Boise & Garden City

ESI buys land in Boise’s Central Addition


Engineered Structures Inc., which has built some of the Treasure Valley’s highest-profile projects in recent years, has no immediate plans to put any buildings on the land it bought recently on the east side of 4th Street between Myrtle and Broad streets, said Neil Nelson, the company’s president.

For now, ESI will install a parking lot on the land, Nelson said. The company is considering making it a paid lot.

Scot Ludwig, a Boise city councilman, attorney and developer, sold ESI the land. He said the total area is about 37,000 square feet. Neither he nor Nelson would say how much ESI paid.

The land Ludwig sold was once the location of a group of large historic homes that were emblematic of the Central Addition’s heyday. In 2013, a fire damaged the homes, and they were demolished.

Platted in 1890, the Central Addition neighborhood was briefly one of Boise’s most prestigious. Prominent residents included merchants, jewelers, Idaho Supreme Court Justice George Stewart, U.S. Marshal Frank Ramsey and Idaho Secretary of State Charles Bassett.

A depot was built on Front Street in 1893, exposing the Central Addition’s residents to the noise of trains and crowds. The neighborhood declined, and soon it was home to almost exclusively working-class families. Over the past 100 years, decline became decay, with many of its proud homes abandoned.

Ludwig said he was a little sad to give up the property. He had hoped to develop it with a mixed-use or office project that would spur more development in the Central Addition, which enjoys proximity to Downtown but has yet to return to its former glory.

A block to the west, Los Angeles-based developer LocalConstruct is building a 159-unit apartment complex.

ESI specializes in major buildings. While much of its business is out of state, its local projects include Eighth & Main, Idaho’s tallest building; Downtown’s City Center Plaza; Nampa Public Library; and several buildings on the Boise State University campus.