An entire city block covered mostly in parking lots in downtown Boise could get a makeover in the next few years.
On Thursday, the Ada County Board of Commissioners met with staff from urban renewal agency Capital City Development Corporation to discuss redeveloping the block between Front, 3rd, 5th, and Grove streets. It’s unknown what kind of development could come to the area, but CCDC is considering commercial office space, retail, housing, and an additional public parking garage.
A triangle-shaped lot owned by Ada County, currently used for parking, takes up a large portion of the area. It also contains the CW Moore building, a multi-story office building with Zee’s Rooftop Cafe on the roof, as well as parking lots surrounding the tower, a gravel lot and a small, older apartment complex.
Parking garage = more room to build
Because the triangle shape of Ada County’s parking lot makes it difficult to develop, CCDC Development Director Doug Woodruff hopes to bring together the other parcels on the block and eventually put out a request for proposals for other developers to build on it. The possibility of CCDC extending 4th street down into the block to create more accessibility for the center of the area is also on the table.
By adding a public parking garage, it allows all of the spaces on the site to be located in a smaller space and free up more of the block for redevelopment.
“The benefits of this is when we look at doing a large scale public parking structure on the triangular lot it results in a building layout that’s inefficient and increases the cost per stall to construct it,” Woodruff said. “There’s benefit in squaring up these lots, not only to increase how much can be built, but lowering the cost of parking and other infrastructure that goes in.”
There are few specifics about what the redevelopment could look like and what portions of the land will be included in a project. Ada County Commissioner Rod Beck asked if this means the CW Moore building will be demolished and Woodruff said it would allow landowners “options” to participate in redevelopment, but not demolition. It is also unknown how this will impact the apartment complex on the block.
Bringing public property onto the tax rolls
Commissioner Kendra Kenyon said it would not be a good use of funds to try and build county offices on the lot because of the high cost of development in downtown Boise, issues with parking and the need for more decentralized services elsewhere in the county to meet the community’s needs.
“I love the idea this would be a community collaborative asset for everyone and it wouldn’t just be another admin (building) for the county and that this would be a bigger vision that a lot of people could benefit from,” she said. “I love the idea of partnering with CCDC because then it would be piecemealed out and you’d get a hodgepodge of things.”
CCDC completed a Phase 1 environmental study of the triangle lot, which came back inconclusive for contamination from previous industrial uses in the area and there is a second phase ongoing to find out if remediation will be required. If so, CCDC will cover the cost of remediation before a private developer purchases it and begins building.
Ada County’s triangle lot will be appraised soon in preparation for its potential sale to CCDC.
The area is located in the River Myrtle urban renewal district, which is set to sunset and revert back to the City of Boise’s control in 2025. CCDC Executive Director John Brunelle said it’s likely CCDC will not see much revenue from this project, but it meets their mission to help grow the tax base.
“We think CCDC is appropriately sanctioned with its mission to come in and assist Ada County with its needs and also the private sector, unlock the privately owned adjacent parcels and make some really good things for the taxpaying public,” Brunelle said.