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Boise could add affordable housing on old Bench Fred Meyer site

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City Council Tuesday with Margaret Carmel

The City of Boise hopes to to make another land purchase for affordable housing.

On Tuesday, the Boise City Council approved the purchase of four undeveloped parcels in the corner of the Hillcrest Shopping Center on Overland Road for $2.475 million. If the city finalizes the sale, it will one of several the city purchased for its upcoming affordable housing land trust.

[Boise looks at ideas to incentivize affordable housing in new projects]

The city has 90 days to evaluate all aspects of the property before the sale is final.

Development of the site would be completed through a public-private partnership determined through a request for proposals process. If the project moves ahead, the city’s Energize Our Neighborhood’s Program would complete public outreach to plan for the specifications.

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The parcels are located at 1520 Phillippi Street in the corner of the shopping center, the site of a former Fred Meyer store, torn down a decade ago.

The shopping center also includes the Hillcrest branch of the Boise Public Library, and an Albertsons. It is down the hill from an intersection with two bus routes. The idea of changing the zoning so housing could be built inside the commercial shopping center on the undeveloped lot was floated by former Bieter administration staff in 2018 as part of the “Grow Our Housing” plan. Aside from a few passing mentions in city council meetings, no concrete action on the concept moved ahead until now.

[A love letter to the Boise Bench: Why I love this always-changing part of Idaho]

Boise’s land purchases also include $1.8 million for the 4.7 acres on the corner of Franklin Road and Orchard Street in 2019, which is set for roughly 210 units of affordable housing ranging from one to three-bedroom units. Earlier this summer, the city also purchased a roughly one-acre parcel at the intersection of Arthur and State streets for $765,000. This is the former site of long-standing barbecue restaurant Smokey Davis.

Margaret Carmel
Margaret is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at margaret@boisedev.com or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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