Boise & Garden City

It was going to be a gas station. Now Boise may buy this land and turn it into housing.

Old Franklin School Site - Past and Present

Maverik Inc. planned to build a store on the southwest corner of Franklin Road and Orchard Street. The city of Boise planned a park on the adjoining piece of ground on that block. In early 2019, Boise prepared to buy the Maverik site to develop it.
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Maverik Inc. planned to build a store on the southwest corner of Franklin Road and Orchard Street. The city of Boise planned a park on the adjoining piece of ground on that block. In early 2019, Boise prepared to buy the Maverik site to develop it.

Maverik Inc. is looking to sell its land at the corner of West Franklin Road and South Orchard Street — and the Boise City Council is looking to buy.

The council on Tuesday will consider a resolution to buy the 4.73-acre site where the historic Franklin School once stood. The price: $1.855 million.

“The property has great potential for housing,” said Mike Journee, communications director for Boise Mayor David Bieter.

He said it could also be used for mixed-use development, including retail or potentially subsidized housing. The property is across the street from a Fred Meyer store and on ValleyRide’s No. 6 Orchard bus route.

Maverik originally bought the land in 2015 and intended to use it as a location for a new gas station. The company shelved that plan after controversy about bringing a gas station and convenience store next to the three-acre Franklin Park, which was dedicated in June 2018 but remains primarily open space.

franklin park 1.JPG
When fully developed, the three-acre Franklin Park will include bocce courts, a picnic shelter, restrooms and a playground. The park is behind several parcels that Maverik Inc. bought along Franklin Street, to the north, and Orchard Street, to the east. Maverik planned to build a convenience store and gas station on the Franklin-Orchard corner but shelved that plan. The street parcels and the park were formerly the site of the Franklin School. Provided by Boise Parks and Recreation

The city purchase would give the council “a lot more opportunity to shape the development” of it, Journee said. The council will collaborate with the Central Bench Neighborhood Association to ensure that what is built benefits both the neighborhood and the city, he said.

Randy Johnson, president of the Central Bench Neighborhood Association, said he’s excited to see what comes next for the property.

“We’ve already started the conversation about what we’d like to see there,” Johnson said.

Johnson would like to see a new library branch, as well as affordable housing.

Franklin Elementary School.jpg
The Boise School District tore down the old Franklin Elementary School in 2009 and sold the land. Joe Jaszewski

Nic Miller, Boise’s director of economic development, said the effort to buy the property began in January after he saw that Maverik had it listed for sale. “It’s an important corner in our city,” Miller said.

If the purchase is approved, there will be a 90-day period while the city does due diligence to ensure it will go forward with the purchase. Tom Schofield, assistant general counsel for Maverik, said that is standard for a land deal.

The council will decide whether to approve the resolution at its noon meeting on Tuesday, March 26, at Boise City Hall.

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Hayley covers local government for the Idaho Statesman with a primary focus on Boise. Previously, she worked for the Salisbury Daily Times, the Hartford Courant, the Denver Post and McClatchy’s D.C. bureau. Hayley graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and political science.

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