8-story apartment building in Boise would have 75 bicycle racks — and no parking

An out-of-state developer is proposing to build 75 living units in an eight-story building Downtown, with 75 bicycle racks — and no parking.

Visum Development Group of Ithaca, New York, applied to the city of Boise to build at 600 W. Front St., just west of where a new hotel is going up. The site now houses a one-story building occupied by BizPrint.

HOLST-2019 03 12_600 W Front_b.jpg
Rendering of the eight-story apartment building proposed at 6th and Front streets in Downtown Boise. The historic Chinese Odd Fellows Building, shown in the center, would remain. Provided by Holst Architecture, Portland

The application does not specify whether those would be apartments or condominiums. But the application does specify the 75 bike racks and says the project would include no parking spaces and no arrangements to find parking elsewhere.

Just east of BizPrint, a Home2Suites hotel is being built at 502 W. Front. It will have 138 guest rooms that will partly wrap around a garage with 550 parking spaces, some of which will be leased to Boise’s urban renewal agency, the Capital City Development Corp., which operates several Downtown garages.

A call to Visum on Wednesday was not returned. The company has mostly built student housing in Ithaca, home of Cornell University, though it has disclosed plans to branch out as far west as Boise.

“Our new focus is on for-sale condos and moderate-affordable rentals,” founder and CEO Todd Fox told The Ithaca Voice in an email last April.

The building is the latest addition to Downtown’s growing collection of residential buildings. Just this week, the CCDC board advanced plans to help two planned Downtown apartment complexes with a combined 330 units. Other recent housing projects have added , or will soon add, more than 300 units.

The site Visum wants is next to the Chinese Odd Fellows Building, built in 1911 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. That building is not part of the project.

Trader Joe’s, Panda Express and Chipotle Mexican Grill are located across the street, on the south side of Front Street. The Basque Block is one block north.

BizPrint owner Cahill Jones, whose company, Jones Investment Properties, also owns the lot, was not available to discuss whether BizPrint will move into the new building.

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Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.