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You Asked: Is Boise’s affordable apartment complex at Franklin & Orchard still in the works?

In 2019, BoiseDev first told you about a City of Boise plan to redevelop the vacant former Franklin School site at Franklin Rd. and Orchard St. on the Boise Bench. The plan started under former Mayor Dave Bieter and took shape under Mayor Lauren McLean.

Last summer, McLean and Utah firm J. Fisher announced its plan for the site, with a mix of affordable housing, walk-up units, retail, and even a space for food trucks, wrapping around the city’s existing park on the site.

[Explain this to me: Boise’s affordable housing land trust]

More than two years later, the site remains vacant with no signs of construction activity.

The City of Boise says the project is still a go, and groundbreaking could happen this fall, according to the city’s senior communications manager Lana Graybeal.

The city owns the land and put the project through a competitive bid process to select J. Fisher. The city will lease the project to J. Fisher, which will construct and operate it.

Over the past year, the project went through the city’s process for approval – gaining the OK for rezone and a planned unit development permit last fall and design review approval this spring. Building permit applications went into the city earlier this week, and have not yet been issued.

Moda Franklin (and Orchard)

Moda Franklin Boise
Rendering of townhomes at Moda Franklin in Boise, ID. Courtesy J. Fisher

The project, which J. Fisher now calls Moda Franklin, according to filings, features multiple buildings front both Franklin and Orchard. It would include 71 one-bedroom units, 113 two-bedroom apartments, and 21 three-bedroom models for a total of 360 bedrooms.

An application letter filed this spring indicates it will include 205 apartment units, “designed to accommodate individuals making 60% of the AMI.”

[Boise wants affordable housing. Attempts keep falling through and leaders are looking to city-owned properties]

AMI, or area median income, is currently $75,300 for a family of four. According to city guidelines, and a specification by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, individuals should spend no more than 30% of their income on rent or house payments. Using that calculation, affordable rent for a family of four at 60% of AMI would be $1,129.50 per month. For a single person, AMI is $52,700 – and affordable rent at 60% AMI is $790.50 per month.

AMI is recalculated each year and final rents for Moda Franklin have not yet been set. However, Jake Wood with J. Fisher told BoiseDev last fall he hoped for rents in line with those calculations.

“We did some analysis and that’s really a need in Boise, based in terms of available housing,” Wood said. “Rents would range from $700 to $1000 per month, targeted at people making $30,0000 to $45,000 per year.”

The median price for a two-bedroom apartment in Boise stands at $1,307, according to data from ApartmentList.com.

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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