Boise’s urban renewal agency is planning an affordable housing project to spur more development on the western edge of downtown.
On Monday, the board of Capital City Development Corporation gave the green light for the urban renewal agency’s staff to start planning to look for a developer to build a mixed-use project on the block at the corner of 10th and State streets. In exchange for two parcels and an up to $10 million bond, the agency hopes for a developer to build a 100 housing unit project with rents for residents making between 80% and 100% of the area median income, a parking structure to accommodate bicycles and electric cars and a ground floor commercial space.
The project would take up two parcels CCDC purchased in 2017 at 429 N 10th Street and the 1010 West Jefferson Street. The parcels include surface parking, as well as an office building and the former Idaho Sporting Goods. The block is located directly south of the downtown location for the Treasure Valley YMCA.
Commissioner Dana Zuckerman called the development of the block “a big project,” and CCDC Assistant Director for Placemaking and Infrastructure Doug Woodruff called it ‘transformative’ for the entire section of downtown.
“There’s a lot of opportunity here for catalytic development to occur,” Woodruff said.
A growing corner of downtown
The agency had a “transformative” project for the Westside Urban Renewal District in its budget a few times in recent years, but repeatedly pushed it back. The district will terminate in 2026, which will mark an end to CCDC using its funds for projects in the area.
This region of downtown has a range of ongoing projects, including the upcoming construction of the 11th Street bikeway to connect the North End into the downtown through Boise High School. Boise developer Rafanelli & Nahas will complete a nine-story office building at 11th and Idaho late this year, and the westside urban park next door will open next year.
Woodruff said the plan is to work with property owners in the area and the City of Boise to develop the specifics of the request for proposals and issue it in April 2021. CCDC says it will select a developer in July and construction could begin in 2022.
Mayor Lauren McLean, who also serves as a CCDC commissioner, praised the agency’s plans to focus on a mix of uses, as well as housing at all a variety of price points in the location.
“I do want to emphasize to the (commission) we look at a mix of use here and as much housing as possible while meeting the other needs in this area,” she said.
What about the YMCA?
The agency did not mention the YMCA during its Monday public meeting, but records obtained by BoiseDev.com show they have been in talks with the agency about the project across the street.
In August, CCDC met with YMCA staff and presented its proposal for the project. The information contained in the CCDC presentation to the Y mirrored information presented to CCDC’s board on Oct. 11, the records show. The urban renewal agency also hired Seattle-based consulting firm Heartland, LLC to complete a feasibility study to evaluate the possibility of CCDC developing the site alone, in conjunction with the YMCA or “co-development” by a range of neighborhood stakeholders.
The agency provided documents to BoiseDev under Idaho’s public records law. CCDC elected not to use its ability under state to waive fees to provide the documents for public scrutiny and we paid for the release of the information.
The findings of the feasibility study, which agency spokeswoman Jordyn Neerdaels called “pretty old,” called CCDC and the YMCA “natural partners” for redeveloping the site due to their converging timelines to complete a project and the nonprofit’s large ownership. She said the agency changed course to go ahead with an RFP without the YMCA due to a variety of factors. The YMCA owns a parking lot on the same block as the two CCDC parcels. The State of Idaho also owns an additional parking lot on the block.
CCDC started a process last year to look at expanding the westside district to include the YMCA property as well as nearby Boise High School.
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“There were some discussions with property owners in the area and looking at a bunch of different scenarios and ideas for the future, but as with a lot of things COVID and the pandemic threw a wrench in those ideas and scenarios and CCDC with our district sunsetting in five years had to look at a new approach so the RFP process seemed like the best foot forward,” Neerdaels said.
YMCA representatives did not immediately return BoiseDev’s request for comment.