, said the department’s director Doug Holloway, because it fell in line with Parks and Rec’s recent Parks in Public Space initiative.

“We did a study last year to look at how we can engage people in Downtown — either actively or passively — through creating public spaces,” Holloway said. “This is the first opportunity to do something like this. We’re looking for ways to create additional public spaces, especially on the west side of Downtown, closer to the Greyhound Bus Station at 12th and Bannock streets.”

The idea for the park came from GGLO, an urban design firm in Seattle that collaborated on this project and the redesign of City Hall Plaza that is under construction two blocks away.

“It’s a way for the building to better integrate into the neighborhood,” Papè says.

GGLO worked with Boise’s Hummel Architects and the Capitol City Development Corp. on the 5th and Idaho Apartments.

The historic Davies Reid Building, designed by architect John C. Paulsen in 1892, is just west of the construction site. The park will create an open airy space between the structures that allows people to see the old building’s Flemish romantic-style architecture from down the street instead of crowding it, Papè said.

The apartments replace Gibson’s Funeral Home, owned by Tim Gibson, and a parking lot, owned by Old Boise owner and developer Clay Carley. Both Gibson and Carley are investors in the project, which should be completed by fall 2018.

Papè and Oliver started working together with Gibson and Carley two and a half years ago to acquire the land.

Downtown Boise is going apartment crazy right now. The 5th and Idaho building is just one of several apartment projects underway.

LocalConstruct’s The Watercooler Apartments at 14th and Idaho streets opened in September. That development team’s Fowler apartments at 5th and Broad streets will be opening for tenants in early 2018.

The 81 apartments at 5th and Idaho will be a mix of one and two bedrooms, and townhouse-style lofts that will range from in size from 500 to 1,000 square feet.

It is planned to have one parking space for each unit. Trends in Portland, Seattle and San Francisco are to reduce parking.

“One of our big goals was to keep the number of apartments and parking spaces equal,” Papè said.

Rents are not set yet as the building will not be open for a year.

“We’re watching market closely and we’ll decide rents then,” Papè said.

There will be amenities such as a rooftop deck with an outdoor kitchen and fire pit, and a dog-washing station, but not a gym.

“We want to make sure they are amenities that people will use over time and not distract from the amenities that already are there, like the YMCA,” he said.

That’s his same philosophy for developing the 3,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. The team is looking to find businesses that will add to the neighborhood.

“We don’t need to have a coffee shop, we’re across the street from the Flying M,” he said. “We don’t need a pizza and beer place because you can walk two blocks to several.”

Papè, 39, moved his business DeChase Miksis Development to Idaho four years ago from Portland, along with his wife Vanessa and their three kids. He met Carley early on and helped on some of Carley’s other developments, and helped develop Kendall Ford’s new Meridian dealership.

This collaboration with Oliver is his first large-scale project here.

His next project, The Ash Street Workforce Housing at River and Ash streets, was awarded by CCDC and will break ground in early spring of 2018.

More Downtown Construction

▪  Gardner Co.’s $50 million plus Pioneer Crossing mixed-use development is underway at 1101 W. Front St. It will include a hotel, restaurant, parking garage and offices for the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce and other businesses.

▪  The area around Main and 6th streets and Capitol Boulevard is getting new sidewalks, curbs and gutters, trees and grates, historic streetlights, pedestrian ramps, bike racks, garbage receptacles and benches as part of the 2017 Streetscape Improvements Project. It should wrap up sometime in early November.

▪  Pioneer Corner at 11th and Front streets is getting a facelift and improvements this fall that will be complete in early winter 2018. The construction will improve the connection from the existing Pioneer Pathway and the intersection of 11th and Myrtle Streets, add two new benches and a trash receptacle, two river birch trees, pedestrian ramps and realign the crosswalk. Work should be completed by early winter 2018.

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