Downtown Boise grows up, and up, and up
When Kount, a Boise tech company that helps businesses fight e-commerce fraud, outgrew its headquarters on Lusk Street, it began looking Downtown for a new home for its 175 employees.
It found one in the four-story John Alden Building at 10th and Main streets. Sawtooth Development Group of Ketchum, which bought the office building in 2013, is spending $3.8 million to renovate it, according to city building documents.
Kount couldn’t have found a better location, said Kate Lenz, vice president of human resources. Several other tech companies, including Clearwater Analytics and Cradlepoint, are nearby.
“We felt the proximity to other tech companies would help with recruiting,” Lenz said. “We also felt it would be a great place for our employees to be close to Downtown activities such as First Thursday and Alive After 5, as well as all the fantastic restaurants and breweries.”
The Kount project is one of dozens underway in the sixth year of a construction boom that is dramatically changing Downtown. New apartments, condominiums and townhouses are still going up, including a few aimed at lower-income or homeless people. A new hotel opened last month, adding to three that opened in 2017, and yet another is planned. A venerable Downtown building, the Capital Terrace, is getting a makeover.
The list of projects underway or planned is especially heavy on housing, with at least 315 apartments in four projects and 144 condominiums and townhouses in six. But there are also two hotels, two hospital projects, two new office buildings, a new Downtown library, a bigger Idaho history museum, and a stadium accompanied by residential, office and retail development.
When they’re done, Boiseans will have more places Downtown to live, work, eat, shop, lodge visitors, enrich their minds, take care of their bodies and enjoy themselves.
Here’s a look at 23 current projects — one newly opened, 11 under construction and 11 planned or under discussion.
IN THE WORKS
1. Kount Building
Kount, which will lease from Sawtooth in what will be renamed the Kount Building, will maintain a reception area on the first floor and house employees on floors three and four, plus an added fifth floor. The second floor will be left vacant at first. The company will use it to add employees later, Lenz said.
Kount will also use the basement for locker rooms, showers, bicycle parking and storage. Access to a rooftop deck will be restricted to employees. The public will not be allowed up there.
The building’s ground floor includes the newly opened Neckar Coffee shop and Hue beauty salon. A small grocery store is also planned, along with a restaurant.
Kount expects to move in during the first quarter of next year.
2. Gibson 5th & Idaho
The former Gibson Funeral Home, which had operated at 507 W. Idaho St. since 1940, was torn down. A five-story building has gone up in its place.
Gibson 5th & Idaho, from developers Dean Papè and Peter Oliver, includes 81 studio lofts and one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. They range in size from 545 square feet to 1,063 square feet. Prices range from $1,001 to $1,036 per month for a studio apartment, $1,286 to $1,542 for a one-bedroom and $1,913 to $2,662 for two bedrooms.
“We’ve had interest from the start,” Papè said. “We don’t think we’ll have any problem filling these units.”
The building includes an underground parking garage and a ground-floor, 1,100-square-foot pocket park that will be maintained by the city. There’s also a dog-washing station and a rooftop deck with an outdoor kitchen and fire pit.
The building also has 3,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Pape said his company is speaking to potential retail tenants and hopes to have them lined up before the building is completed.
He expects it to be finished this fall. According to a listing on apartments.com, units will be available Nov. 15.
3. Capitol Terrace
The Hawkins Cos. is spending $2 million to renovate the Capitol Terrace at 8th and Main Streets. It will be renamed Main + Marketplace.
Construction began in May and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30. Modern canopies made from steel and wood are being installed outside the storefronts and over the open-air deck. Tile on the facade is being updated, and the rest of the structure, including the adjoining parking garage, is being repainted.
Still to come is Jekyll & Hyde Bagels, scheduled to open later this year at 746 W. Main St. Owner Nick Epler formerly operated the Pita Pit restaurant in that same space. He continues to operate two other Pita Pits in Boise and Meridian.
YET TO COME
4. The Cartee
An eight-story apartment building is proposed for 4th and Broad streets with 160 apartments, a parking garage and commercial space on the ground floor.
The project, from Los Angeles developer LocalConstruct, would be similar to The Fowler, a seven-story building with 159 apartments that LocalConstruct opened in March at 505 W. Broad St., a block west of The Cartee site.
5. Ludwig’s two towers
Scott Ludwig, a developer and Boise City Council member, plans to build two buildings on 5th Street joined by a wide sky bridge.
One would be 11 stories high with 130,000 square feet, between West Broad and Front streets on 5th Street’s east side, across from Concordia University Law School. The other, a nine-story building with 147-500 square feet, would be on the southeast corner of 5th and Front, across from The Fowler apartments.
The two buildings would include 54 condominiums on the upper floors and four ground-level, two-story live-work units in the north building and ground-floor retail space along the south side of Broad and the east side of 5th.
The buildings would include parking levels.
6. Home2 Suites by Hilton
A 138-room Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel with an attached parking garage is planned on the north side of Front Street between 5th and 6th streets. The seven-story hotel would have separate ownership from the eight-story parking garage.
Raymond Management Co. of Middleton, Wisconsin, will own and operate the hotel. The company also operates the Hampton Inn & Suites at 495 S. Capitol Blvd.
7. 11th and Idaho
Developers Rafanelli & Nahas plan a 10-story office building on the northwest corner of 11th and Idaho Streets, just east of the El Korah Shrine and across Idaho from The Record Exchange.
The building, which has the working name of 11th and Idaho, would be sited next to a planned park with more than 25,000 square feet on the Bannock Street side of the block. The park would stretch from 11th to 12th Street, across from the Boise Plaza, which Rafanelli & Nahas owns.
Plans call for the new building to have a food court that opens onto the park.
8. Hilton Garden Inn
The 132-room Hilton Garden Inn opened July 26 at 348 S. 13th St.
The hotel has done better than expected, general manager Kyle Johnson said. On a Wednesday night a week after the opening, 55 percent of its rooms were occupied. Rooms run from $199 to $219 per night.
“Until you actually open the doors it’s really a crap shoot on how things will shake out.,” Johnson said. “Overall, we’ve been very pleased with our performance so far.”
About 80 percent of the guests have been business travelers, Johnson said.
The hotel has 38 employees and is about 85 percent staffed. There are still openings for shuttle drivers and restaurant workers, Johnson said.
West Downtown/West End
IN THE WORKS
9. New Path Community Housing
New Path, at 2200 W. Fairview Ave., will provide housing for 40 chronically homeless people. The $7.3 million project was financed through $5.83 million in federal tax credits sold by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, which also chipped in $500,000 from a federal program that promotes affordable housing. The city of Boise provided $1 million.
“I think we’ll find that we’re full very quickly and we stay full,” said Tom Mannschreck, a member of the board of Northwest Integrity Housing. “All of us at the development level and the social services level are expecting great outcomes and hopefully demonstrate the need for another facility in the not-too-distant future.”
New Path is scheduled to open in November.
10. Adare Manor
Two blocks west and across the street, Adare Manor will have 134 apartments for people with low and moderate incomes. Framing has reached the second floor of the four-story building.
Some units are supported financially by the tax credits, while others are unsubsidized, market-rent units.
”We rent to the people who check out your groceries at the grocery store, who wait on you at Macy’s or Dillard’s, who are the tellers at the bank, people in the health care business, a whole squadron of people who work in hospitals and medical offices who don’t make a lot of money,” Mannschreck said. “It also includes entry-level teachers, people who work in the restaurant business and those who work retail.”
“The current thinking in providing low- and moderate-income housing is that you want some component of workforce-level and some component of market rate-level,” Mannschreck said. “So you’re not taking folks that are in that low and moderate range and just having them lease and live with folks of similar income levels.”
Construction is expected to be completed next August. Applications will be accepted starting in May.
11. Idaho Street Townhomes
The second phase of developer David Hale’s 15-unit development at 16th and West Idaho streets is nearly completed. Nine townhouses were built in the first phase last year. The six new ones look similar but are slightly bigger and have upgraded materials and features, Hale said.
The homes from the first phase sold for $359,000. The new ones each have 1,620 square feet and are priced at $486,000. Three other units, including a custom home on the east end that is about twice as large, have already been sold.
“There was a great increase in labor and material costs,” Hale said. Also, “The architectural design of that second phase was just a more expensive product.”
With townhouses, owners buy the residence and the land underneath it. That differs from condominiums, where the living space is owned by the buyer and the common space is owned by a homeowner association.
YET TO COME
12. Boise Hawks Stadium
After rejecting a site on Shoreline Drive, an Atlanta developer now wants to build a stadium in Boise’s West End.
The new site is located on the south side of Main Street, between Whitewater Park Boulevard and 27th Street. The site provides better access and visibility, with fewer residential buildings and more commercial space nearby, said Chris Schoen, managing partner of Greenstone Properties.
The stadium would serve as the home of the Boise Hawks, a minor-league baseball team that plays at Memorial Stadium in Garden City, and a minor-league soccer team. It could also be used for youth sports, concerts, festivals and other events.
IN THE WORKS
13. St. Luke’s Medical Center
The main St. Luke’s campus at 190 E. Bannock St. is undergoing a major renovation and expansion. Work began this spring on the $42 million Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion. The addition to the St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, at Jefferson Street and Avenue B, will more than double the amount of clinical space for treating children.
Future improvements include construction of a new hospital tower, parking garage and central plant. St. Luke’s will also modernize the Mountain States Tumor Institute and the children’s hospital and upgrade the current hospital tower.
The final phase of road improvements around the hospital is taking place. The Reserve Street roundabout has been opened to two lanes of traffic. Bannock Street in front of the hospital has reopened, providing access to the main garage. Avenue A remains closed as crews work to complete work at the intersection of Avenue A and Idaho Street.
Last week, the Boise Design Review Committee voted to allow an appeal on St. Luke’s plans for an upgrade to the Bannock Street Plaza.
The East End Neighborhood Association appealed approval of the plan, saying that permanent closure of a section of Jefferson Street eliminated a critical east-west corridor between the neighborhood and Downtown. The association also contends the plaza should allow public access, not just be available to hospital patients and staff. Further discussions are planned to resolve the impasse.
YET TO COME — MAYBE
14. Saint Alphonsus’ neighborhood hospital
Last year, Saint Alphonsus Health Center announced plans to build a two-story hospital at 350 E. Myrtle St., south of Whole Foods. It would include eight examination rooms, eight inpatient beds and an imaging department offering X-ray and CT services.
Saint Al’s planned to have the hospital ready this year, but no work has been done yet. In March, the hospital sought and was granted a six-month extension for its building permit application. It is set to expire Sept. 24.
Spokesman Mark Snider said the hospital is “continually monitoring” the community’s health care needs and how “Saint Alphonsus can best contribute.”
“We have no update to provide on any proposed projects at this time,” he said in an email.
Near North End
YET TO COME
15. The Metropolitan
Developer David Southers is ready to begin taking reservations for his long anticipated condominium project at the old Baird’s Dry Cleaners location in the Near North End. But he hasn’t started building it yet.
Last fall, Southers obtained a zoning change for the property at 8th and Fort streets across from the Boise Co-op. He plans to demolish the existing building and replace it with a four-story building housing 31 condos.
They will sell for $350,000 and $550,000 each. That will buy 1,000 square feet for one-bedroom unit, 1,200 square feet for two bedrooms, or 1,250 to 1,300 for a three-bedroom.
After a Statesman story came out last fall, Southers said he was inundated with calls. “I’ve never had this kind of interest in one of my projects,” said Southers, who also developed Hyde Park Place, a similar housing project four blocks north.
While he had hoped to begin construction early this year and have the project completed by the end of the year, he said delays caused by Boise’s surge in construction set the project back.
He now plans to begin this fall, with work to take 12 to 14 months. The condos should be ready for buyers by next fall, he said.
16. Cathedral of the Rockies housing
The Cathedral is considering development of an affordable housing complex on a block next to its church in Boise’s Near North End.
Early this century, the church proposed a 176-unit apartment complex with more than 500 underground parking spaces. After neighbor protests, the church scaled back plans to 137 apartments and 417 underground parking spaces. The proposal filed to win local-government approvals.
IN THE WORKS
17. The Afton, Phase 2
Thirty-five condominiums are under construction at the northeast corner of 9th and River streets. That’s just west of The Afton’s first-phase building, which consists of 28 units in a building that opened last year, across River from Boise’s main library.
Most of the Phase 2 units will have two bedrooms and between 1,200 square feet and 2,000 square feet. Some three-bedroom units will have 1,800 square feet.
The project is expected to be completed in fall 2019.
18. Idaho State Museum
The museum in Julia Davis Park, which has been closed for four years, is set to reopen in October following a major renovation and expansion. The 1980s-era displays are being replaced by new ones with touchscreens, videos and other high-tech refinements.
The expansion added 18,000 square feet to the 30,000-square-foot building. The larger museum will have room for 800 photographs, 500 artifacts and more than 30 multimedia displays. Among them is an exhibit on the 1910 “Big Burn” in Northern Idaho that killed 90 people.
19. Ash Street Workforce Housing
Work has been begun on 22 three-story, townhouse-style apartments and 12 flats on the northwest corner of Ash and River streets. There will also be a small retail area.
The site is located to the historic Pioneer Pathway, a pedestrian and bicycle path that connects the Boise Greenbelt to Myrtle Street.
The project also involves turning the neighboring Erma Hayman House at 617 Ash St. into a community asset, perhaps a cultural-events center.
Pape and Mark Edlen of Portland’s Gerding Edlen are partners in the project.
20. Verraso Downtown
Eight condominiums in two stories have gone up across the street from the Rhodes Skate Park at 1420 W. Front St., a project by developer Chad Olsen of Envision 360. Interior work is not yet finished. A listing has the entire building for sale for $3 million and says the units will be sold individually unless an investor buys all eight.
Rents are budgeted at $2,500 per month per unit for long-term leases and more than $3,500 for short-term furnished rentals.
YET TO COME
21. Main Library
The city plans to build a four-story contemporary building with a glass south side facing the Boise River, replacing the 1940s-era warehouse that Boise converted into its main library in 1973.
The city hopes to break ground on the $85 million project, designed by world-famous architect Moshe Safdie, next year and have it completed by 2021.
22. Wilcomb redevelopment
The Wilcomb family, which has built Boise buildings for four generations, plans to replace the one-story, 1946 warehouse on the northeast corner of River and Eighth streets that now houses the Foothills School of the Arts and Sciences.
Plans are uncertain, but the new building will have three levels of parking that the city would buy to serve the new library across River, said T. J. Wilcomb, a partner in Jordan Wilcomb Construction Inc. It may have ground-floor retail, restaurant and/or office space and one to three levels of apartments or condominiums above the parking decks.
No demolition or construction will begin before Foothills School finishes this school year, Wilcomb said.
23. River Street Lofts
Energreen Development Co. of McCall plans 10 three-level condominium units in two buildings on the northwest corner of 15th and River streets. The project was originally expected to be done by December, but construction has yet to start.
Downtown restaurants and bars
The Downtown food and drink scene changes constantly as eateries open and close. Here are some newly opened or planned businesses not noted above:
▪ Former State & Lemp restaurant chef Chef Kris Komori and co-owner Remi McManus are making plans to open a new restaurant, Kin, in 2019 at 102 S. 16th St., site of the old Sav-On Cafe, which closed in 2011.
▪ Good Burger owner Nicholas Jones plans to open his third restaurant at 1001 W. Main St. this fall.
▪ The new Residence Inn at 400 S. Capitol Blvd. has opened a roof-deck patio with a bar and limited food.
▪ Chip Cookies opened in June at 501 W. Main St., the former Addie’s restaurant spot on the east end of Downtown’s bar district.
▪ Firenza Pizza, a national chain, opened in June in One Capital Center at 999 W. Main St.
▪ A Panera Bread restaurant opened this month at 11th and Myrtle streets in Gardner Co.’s Pioneer Crossing project, which includes the newly opened Hilton Garden Inn above.