Canyon County

New restaurants, stores, condos with French-villa touches envisioned for this block

Downtown Nampa gets a wave of renovation to historic buildings

Businesses like PreFunk Beer Bar and Messenger Pizza have been catalysts for new development along First Street. But renovations to downtown Nampa's historic buildings remain costly, making it difficult to attract investment to the area.
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Businesses like PreFunk Beer Bar and Messenger Pizza have been catalysts for new development along First Street. But renovations to downtown Nampa's historic buildings remain costly, making it difficult to attract investment to the area.

A Nampa developer plans to renovate four buildings on a half-block downtown, bringing the city a splash pad, public plaza, amphitheatre, restaurants, stores and about 10 condos.

Mike Mussell, owner of Mussell Construction, bought the site in the 300 Block of 11th Avenue South from Nampa’s urban renewal district for $640,000 in September. He said he expects to spend $5.5 million on renovations to the buildings, which include the former Church of the Brethren/Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church and the former Chamber of Commerce building across from Brick 29 Bistro. He will demolish the building that now houses a Taco Time which is moving to another location downtown.

“It’s a dream,” Mussell told the Idaho Statesman.

His plans include a new pub-style restaurant, to be run by the chef and owner of Brick 29, Dustan Bristol. He will also convert some of the existing buildings to retail and office spaces. Mussell said he is in talks with a salon, barber shop and possibly a Lush beauty store to open businesses in his development.

Mussell said he plans to add a floor with two condos to the church building, bringing it to three stories. The basement of the church could be converted into a food court, where local food trucks could open brick-and-mortar locations.

The church could also feature an event space for weddings. Mussell aims to preserve that space, where he married his wife 30 years ago.

Mike Mussell downtown Nampa block from Google via Kate 1-22-19 Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 6.46.53 PM.jpg
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Plans for the half-block include an amphitheatre, a military memorial and a public plaza. The fountain pictured above would be replaced with a splash pad, said developer Mike Mussell. Provided by Mike Mussell

He also plans to build a second story atop the old Chamber of Commerce Building for condos, with eight to 10 units in all.

Inspired by European villas, Mussell’s design incorporates stucco and brick, and it features a small clock tower in the middle.

Mussell has redeveloped downtown buildings before. In 2018, he renovated the old Nampa Public Library building, which he bought from the Nampa Development Corp. for $1. His design preserved the 1919 building’s sandstone exterior, crown molding and skylights.

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Nampa builder Mike Mussell said he looked to pictures of French villas for inspiration when planning out the renovations. Provided by Mike Mussell

Mussell said he aims to finish construction on the 11th Avenue site in summer 2020. He hopes to eventually donate the splash pad and plaza to the city when the development is complete.

While Mussell has long been developing in the Treasure Valley, he said that he hopes to focus on more community-oriented projects like this as he nears the twilight of his career.

“I’m going to do as much as I can in the next five to 10 years, and then I’ll probably be done,” Mussell said.

Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling reflects on her first 100 days in office. She wants to encourage infill for more Downtown living, develop an industrial area, and champion Nampa's North End-like neighborhoods.

Brick 29 Bistro located in Nampa has gone to new heights moving their restaurant from the basement of Masonic Lodge #29 to its brand new third floor. The space features rows of windows and rustic touches.

Kate reports on West Ada and Canyon County for the Idaho Statesman. She previously wrote for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Providence Business News. She has been published in The Atlantic and BuzzFeed News. Kate graduated from Brown University with a degree in urban studies.
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