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New space for Opera Idaho envisioned in Downtown Boise

Ther Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy wants to revamp a building it owns on 9th Street in Boise. Permit filings with the City of Boise show the arts organization wants to remodel and expand the Falk & Co. Building on 9th St. and Miller St.

The permit would “modify the existing building into a versatile space for the rehearsal and office operations of Opera Idaho,” according to a letter from Samantha Boucher of Erstad Architects. “To suit the needs of the opera, a large interior portion of the main level will be opened up and heightened.”

Work would include a new internal framework, which would open up a 65-foot long space, and raise the building by eight feet.

“The new taller portion will feature clerestory windows on the northwest and southeast walls to provide much-needed daylight to the rehearsal space. The southeast wall is set back enough that not much of this will be visible from the street level along 9th,” Boucher wrote. “The northwest windows will be visible from the alley side.”

[No stadium for downtown Boise, but big new project proposed in its place]

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The building will also get new office space for Opera Idaho, and new fire sprinklers will go in. An existing basement crawl space would see an upgrade for storage.

The Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy purchased the building last year. First built in 1950, the Falk & Co. warehouse stored candy and tobacco for the one-time Boise retail giant. In recent years, the building housed Mountain Pacific Machinery. It sits between the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy to the east and The Shredder to the west.

The application asks for staff-level design review for the proposed changes.

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