West Ada

300 apartments, townhouses in Eagle were proposed. Criticism followed. Now they’re back

Revised plans for Molinari Park bring the project further in line with Eagle’s design codes. Above, views of the retail hub that would anchor the development.
Revised plans for Molinari Park bring the project further in line with Eagle’s design codes. Above, views of the retail hub that would anchor the development. Provided by Pivot North Design

A developer aiming to get ahead of the need for workforce housing in Eagle is proposing the suburb’s most ambitiously dense mixed-use project yet.

Greg McVay of Boise is proposing a 25-acre development called Molinari Park near the southeast corner of South 2nd Street and East Plaza Drive in Eagle’s downtown. It calls for 91 townhouses and 216 apartments, as well as pedestrian-oriented commercial space.

Most of Eagle’s new residential growth has come in the form of single-family houses. The city’s property values are among the highest in the Treasure Valley. But as Eagle grows, so does its demand for workers who can serve those higher-income households in the retail and food services industries.

“We want to provide a community where you can live, work and play,” said John King, the architect with Pivot North Architecture in Boise who is working with McVay. “This will provide a variety of housing price points.”

The development would include three four-story buildings with 111 two- and three-bedroom apartments and 89 studio and one-bedroom apartments. It would include a three-story building with 13 apartments and a retail hub with 5,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and three apartments above.

The 91 townhouses would be grouped across 17 buildings.

Building denser housing will allow Eagle to preserve some of its open space and farmland, King said. He said he and McVay used the city’s comprehensive plan, a planning document that encourages multifamily development at the proposed site, to inform the project’s design.

The neighborhood is meant to be walkable, too, which could help alleviate car traffic there, he added. In addition to bike lanes running through the development, Molinari Park would include a 0.8-acre public park.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the project at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Eagle City Hall, 660 E Civic Lane.

This is the second time the project will go before the city council. McVay and King were forced to revise their plans for the development after an initial public hearing in November. One council member called the design “plain,” and others argued that the developer requested too many variations from Eagle’s design code.

McVay and King eliminated 38 apartments from the original plan and reduced the height of the three apartment buildings from five stories to four.

But they didn’t agree with all of the council’s requests. The city asked that the developers provide structured parking to allow for additional open space. They also asked that McVay include designs for a bus rapid-transit shelter in the development. They declined to do both, though in their application they wrote that they would include a bus stop at minimum.

The look has also changed dramatically since the first public proposal, which featured minimalist white townhouses with steep pitched rooftops and windows of varying sizes meant to draw from the architectural elements of barns in the surrounding farmland.

King said the new design of the apartments is not set in stone. Even if the City Council approves the project Tuesday, the developers will still have to go before Eagle’s Design Review Committee before they can start building.

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.