Boise & Garden City

300 condos by Kathryn Albertson Park? What this Boise decision means for Greenbelt

A trip along the Boise Greenbelt could look radically different in the future after the Boise City Council voted to allow new commercial and residential space to be built right next to Kathryn Albertson Park.

The decision Tuesday cleared the way for 304 residential units to be built next to the Greenbelt on Americana Terrace. The buildings would be six stories high and would feature shops and perhaps a coffee shop on the bottom floor.

The project would be built at 3600 Americana Terrace, directly north of Kathryn Albertson Park and west of Ann Morrison Park. It would be built by Boise’s Jayo Holdings on 7.4 acres and would be part of Trapper’s Island. Plans show five buildings with 5,600 square feet of commercial space, 134 one-bedroom condos and 167 two-bedroom condos.

Jayo Holdings originally proposed building 104 condos at the same site more than a decade ago, but the project never came to fruition because of the Great Recession.

Jane Suggs, a land use consultant from engineering firm WH Pacific who spoke on behalf of the project, said the proposed commercial space and public plaza would help keep people in Boise when they are on the Greenbelt, rather than going up to Garden City.

View of the proposed Trapper’s Island condominium project looking south from the Boise River. DG Group Architecture via the city of Boise

The Boise Planning and Zoning Commission originally approved the newest iteration of the project in June with a height limitation of 63 feet, below the 73 feet to 81 feet planned for the six-story buildings.

Suggs said that would require removing a floor, scaling back public amenities and removing the mixed-income units previously proposed.

The applicant appealed that limitation but wasn’t the only ones looking for that decision to be overturned: Joe Scott and Jamie Scott, the grandson and great-granddaughter of Albertsons grocery story founder Joe Albertson and Kathryn Albertson, also appealed the height, saying it would ruin the serenity of Kathryn Albertson Park and degrade their views of both Downtown Boise and the foothills. They argued the project should instead be limited to 45 feet.

Tim Flaherty, president of the Downtown Boise Neighborhood Association, said his neighborhood supported the project because it would offer more amenities while also activating the neighborhood.

“Right now, this property is used by people to sleep overnight who have no homes, and if this project doesn’t go forward, I suspect it will be continued to be used in much the same way,” Flaherty said. “As a neighborhood association, we think a much better use of this space is creating 304 homes with some retail shops where the public can come and enjoy the Greenbelt and our city and our neighborhood.”

Drawing of the proposed Trapper’s Island development. DG Group Architecture via the city of Boise

After much deliberation, the council voted 5-1 to uphold the applicant’s appeal, which removed that 63-foot height restriction but limited the height to 73 feet. That change would still allow all 304 units, the developers said.

The council also voted 5-1 to deny the Scotts’ appeal. Council member Scot Ludwig was the dissenting vote both times.

A real estate agent for the project said that no pricing had yet been set for the condos. Previous Statesman reporting found that nearby condos range in price from $370,000 for a one-bedroom unit up to about $780,000 for a two-bedroom unit.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

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.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.