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Michelin-starred chef’s Boise bar, restaurant and historic boutique hotel moves closer to reality

There’s progress on a Downtown Boise project that we first wrote about in 2016.

Construction on a project to renovate and restore the old Blues Bouquet building in Boise could start construction this fall. A restaurant, bar, and historic hotel would go up in the building at 1010 W. Main St. in Boise. The building has sat vacant for the better part of the last decade. The Blues Bouquet closed in 2010 – and a short-lived attempt at a conversion to the high-end Ice Bouquet quickly fizzled.

The building first went up in 1910 and hosted a theater, bars, restaurants, and a hotel over the years. The top three stories of the building have been vacant since the 1950s.

Cal Elliott bought the building in 2015 and has been at work on a project to restore the hotel back to much of its historic condition, and completed demo work inside. Now, Eliott has joined with longtime Boise developer Michael Hormachea on the project.

CCDC could reimburse costs

On Monday, the pair’s Avery, LLC won preliminary approval from the Capital City Development Corp. for $1.06 million in funding for the project. CCDC will help reimburse costs for upgrades to the streetscape, in the alley – and the building’s facade. The owners will give the City of Boise a permanent easement to the facade – similar to deals in place on other historic buildings in the area like the Idanha, The Owyhee, and the former Bon Marche building (now Athlos Academies).

[Boise contemplating future for expanded dining, 8th Street as COVID-19 wanes]

“The easement runs from the developer to Boise City,” agency attorney Ryan Armbruster said. “That’s a key component of our ability to pay for the facade. It’s up to Boise City’s historic preservation to enforce anything concerning that facade. We simply accommodate the process.”

If CCDC signs off on a final agreement, construction would start in October of this year, with hopes for completion by the end of 2022.

What’s planned

The Avery Boise
The Avery will restore the historic Averyly Building in Downtown Boise at 1010 W. Main St. Via CTY Studio

“Rehabilitation plans include returning the 25,801-sq. ft. vacant building to its original hotel use on upper floors while the ground floor will be restored to bar and restaurant use,” CTY Studio wrote in an application for design review with the City of Boise.

The project would revamp the hotel rooms for 39 boutique-style rooms, versus the original 56. One of Boise’s earliest elevators is in place in the building and would be refurbished and upgraded. The small hotel lobby, adjacent to the old Blues Bouquet, remains largely intact and will be restored.

During Monday’s CCDC hearing, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean lauded the project and asked a question many have asked.

“This is a block we’ve long hoped to see transform,” she said. “I’m glad CCDC can play this role and get this moving.Is the bar inside staying intact? Once upon a time when we could actually go in there, it was pretty beautiful.”

The Avery Boise
The interior of the Bouquet during renovation in 2017. Courtesy Brett Adler

“Yes, we are reusing the existing bar from the Blues Bouquet, and it will be removed and restored and reinstalled with the new restaurant,” Hormachea said.

As we reported in 2020, the first floor will feature two dining establishments. The Avery along Main St. will feature a 90-seat restaurant with a small outdoor patio space. In the back of the building, plans call for Tiners Alley, a bar with access along the alley behind the building.

Elliott, who helms Little Pearl Oyster Bar and formerly operated a Michelin-starred restaurant in NYC heads the project and is overseeing the restaurant concepts.

[‘A lot goes into it:’ Boise-born, New York-trained chef opens local oyster bar]

He told us in 2020 he wants to do something ‘special’ in his hometown of Boise.

“I want to revitalize Main Street and bring it back to its old glory,” he said. “I’ve been practicing cooking in NYC and I want to bring my talents back to Boise, and I think Boise needs a historic hotel.”

Don Day - BoiseDev editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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  • 1010 W. Main St.: The Avery