Boise & Garden City

Boise, partners eye 120-unit affordable homes project near Downtown

A lack of affordable housing in the Treasure Valley was one problem a group of local business, government and nonprofit leaders identified after a series of meetings last year on homelessness and housing.

Developers are planning or building several new apartment projects in the area, but most of them offer apartments that are more expensive than average. It might take years for the new supply to soften prices at older complexes.

The risk of Downtown Boise turning into the province of the well-to-do is especially keen.

That’s why the city of Boise is working on a plan that would add 120 apartments near Downtown that would cost no more than 30 percent of income for people making 50 percent or less of Boise’s median income. For example, a family of four with an income of $30,650 or less would qualify.

Most of the details of this program have yet to be hashed out. Its general outline foresees the city contributing a 2.5-acre lot it owns south of Fairview Avenue between 24th and 25th streets, as well as some of the money it receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for affordable housing programs, to the project. Thomas Development Co. would oversee construction, and Northwest Integrity Housing would operate it.

The City Council is set to approve an agreement that amounts to the first step in negotiating this project’s details, including timetable, cost and who pays what, city spokesman Mike Journee said.

“There’s a lot of demand, but we’re chipping away at it,” Journee said. “And finding ways to succeed. One of the most important things about this is proof of concept.”