A visual arts center. 1,100 apartments. Condos. What’s going up now in Downtown Boise

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.

When the new Center for Visual Arts opens next month at Boise State University, it will usher in a new era for the university’s fine arts disciplines.

No longer will the art history, printmaking, metal arts, painting, ceramics and sculpture departments and others operate from seven different locations, working from dilapidated buildings and using outdated equipment. The state-of-the-art building

“It’s cavernous, inspiring, glorious,” said Kathleen Keys, interim director of the Department of Art, Design and Visual Studies.

The Center for Visual Arts is one of dozens construction projects underway in the seventh year of a construction boom that has dramatically altered Downtown Boise.

Housing is surging. There are at least 1,097 apartments spread across eight projects proposed or under construction, and 380 condominiums in four. That compares with at least 315 apartments and 144 condos and townhouses at this time a year ago.

One project, an eight-story apartment building could be delayed if construction bids come in too high in the next few weeks, its developer says. The proposed new main library and a planned sports stadium have stalled, too, with their fates uncertain.

But a hotel is under construction, as are two hospital projects. And work on a 10-story office building is expected to start in two weeks.

Here’s the latest on 21 current projects — one newly opened, seven under construction and 13 planned or under discussion.

Central Downtown


A Home2Suites by Hilton hotel is being built at 502 W. Front St. An attached parking garage with 550 spaces will be behind the hotel. John Sowell

1. Home2Suites by Hilton

Home2 Suites by Hilton will bring 138 hotel rooms and 550 parking spaces in an attached parking garage on the north side of Front Street between 5th and 6th streets.. It joins four hotels that opened Downtown in the past two years.

Clay Carley, a Boisean who owns and helped develop the Old Boise business center, is developing the project. He will own and operate the garage. Capital City Development Corp., Boise’s redevelopment agency, will lease 200 of the parking spaces for seven years.

Raymond Management Co. of Middleton, Wisconsin, will own and operate the hotel. Raymond also operates the Hampton Inn & Suites at 495 S. Capitol Blvd.

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An artist’s rendering looking southwest along 11th Street at the proposed 10-story office building . The city of Boise plans to build the park in front of the building in this view. Bannock Street separates the proposed building and park from the Boise Plaza, right. Provided by Rafanelli & Nahas

2. 11th and Idaho

Rafanelli & Nahas plans to break ground on Monday, Aug. 5, for a 10-story office building on the northwest corner of 11th and Idaho streets.

The site is part of a parking lot across Bannock Street from the Boise Plaza, which the company owns. The new building will be located east of the El Korah Shrine and across Idaho from The Record Exchange.

The estimated cost of the 181,000-square-foot building is at least $40 million.

The building is being designed by Perkins+Will. The Seattle architectural firm designed the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, the New York City Police Academy and the Anacostia Library in Washington, D.C.

Plans also call for a 1-acre park from 11th to 12th at an existing parking lot on the Bannock Street side of the property. Rafanelli & Nahas controls that space through a long-term lease with parking lot owner Rudolph Investments.

The city of Boise plans to build the park, dubbed the Westside Urban Park, with grass, shade, seating and possibly a fog machine.


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An artist’s rendering shows how two buildings proposed by Scot Ludwig, a Boise city councilman, lawyer and developer, for 5th and Broad streets in Downtown Boise would be linked by a sky bridge and a landscaped terrace. Front Street is in the foreground, with Concordia University School of Law at lower right. Provided by the city of Boise

3. 5th and Broad

Scot Ludwig, a lawyer, developer and member of the Boise City Council, plans to build two buildings on 5th Street joined by a wide sky bridge.

One of Ludwig’s buildings is to be 11 stories high with 130,000 square feet, located between West Broad and Fronts streets on 5th Street’s east side, across from Concordia University Law School. The other, a nine-story building with 147,500 square feet, is to be on the southeast corner of 5th and Front, across from The Fowler apartments.

There’s a new wrinkle: Earlier this year, 406 South Fifth Street LLC, a unit of LocalConstruct, a California company that developed Downtown’s new The Fowler apartments, bought the property at 406 S. 5th St. The nine-story building was to be built on that lot.

Ludwig told the Statesman that his Broad Street Properties firm retains a three-year option on the property and fully intends to put up the two buildings. If it doesn’t, LocalConstruct would be able to develop its own project at the site.

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An artist’s rendering of The Cartee apartment building looking toward its northeast corner at Broad Street an the alley between 3rd and 4th streets in Downtown Boise. Provided by CCDC

4. The Cartee

LocalConstruct plans an eight-story building with 161 apartments at the southeast corner of Broad and 4th streets. There would be 39 studio apartments, 62 one-bedroom apartments, 55 two-bedroom units and five live-work spaces.

There would be 176 parking spaces within the eight stories. Below the apartments would be 5,000 square feet of retail space.

The project has gone out to bid, and LocalConstruct CEO Casey Lynch expects to hear from his contractor on pricing in the next couple of weeks.

“If the pricing makes sense, we will likely break ground in the early fall,” Lynch said by email. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen such significant escalation in construction costs in Boise that I’m not sure if the project economics are going to justify building it at this time, and there’s a possibility the project will be put on the shelf.”

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Boise developer Clay Carley proposes to build a six-story apartment building with ground-floor businesses at 5th and Grove streets. Pivot North Architecture via the city of Boise

5. 5th and Grove

A six-story apartment building with three or four ground-floor retail stores is planned at 5th and Grove streets.

The project from veteran Boise developer Clay Carley would have 114 market-rate apartments, featuring studios with 500 square feet up to two-bedroom, two-bathroom units with up to 1,000 square feet. Studios and one-bedroom apartments will make up 40% each of the total, with 20% devoted to two-bedroom apartments.

The building 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 parking garages.

The project is planned for a parking lot across the street west from C.W. Moore Park and a block north of where Carley is building the Home2Suites hotel.

The project has received design review approval but still requires a building permit.

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An artist’s drawing shows the Gardner Co.’s proposed Park Place apartments on the north bank of the Boise River, near Boise State University. STK Architects via city of Boise

6. Park Place Apartments

A six-story building consisting of studios and one- and two-bedroom units is planned at 749 E. Park Boulevard. The Park Place apartments, proposed by Gardner Co., would be built between the Ram Restaurant and Brewery and the Falcon Building, across the Broadway Bridge from the Boise State University campus, half a mile from Albertsons Stadium.

The project replaces a smaller project Gardner proposed there last year. That proposal called for 146 apartments, with a portion aimed at adults 55 and older. Feedback from the city encouraged Gardner to consider a higher density building, said David Wali, Gardner’s executive vice president. It also made more sense to have the entire building open to anyone than to create a separate area for older tenants, Wali said.

The 3.3-acre parcel is owned by the Harry Morrison Foundation.

A building-permit application is under review.

An artist’s rendering of Jayo Holdings’ proposed Trapper’s Island condominium project looking south from the Boise River. DG Group Architecture via the city of Boise

7. Trapper’s Island

More than 300 condominiums could be built along the Boise River near Downtown.

Jayo Holdings of Boise plans to build five buildings with 304 condominiums off Americana Boulevard on the river’s south side. The property, at 3600 Americana Terrace, is north of Kathryn Albertson Park and west of Ann Morrison Park. Part of Trapper’s Island, the site is framed by the Trestle Bridge on the Boise Greenbelt to the west and by Riverview Rehabilitation on the east.

The 7.4-acre development calls for four stories of living space, with some condominiums on a single floor and others having two floors.

“The design of the buildings is intended to be urban in nature, while softening the density of the project with elements of wood and landscaping in order to blend into the surrounding site,” land use consultant Jane Suggs of WHPacific wrote in a letter included with the application filed with the city of Boise.

The Boise Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the project, but an appeal was filed. The appeal will be heard by the Boise City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

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(Vanguard) 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

8. The Vanguard

Visum Development Group of Ithaca, New York, plans to build an eight-story apartment building at 600 W. Front St.

The 75-apartment building would be built at the current location of BizPrint, a print shop. it sits outside a zone that requires parking for residential projects. Street parking and parking garages are nearby. It would have bike racks and a bicycle repair station.

The building’s ground floor would include an entrance lobby, a commercial tenant space, bicycle room and utility areas. Apartments would be located on floors two through eight.

The project has received design approval but still requires a building permit before construction can begin.

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(Boise Myrtle) The seven-story apartment building proposed by Collegiate Development Group of St. Louis would include a six-story interior parking garage, a rooftop terrace and fitness and game rooms. There would also be a swimming pool and hot tub. It would also have ground-floor retail space. Provided by the city of Boise

9. Boise Myrtle Apartments

A St. Louis company, Collegiate Development Group, seeks to build 259 apartments on a parking lot east of WinCo Foods, at 270 E. Myrtle St.

The apartments, contained within a seven-story building, will be marketed to young professionals.

A large number of the apartments, 111, would be small studios. There would be 72 one-bedroom apartments, 64 two-bedroom units and 12 four-bedroom apartments. There are also plans for an onsite restaurant.

The building would include a rooftop deck and swimming pool, along with a fitness room, club room and a multimedia lounge and game room. Interior parking would be provided on six of the floors.

The property is owned by WinCo.

The project has received design approval but still requires a building permit before construction can begin.

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This artist’s rendering shows the proposed Boise Caddis apartments at the corner of 3rd and Myrtle streets. Provided by CCDC

10. Boise Caddis

A Michigan developer wants to build an eight-story, L-shaped building with housing, ground-floor retail and interior parking a block south of the Ada County Courthouse.

Plans from River Caddis call for 174 residential units and a four-story garage with 400 parking spaces at 200 W. Myrtle St. There would also be ground-floor businesses.

The development would take up most of the block between South 2nd and 3rd streets and West Myrtle and Broad Streets. The northwest corner, where Lone Cone, a designer of children’s outdoors clothing and accessories, is located, is not part of the development.

The parcel, owned by Bob Dean of Broad Street LLC., includes several small houses and other structures. It’s unclear whether those buildings will be moved or torn down.

An application for a building permit is under review.

Boise State University


11. The Center for Visual Arts, being built for $48 million, sits along Capitol Boulevard, between the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts and the Micron Business and Economics Building on the western edge of the Boise State campus.

“It’s very much a state-of-the-art building in which to learn about and study visual arts,” said Kathleen Keys, interim director of the Department of Art, Design and Visual Studies. “There’s huge spaces for students to work in, lots of elbow room.”

The five-story north section contains artist studios, classrooms and work spaces, while the two-story south section houses gallery space. They are joined by a glassed-in lobby designed to provide a view from Capitol Boulevard into the campus.

West Downtown/West End


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Adare Manor apartments, 2403 W. Fairview Ave. John Sowell

12. Adare Manor

A four-story building with 134 apartments for people with low and moderate incomes is set to open in late summer.

Some units are supported financially by the tax credits, while others are unsubsidized, market-rent units.

The project is being developed by Northwest Integrity Housing Co., a nonprofit that focuses on affordable housing in Idaho, Utah, Montana and Arizona.

Three ground-floor business suites are also available that could house a restaurant, retail store or office. They are between 862 and 2,102 square feet each.

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St. Luke’s orthopedic hospital, 2525 W. Fairview Ave. John Sowell

13. St. Luke’s orthopedic hospital

St. Luke’s Health System is building a 230,000-square-foot hospital just west of Downtown Boise.

Initially, St. Luke’s announced that the hospital would focus on orthopedic care. That could change, spokeswoman Anita Kissee said Friday.

Surgery suites and inpatient beds are routinely filled to capacity at the flagship St. Luke’s hospital in the Downtown core. The new hospital was to relieve some of that pressure.

The hospital will span the blocks from Fairview Avenue to the Connector, and from 25th Street to 27th Street.

The health system alreadu has a much smaller orthopedic surgery center and orthopedic clinics near Americana Boulevard and River Street.

Kissee was unsure when the building would be completed.


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This artist’s rendering shows a stadium and surrounding buildings that Atlanta’s Greenstone Properties is developing on the Savannah River in North Augusta, South Carolina, four miles from the site of the Augusta National annual Masters golf tournament. The stadium will house the Augusta GreenJackets minor-league baseball team. Greenstone is attempting to develop a similar project east of the Boise River in Boise’s West End. Greenstone Properties

14. Boise Sports Park

Greenstone Properties of Atlanta wants to develop the Boise Sports Park between Main Street and Fairview Avenue and between 27th Street and Whitewater Park Boulevard, west of Downtown and near the Boise River.

The $50 million park would serve the Boise Hawks baseball team, whose ownership is intertwined with Greenstone’s. It also would house a franchise of the new United Soccer League, which is expected to begin play in 2021.

Greenstone plans to develop housing and businesses around the stadium. Its original plan included using increases in property tax revenues caused by that new development to pay off bonds that would be sold by the Capital City Development Corp., the city’s urban renewal agency, to pay for much of the construction.

A state law passed this year makes that option more complicated. It requires a citywide election on any municipal building project costing more than $1 million that uses at least 51 percent nonfederal public money that includes any amount of those increased tax revenues within an urban-renewal district.

Plus, a proposed ordinance on Boise’s municipal election ballot in November would require a citizen vote on any stadium project that costs the city more than $5 million.

On Thursday, a lawyer representing Greenstone met in a closed-door meeting with the Greater Boise Auditorium District board. Neither party disclosed what was discussed, but the meeting raised the possibility that Greenstone is seeking to use GBAD to find a different way to finance the stadium with borrowed public money.

The district has $16 million in hotel-room tax revenue that it can invest, and it is authorized to build a sports arena.

East Downtown


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St. Luke’s Children’s Pavilion, 305 E. Jefferson St. John Sowell

15. 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 in spring 2018 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, whiich is in its final stages, will more than double the amount of clinical space for treating children.

Construction is now underway on a new central plant and parking garage. The hospital is also adding a new shipping and receving building, which will serve as the hospital’s main delivery drop-off and pick-up point for supplies.

Future improvements include construction of a new hospital tower. St. Luke’s will also modernize the Mountain States Tumor Institute and the children’s hospital and upgrade the current hospital tower.

Construction is also underway on upgrades to the Bannock Street corridor that runs through the campus.

Near North End


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An artist’s rendering of the condominiums and ground floor commercial space planned for the old Baird’s Dry Cleaners site at 8th and Fort streets in Boise. This view shows the Fort Street side of the building. Provided by David Southers

16. The Metropolitan

Developer David Southers plans 31 condominiums in a four-story building at the old Baird’s Dry Cleaners location at 8th and Fort streets in the Near North End.

The Baird’s building was torn down in January and the site has been cleared. Construction has not yet started.

River Street


Afton Condominiums, second phase, 611 S. 8th St. John Sowell

17. The Afton

Thirty-five condominiums are under construction in a second building of The Afton, an upscale complex that opened its first, 28-unit building two years ago north of River Street near Boise’s main library. The new building is on the northeast corner of 9th and River streets just west of the existing building.

Most of the Phase 2 units will have two bedrooms and between 1,200 square feet and 2,000 square feet. Some will be three-bedroom units with about 1,800 square feet.

The Phase 2 building will have a separate entrance at 620 S. 9th St. and its own indoor parking garage. It is scheduled to be completed this fall.

18. River Street Lofts

The River Street Lofts, at the corner of West River Street and South 15th Street, feature walls made with concrete injected into plastic forms. The technique provides superior insulating qualities. Darin Oswald

Energreen Development Co., of McCall, is building 10 three-level condominium units in two buildings on the northwest corner of 15th and River streets.

The buildings are being built using concrete injected into plastic forms. The resulting walls will have insulating properties 50 percent greater than conventional buildings and 35 percent greater than Energy Star standards, developer Tim Nau said.

Five of the condominiums, which are scheduled to be finished later this year, have sales pending. The other five are priced at $420,000 each and have 1,379 square feet apiece.


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Ash Street Workforce Housing, 503 Ash St. John Sowell

19. Ash + River

Ash + River, formerly known as the Ash Street Workforce Housing project, on the northwest corner of Ash and River streets, has 34 rental units — 22 three-story, townhouse-style apartments and 12 flats — plus a small retail area.

The three-story building provides a bridge between Pioneer Corner at 11th and Myrtle streets and a historic house.

A completion ceremony was held earlier this month, and the first residents are moving in, said Taylor Grange, regional portfolio manager for HomeRiver Group Idaho. Listings show market-price units at $1,375 a month for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,850 to $1,950 for three-bedroom units.

A seven-year deed restriction calls for units to be rented to people earning 80% to 120% of the Ada County median income. For a couple, that’s between $47,000 to $88,000 a year. They would pay no more than 35 percent of their income for housing.

The project was developed by Dean Papè of deChase Miksis and Mark Edlen of Portland’s Gerding Edlen.


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A three-dimensional model of Boise’s proposed new main library on the site of the existing library on Capitol Boulevard at River Street. Sven Berg

20. Main Library

The city hoped to break ground this year on a new $85 headquarters library, but that hasn’t happened.

Instead, a citizen’s group opposed to the high cost collected enough signatures to force the issue onto November’s municipal election ballot. The measure from Boise Working Together would require voter approval for projects where the city spends $25 million or more from the general fund. (Boise Working Together is also behind the election on the stadium.)

The new library would replace the current main library at 715 S. Capitol Blvd. and would go in the same spot. Boise brought on world-renowned Safdie Architects, whose projects include the 225,000-square-foot Salt Lake City Public Library, to design it. The library would have 115,000 square feet and would be accompanied by a plaza and an arts and history center.

A cost estimate the city commissioned last year for Safdie’s proposal totaled $104 million, but city officials have said they would hold costs to $85 million, in part by delaying an event space.

The plan until now has been to pay the $85 million with $22 million in city cash reserves, $30 million in long-term lease financing, $18 million in philanthropic donations and $15 million in property taxes from an urban-renewal district to pay for a new parking structure.

Mayor David Bieter has also looked in to paying cash for the city’s lease payments, which could save the city $15 million in interest payments but wouldn’t change the $85 million construction cost.

21. Wilcomb mixed-use building

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This 73-year-old warehouse at River and 8th streets, owned by Wilcomb LCC, would be demolished and replaced by a multistory building with three parking decks to serve the proposed new Boise library across River Street (which the car at right is on). The Foothills School of Arts and Sciences, the building’s most recent tenant, moved this year to another Downtown location. David Staats

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 formerly housed the Foothills School of the Arts and Sciences.

The family previously said the new building would have three levels of parking that the city would buy to serve the new library across River. It might also have ground-level retail, restaurant and/or office space and one to three floors of apartments or condominiums above the parking decks.

But with the library stalled, no applications have been submitted to the city. The Foothills School moved out of the building and relocated to 601 S. 9th St.

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