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Proposal would bring Garden City’s tallest buildings: riverfront hotel, apartments, rooftop bar, and a Greenbelt ‘boardwalk’

ICCU: Business Unusual

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  • The Boardwalk

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Michael Talbott couldn’t believe what he found.

“I think that people are starting to realize that it is the treasure of the Treasure Valley. We are trying to bring people to it.”

Nestled along the Greenbelt in Garden City, Talbott acquired several large parcels of land. Largely – but not entirely – empty, the land gave birth to an idea Talbott hopes to bring to life. If it comes to life, it would be the tallest building in Garden City, as well as just one of two hotels in town and one of the only rooftop bars in the Treasure Valley.

“Amenities and housing in that area are a no brainer – you can put a community in there versus just a site development.”

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Working with Erstad Architects, Talbott’s Vida Properties hopes to build a significant multi-faceted project along a booming part of the Boise River.

The Boardwalk, as he calls the project, would include a boutique hotel, two apartment buildings, bars, cafes and more.

The centerpiece of the project gives it its name.

“The Boardwalk — it’s a unique thing. You have the Greenbelt,” he said emphasizing ‘belt.’ “We want you to step up on the boardwalk. It will have some sort of planking like you might see along the ocean. It will delineate it from the Greenbelt.”

The Boardwalk apartments Garden City
Rendering of The Boardwalk apartments along the Boise Greenbelt. Via Erstad Architects

Talbott remembers hearing stories about the boardwalk his mother visited in Laguna Beach, California – and he wants to bring that spirit to the Boise River.

In the center of the property, he plans a 209-unit apartment building. The lower floor along the Greenbelt would feature retail and restaurants. A fifth-floor bar or restaurant space would serve up sweeping views of the Boise Front.

“People can bike ride up to this thing, get some food, maybe bring their dogs,” Chad Weltzin of Erstad said.

A new Garden City hotel

The Boardwalk hotel Garden City
Rendering of proposed unnamed boutique hotel along the Boise River. Via Erstad Architects

The Boardwalk would include three separate buildings. The first, next to Veteran’s Memorial Parkway and the Boise River would bring an 8-story hotel to Garden City.

The hotel, which Talbott envisions as a boutique property, would include 136 rooms. It would also include a number of special features, include a fifth-floor banquet room, a two-tiered pool and jacuzzi area, a 47-seat bar on the 8th floor and more.

Along the Greenbelt, the hotel would feature two retail spaces plus a spot for a pub with indoor and outdoor dining.

“The lowe area with pubs and outdoor cafes, all the doors slide open so on a nice day the hotel building is wide open to the pub and the plaza,” Talbott said.

He said they have not yet identified an operator for the hotel yet. It would be the area’s third boutique hotel, after the Inn at 500 Capitol and Hotel 43 in Downtown Boise. Hendricks Commercial Properties also told BoiseDev last week it planned a boutique-type hotel Downtown.

Pat Rice with the Greater Boise Auditorium District tracks hotel trends in Boise. The district derives a portion of its revenue from room tax collected on properties within its boundary – including the proposed Boardwalk property.

“I think there’s probably an opportunity for another hotel like this,” he said. “Boutique properties are just that – that’s why I think it’s certainly would be an opportunity particularly if you have riverfront property that you could tie into and do something with the Greenbelt. I don’t think being downtown would determine success or failure. “

New apartment buildings

Rendering of the Boardwalk apartment building along 41st St. Via Erstad Architects

Talbott said his interest in the project started with looking to acquire existing apartment properties in the Boise area. When he couldn’t find the right project, he decided to start from the ground up.

The Boardwalk project would include two separate apartment projects.

The first, along the Greenbelt, would also feature retail and restaurant space like the adjacent hotel building. A rooftop restaurant is planned for this building.

The five-story building plan shows 209 units – most studio or one-bedroom configurations. A 219-space parking garage would sit underground, with a few visitor parking spaces for visitors. Altogether, the projects would include 451 parking spaces, with 387 underground and 64 surface spots.

A fitness center and roof deck serve as amenities for tenants. The rents will be at market rate according to Talbott – not necessarily luxury, but in-line with the prevailing rate.

Some of the studio units include a unique configuration.

“They would be small studios below, stair up to private roof deck,” project architect Chad Weltzin said. “Part of the reason was to make unique units, but it also keeps the mass down so it feels like a shorter building and differentiates the massing of the building.”

Talbott said it was important to put an eye toward design for the entire proposal.

“We wanted this to be very different from any other apartment or mixed-use property. There are so many different things going on than if you’d want if you’d done sheer wall construction.”

The two buildings along the river echo its design with a wavy form.

“We wanted to incorporate the effect of the river,” Weltzin said. “The way we are curving these buildings it almost looks like the erosion of the river on the land.”

The site will also include a second apartment building known as 406 Place. This one will sit behind the larger waterfront buildings. Plans show 71 apartment units with a total of about 98 bedrooms in one and two-bedroom configurations. The five-story building also includes underground parking for 79 cars.

The road ahead

Project site map. Via Erstad Architects

Talbott said he doesn’t have a timeframe to start construction. He spoke with Garden City’s mayor last week and started the application process.

“We will start with the entitlements. It could be next year or the year after,” he said. “We will wait until it looks good and hopefully that’s soon – but I’m not under any time pressure.”

To make the project a reality, about a dozen cottage homes and 16 mobile homes on the property will have to be torn down or moved.

“We’re going to try and help them as best we can,” Talbott said of the people living in the homes on the site. He said he is working with Garden City officials on ideas to find new sites for some of the mobile homes.

“We really hope to clean up the river and make it more accessible for everyone,” he said.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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