A new-five story apartment building marketed toward Boise State University students is coming to the Lusk District along the Greenbelt.
On Tuesday night, Boise City Council unanimously approved a 180-unit project with nearly 500 bedrooms at 917 Lusk Street. The project will include parking and commercial space on the ground floor, as well as amenities for residents like a dog park, courtyards and a rooftop deck. It will include a range of unit sizes, from studios up to four-bedroom units.
At the meeting, City Council members praised Chicago-based developer C.A. Ventures for its collaboration with the Lusk District Neighborhood Association and Boise State to build a project acceptable to nearby residents. This included additional commercial space and a commitment to improving the nearby entrance to the Greenbelt to ensure its safe for cyclists and pedestrians.
“I wanted to thank the developer and the applicant. It’s clear you worked with the Lusk Street Neighborhood Association and that is a very well educated neighborhood association when it comes to urban planning and streetscapes so I am confident the advice they’re giving you is good advice and they are very engaged with the master plan as well,” City Council Member Jimmy Halliburton said before the vote.
Rent by the room worries
Lusk Street Neighborhood Association member Nina Schaeffer said her organization shifted from “cautious approval” to fully backing the project after meetings with the developer.
However, she said the group is still hoping the design review process will require a more colorful facade on the building to make it more attractive. In addition, she said special attention was paid to the entrance and exit of the parking garage to ensure slow speeds due to its proximity to the heavily used stretch of Greenbelt as cyclists and pedestrians flow toward the university and downtown Boise.
The neighborhood association is also concerned about the broader trend of apartments in the area being rented by the room, instead of by the unit. Schaeffer said this discourages full-time Boise residents to live in the area.
“We love having students in our area and recognize the economic impact they bring to the nearby businesses, but because they don’t live permanently in our neighborhood because they either leave over the summer or they leave after a year we are concerned we are not attracting more permanent residents to get involved in our association or in our community,” she said.
As part of the approval, city council members asked that the developers consider the issue of renting by the unit to address the neighborhood association’s concerns. Any requirements for how rooms would be rented out would be illegal under Idaho code.
What about the demolition of the existing building?
The project will take the place of a 2005-era existing three-story office building with 200 surface parking spots. Over the years, firms like Kount, Keynetics and Clickbank all called it home.
City Council Member Holli Woodings asked if the developer had considered reusing the existing office building in any way, but C.A. Ventures Director of Development Ryan Sadowy said the small size of the building made it hard to integrate.
“With the site configuration and site constraints with how to work around it and still achieve the density, it did not seem achievable to do in a mixed new development and an old development,” he said. “We couldn’t find any synergies to work with that building.”
Sadowy said the company is looking into the best ways to recycle the building’s materials and create a sustainability plan to deal with the demolition.