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Offices to housing? Boise eyes old office building for affordable homes

The City of Boise is eyeing another property for affordable housing development. 

On Tuesday, Boise City Council approved a sale agreement to purchase a 5,200 square foot office building at 200 N 23rd Street in the hopes of adapting it into housing. The city will spend the next 90 days evaluating all aspects of the property before closing at the sale price of $799,000.

[CCDC hears proposals for affordable housing in west downtown]

The property would become part of the city’s affordable housing land trust, which uses city-owned land to do public-private partnerships with affordable housing developers. The city owning the land makes the projects cheaper for developers to purchase, and easier to have lower rents, and it also allows the city to set the terms for the project.

The project’s current zoning allows 12 units, which could be increased by using the city’s new Housing Bonus Ordinance.

More housing near services

It is located on the western edge of downtown between Bannock and Idaho streets, near a range of services. If the property is purchased, the memo said the city would use the Energize Our Neighborhoods team to seek feedback from the community on design.

“The site will increase housing affordability opportunities in an area with amenities and transit within walking and biking distance,” the agenda memo item said. “Surrounded by existing single-family and multi-family residential, as well as several neighborhood-serving commercial uses, the property is located across from Fairview Park, two blocks from the nearest bus stop, and near Whittier Elementary and Madison Early Childhood Center.”

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. Last 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.

Boise also moved to purchase four undeveloped parcels inside of the Hillcrest Shopping Center on the Central Bench to develop affordable housing for $2.475 million in October.

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev senior reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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