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Want to live in Downtown Boise? More apartments may be coming — on this parking lot

A look at new buildings under construction in Downtown Boise

Builders are putting up new apartments, condominiums, retail and restaurant spaces, hotels and offices in Downtown Boise as the boom stretches deep into 2019. Here's what's going up now, and what's planned.
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Builders are putting up new apartments, condominiums, retail and restaurant spaces, hotels and offices in Downtown Boise as the boom stretches deep into 2019. Here's what's going up now, and what's planned.

Downtown Boise has become a popular residential neighborhood, with more than 300 new apartments, townhouses and condominiums opening in the past two years.

Amid a virtual stampede of developers rushing to put up Downtown housing, there will soon be even more choices. More than 1,000 units are in the planning stages Downtown and just south of it across the Boise River.

Veteran Boise developer Clay Carley plans to join the frenzy. He wants to build a six-story apartment building with ground-floor retail stores at 5th and Grove streets.

Carley’s plans call for the building at 512 W. Grove St. to have 114 market-rate apartments, with 500-square-foot studios and up to 1,000 square feet for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit. Twenty percent of the apartments will have two bedrooms, with studios and one-bedroom taking up 40 percent each.

It’s too early to know what tenants will pay, he said. But here’s what “market rate” means in other new apartment buildings: high enough to make even costly-to-build Downtown housing profitable in a hot market.

The 39-unit Watercooler, at 1,401 W. Idaho St., charges $1,251 for a studio, $1,380 for a one-bed, one-bath unit and $1,622 for a two-bed, two-bath apartment. The Fowler, at 5th and Myrtle streets, charges $1,152 for a studio, $1,342 for a one-bedroom and $1,676 for a two-bedroom.

Clay Carley cropped square mug.jpg
Clay Carley. Photo by Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

Carley’s site is now a parking lot across the street west from C.W. Moore Park and a block north of where Carley is building a Home2Suites hotel. That project includes a 550-space parking garage.

The building Carley plans for 5th and Grove would have 12 parking spaces for cars and 114 for bicycles. It’s located in a zone where car parking spaces are not required, because parking is available on streets and in public garages.

The building will have ground-floor space for three or four retail businesses.

Carley said he’s not worried about the fast-rising number of Downtown residences.

“We believe that in the right location, there’s still room for growth,” Carley said. “We think this is a great location.”

One apartment building on the drawing board, The Vanguard, would be one block away from Carley’s lot, at 600 W. Front St., where a printing business now operates. Visum Development Group of Ithaca, New York, is looking to build a 75-unit apartment building there.

Downtown has become a vibrant place close to restaurants, parks, arts activities and the Boise Foothills, Carley said.

“When you’re living Downtown, you don’t have to get in a car to go anywhere,” Carley said.

Despite the residential growth Downtown, Carley said Boise lags behind other cities.

“If we were more like other urban areas, Denver and Salt Lake City and others, I think we’d have almost twice as many apartments and condos Downtown as we do today,” he said. “We’re still behind.”

The other apartment and condo projects in the works, with their addresses, prices where available, and developers, include:

Park Place: 749 E. Park Boulevard. 236 units, studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Developer: Gardner Co., Salt Lake City.

Trapper’s Island: 3600 Americana Terrace. 304 condominiums. Jayo Holdings, Boise.

The Vanguard: 600 W. Front St. 75 apartments. Visum Development Group, Ithaca, New York.

2nd and Myrtle: 270 E. Myrtle St. Up to 243 apartments or condos. Collegiate Development Group, St. Louis, Missouri.

Boise Caddis: 200 W. Myrtle St. 174 apartments. River Caddis Development Corp., East Lansing, Michigan. The efficiencies would rent starting at $900 at current value, with other units costing as much as $2,300.

The Cartee: 406 S. 4th St. Eight-story building with 161 apartments, including studios, one- and two-bedroom units and live-work spaces. Rents would start at $1,190 per month up to $2,400, at 2019 values. The building will also have ground-floor retail. LocalConstruct, Los Angeles.

The Afton: 880 W. River St. Thirty-five townhouses and condominiums are scheduled to be ready in December. The first phase had 28 condominiums. Units are selling for between $420,000 for a one-bedroom unit and $716,000 for a two-bedroom. Michael Hormaechea, Boise.

River Street Lofts: 535 S. 15th St. Ten three-level condominiums with attached garages are scheduled to be finished in 2019. They’re each priced at $420,000. Energreen Development Co., McCall.

Ash Street Workforce Housing: 503 Ash St. Twelve flats and 22 three-story, townhouse-style apartments are scheduled to be finished later this year. Also includes ground-floor retail. DeChase Miskis, Boise, and Gerding Edlen, Portland.

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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.

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