Boise & Garden City

Developer backs off Garden City condos near river after 'brutal' neighborhood meeting

Garden City developer plans revitalization project at 34th and Carr Streets

Hannah Ball, owner of Urban Land Developers in Garden City, shares a vision to create a thriving community in GC.
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Hannah Ball, owner of Urban Land Developers in Garden City, shares a vision to create a thriving community in GC.

A neighborhood meeting last week helped change the future of a 0.7-acre triangle in Garden City's rapidly developing Waterfront District.

McCall-based Energreen Development Co. is going back to the drawing board after neighbors complained loudly about its plan for a 36-unit, four-and-a-half-story condominium building on the lot between Adams Street, Prospect Way and Water Pocket Lane, said Greg Allen, the project's architect.

"I mean, it was a brutal meeting," Allen said.

Energreen wasn't required to hold the meeting, he said, but did so as a courtesy to the neighbors.

A perceived lack of parking was one of the neighbors' most common complaints, said Bryant Forrester, a real estate agent who will market the development. The Waterfront District was designed to have fewer parking spaces than most housing developments of its size, Forrester said, because developer Jim Neill anticipated residents frequently walking or biking to their destinations. The district borders the Boise River across from Boise's Whitewater Park, to which it is linked by a footbridge.

Instead of condominiums, Energreen is now considering about 16 two-floor townhouses, each on top of a two-car garage, Allen and Forrester said. Those homes are easier to finance than condominiums. They likely would be more expensive than condominiums.

Forrester said he doesn't know how much the homes will cost by the time they're done. But new housing in the district reflects the affluence of its buyers: The nearby Waterhouse Row complex of 33 townhomes, planned to open late this year, will be around $350,000 for smaller units and between $650,000 and $700,000 for larger ones, Forrester has said.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the popularity of the new businesses and high-end homes opening in Garden City’s Waterfront District is their promixity to the Boise Whitewater Park, accessible by footbridge. Boise Parks and Recreation wave technician Paul Primus surfs on a wave he helped shape.

Energreen has canceled a June 18 hearing on the project before Garden City's Design Review Committee, Allen said. The company had hoped to finish the project by late 2019 or early 2020, Forrester said, but converting the plan from condos likely would delay that.

The Waterfront District was the brainchild of Neill, who since 2004 has planned hundreds of standalone houses, townhomes and apartments in the area around 36th Street near the south side of the Boise River. Other builders have completed most of those homes.

The Waterfront and the area around it, sometimes called Garden City's East End, have become a hot spot for development in recent years, with commercial and residential projects wrapping up, under construction or in the planning stages. Forrester said property in that area is among the most desired in Ada County. first reported Energreen's condominium proposal.