Developers of ‘urban cottages’ in Garden City say niche is working-class families who want to live closer to work, river

Want to live in a new house near the Boise River or Downtown Boise, but can’t afford it? You’re not alone.

NeighborWorks Boise, a nonprofit previously known as Neighborhood Housing Services, is building a 24-unit “pocket neighborhood,” at 36th and Carr streets in Garden City, just a couple blocks from the Waterfront District. It’s a high-density infill project on a 2-acre lot.

City officials joined the developers for a celebratory groundbreaking at the site Thursday afternoon.

“I’m here to state that the National Association of Homebuilders is not correct when they say that affordable housing, entry level housing, is dead,” said Joe Swenson, CEO of NeighborWorks Boise. “We’re going to prove that you can still make a moderate income as a working family or an individual, and afford a home that’s close in to what matters to you.”

Swenson said a “pocket neighborhood” has 12 to 13 units per acre – higher density than the four to five per acre of a traditional subdivision. He said there will be 12 different plan types to choose from, ranging from 616 square feet to 2,000 square feet.

“Our main suit will be about 600 to 1,200 square feet in what we are calling ‘urban cottages,’” he said.

Final prices haven’t been set, but Swenson said the cost of the cottages will be $160,000 or less and the single-family detached homes and townhouses will top out at $225,000. There will also be six live-work units (designed for artists and business owners) that will range from $250,000 to $275,000.

A homeowner association will handle maintenance of the grounds. Swenson said the site is just 450 paces from the Boise River.

“The idea is letting people to get back to what really matters. Be close to the things where they like to go – their jobs, school, to just hang out and recreate,” he said. “So that’s why we’re trying to do this, to help people to get off the freeways. Also to help our environment.”

Construction on the development will begin Friday. The first units are expected to be completed by October or November. For more information, contact Realtor Joyce Little, 371-7200.