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NeighborWorks plans 39 affordable homes in ‘pocket’ of old Cole school site

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A developer hopes to slide a small neighborhood into a ‘pocket’ on the site of the historic former Cole Elementary School.

BoiseDev Project Tracker

  • Cole School site redevelopment

    Click here for details, information & past stories

The Boise School District tore down the historic school more than a decade ago, over the complaints of neighbors and preservation activists. The site remained vacant in the years since.

Now, another phase of an ongoing set of projects on the site would add 39 cottage homes to a portion of the school site that once served as an open play field.

[Plan calls for apartments on site of Fairview Burlington, Big O]

Pocket neighborhood

“The ColeBluff Cottages is planned as a ‘pocket neighborhood,'” Tamara Thompson with The Land Group wrote in an application letter. “Pocket neighborhoods grew out of the desire by many to move closer to where they work and play. To keep things at an appropriate scale, so neighbors know their neighbors, and so cars don’t dominate the streetscape. These single-family locations allow buyers to obtain their ‘American dream’ in a more compact setting within existing neighborhoods.”

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The cottages will vary from one to three stories, in different configurations including 6-plex, 5-plex, triplex, duplex and single units.

“The home design will be a traditional cottage style,” Thompson wrote. “Charming exterior details include a variety of materials and coordinating color palette, spacious windows, entrance awnings and shingled roofs, all adding to an interesting variation in material, color, texture and pattern.”

(Editor’s note: Due to changes in the City of Boise’s online permit system, we cannot link you to the application letter or other documents).

NeighborWorks’ plan

ColeBluff Cottages
ColeBluff Cottages site plan. Via The Land Group

Thompson said the non-profit developer wants to honor the demolished school

“NeighborWorks Boise recognizes the heritage of the previous site being Cole Elementary and are looking to incorporate ways to honor the history of the previous land usage. The name Bluff being incorporated in the subdivision name as this area was noted in historic documents.”

NeighborWorks Boise, the non-profit dedicated to affordable housing, developed several other pocket neighborhoods, including the Hawthorne Street Cottages and 40th St. Cottages. Those housing developments catered to folks in need of affordably-priced housing.

Elsewhere on the site, a new Primary Health clinic opened earlier this year. Developers also plan a future Maverik convenience store and gas station, as well as a car wash, on the site.

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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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