A proposed project in Garden City would bring the city its tallest building yet — perched right next to the Boise River Greenbelt.
Michael Talbott, a Las Vegas-based developer, hopes to build a boutique hotel and two apartment buildings on land stretching across two blocks from Veterans Memorial Parkway east to 40th Street. Right now, the land — owned by Talbott — is home to a handful of mobile homes and cottage homes.
“When we got there and started looking at the opportunity with the land and the river, we felt it was the perfect location with a great orientation toward the northeast to grab the sun, the mountains and the river,” Talbott said in a telephone interview.
The river is central to the project. Running among the three mixed-use buildings would be a wooden boardwalk fronting the Greenbelt, inspiring the development’s name: The Boardwalk.
The eight-story, 127,000-square-foot hotel would be built next to Veterans Memorial Parkway. It would feature 136 rooms, a pub, a rooftop bar, two retail spaces and an underground parking garage. The hotel would be Garden City’s second along the Greenbelt, after the long-standing Riverside Hotel.
To the east of the hotel would be a five-story apartment building with 209 units and an underground parking garage. The apartments would include a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. Each studio would also feature a staircase leading to a private rooftop terrace, according to renderings created by Erstad Architects.
Facing the river on the apartment building’s ground floor would be five commercial tenant spaces. The fifth floor would feature a restaurant with rooftop seating.
The third building would be alongside 40th Street and away from the Greenbelt, closer to Adams Street. It would be smaller: 62,265 square feet with 70 apartments around a shared courtyard, complete with additional underground parking. The building would feature 43 one-bedroom apartments and 27 two-bedroom apartments.
The project’s architect, Chad Weltzin of Erstad Architects in Boise, said he was inspired by the topography of the river in creating the shapes of the hotel and apartments.
“The stepping back and terracing of each floor not only adds to the visual interest and texture, it also plays into the striations of the river flowing against the land,” he said by phone.
Talbott and Weltzin want to use materials that reflect the natural, wooded setting.
“From the first meeting we had, I told Chad I wanted something that was completely different than any commercial building or residential building you’ve built in town,” Talbott said.
Unique to the project among others in Garden City is the layout of the parking. Where most developers provide only surface parking lots, Talbott wants to get the cars completely out of the way.
“Cars are the least attractive thing in a development,” he said. “By putting it underground, it’s good for the cars, and it’s good for the community.”
Many developers avoid building underground because of the extra cost of engineering and construction. Talbott said that even though his buildings are so close to the river, engineers have found ways to build underground parking.
Talbott declined to say how much he expects the project to cost or what he has already invested in the project.
While this is Talbott’s first development in the Treasure Valley, his company, Vida Properties, also owns other properties around Boise. Vida has also built several commercial projects around Las Vegas, including a 200-unit multifamily community near the Las Vegas Airport. Talbott said he now spends nearly two-thirds of his time in Boise.
Building up the waterfront
Lately, Garden City’s waterfront has become a hotbed for real estate development.
In the past year, new residential projects have sprung up near Veterans Memorial Parkway. Bill Truax of the Galena Opportunity Fund built Parkway Station, which features several townhouses and an apartment building along East 42nd Street. New artist lofts went up in 2017 near the corner of Adams and East 41st Street.
Still, the neighborhood remains mostly industrial. Trucks rumble past carrying gravel and assembled building parts, and low-rise warehouses line naked streets devoid of crosswalk markings.
Talbott believes that this part of town is underdeveloped.
“It’s the treasure of the Valley,” he said. “It’s going to become more and more popular.”
Eventually, Talbott will evict the families living in the houses near Veteran’s Parkway, which he owns.
“I don’t expect anything to happen until the end of next year,” he said.
The project is in the first phase of its city approval process. Talbott plans to meet with Garden City officials on Monday, Oct. 7. The development team will need to get city approval before it can start construction, which Talbott still said could be over a year away.
Garden City Mayor John Evans said he aims to maintain neutrality on projects once they are “in the pipeline,” and is interested to see the specifics of the project.
“I can tell you that having a development that’s thoughtful and takes our comprehensive plan seriously is always welcome,” he said by phone.
Statesman reporter Hayley Harding contributed.