Few projects get a warm welcome quite like a proposal for an apartment building on State Street did this week.
On Tuesday night, first-time developer Matthew Clark asked Boise City Council for a rezone to build a seven-story apartment building with 105 studio apartments to the corner of 16th and State Street. The project, which will replace a 76 gas station, was lauded by council members, neighbors and other supporters for its affordable and workforce rents, proximity to public transit, jobs and other services within walking and biking distance.
It was approved unanimously by council and all but one of the neighbors participating in the public hearing supported the project wholeheartedly.
“I am so completely and utterly impressed with this project,” Council Member TJ Thomson said, seconds after the public hearing ended.
Workforce rents, walkable neighborhood
The mixed-use project will have commercial space on the first floor, parking on the second and the apartments on the top five floors. Clark said it will also include bike parking and a repair area, along with units with large windows, high ceilings and balconies to set as much light and air into the small apartments as possible.
The rent rates for the apartments are not set yet, but Clark said they are considering in the $1,000 to $1,300 range and he is open to accepting Sec. 8 housing choice vouchers. Clark said the goal for the project is to serve Boiseans making between 80% and 100% of the area median income, which is between $41,900 and $52,375 for a single adult.
Clark also plans to have 5% of the units in the project be restricted to those in that income range.
“This project is not million-dollar condos, it’s workforce housing,” Clark said.
Multiple supportive neighbors
The project’s density, location and rental rates earned it rave reviews from residents who testified during the public hearing. Drew Alexander, who lives less than 1,000 feet from the site, said the project is what he dreamed would pop up nearby.
“This is the exact type of project I had in mind for the past decade happening near my home,” he said. “It will set the pace for State Street and bring more support for its future.”
City Council President Elaine Clegg noted there had been some objections to the project because of potential traffic impacts. But, she said a gas station generates significantly higher daily vehicle trips than Clark’s proposal for housing geared toward walk and bikeability.
Darby Webb, the lone dissenter in the hearing, said the height of the building is not appropriate for the edge of the historic North End.
“In the surrounding several blocks, there are no units of this magnitude and a few that are three, to four and five stories,” she said. “This is such a large-scale building and will take away from the neighborhood feel.”