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New Downtown Boise YMCA, hundreds of apartments, large parking garage, and ‘jewel box’ gets go-ahead from CCDC

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The Capital City Development Corp. picked a proposal that would mark a series of significant changes to the neighborhood around the Boise YMCA at State St. and 11th St. – including tearing down and moving the Y itself and building a new 20-story building.

BoiseDev broke the news about the three proposals in September. Agency staff spent most of the fall looking at the three concepts and recommended that the agency’s board of commissioners choose the most expansive option at its meeting Monday.

The proposal staff scored the highest is led by Edlen & Co., along with deChase Miksis, Elton Companies, and the Treasure Valley YMCA.

The current Idaho Sporting Goods building would be the new site of the Boise YMCA. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

If the project is ultimately built, it would bring about a roughly $320 million project, adding 626 new housing units with 724 parking spaces, covering portions of four city blocks, and taking several years to build. It would come online in phases and be one of the most valuable projects ever constructed in Downtown Boise. The concept uses several parcels currently owned by CCDC and several other sites in the area owned by the YMCA.

CCDC has long hoped for a catalytic development in the area. It previously expanded its urban renewal district in the area to include both Boise High School and the YMCA property, as well as several other parcels.

“I love Edlen’s proposal here,” CCDC board chair Dana Zuckerman said. “I love that when you look at the street view you feel like you’re in an entirely new neighborhood, but it doesn’t look like someone took an apartment complex and dropped it in our city, but it looks like it developed organically. It’s so much more than what I expected. It’s creating a mini-neighborhood within the rest of the neighborhood.”

What’s proposed

YMCA Boise redevelopment
Map of the proposed project. To help orient you, Boise High School is at the top of the graphic, and the current YMCA is along State St. on Block 79. Note that the map is mislabeled and W. Franklin St. is actually W. Washington St. Via CCDC

Dean Pape with deChase Miksis told BoiseDev Friday that this proposal would be one element to help grow housing options.

“Homes are an important part of the growth in our city,” Pape said. “In the conversations, we’ve had with many partners, we know the demand is there. This is just assisting with that.”

He said even if their project is picked, there’s still much work still to do.

“We think it will change the neighborhood, but for the better and bring new housing opportunities,” he said. “We have more work to do with the neighborhood, especially on the current YMCA parcel to meet the vision for the area it is in.”

Pape noted that the proposal works within the current approved zoning and would not require any changes. The properties are zoned C-5, which does not have a height restriction and would allow for the or L-OD. The Edlen/deChase/YMCA proposal has a component for a public feedback process, agency staff said.

[Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donates $10M to Treasure Valley YMCA]

What’s in the concept plan

YMCA Boise redevelopment
Via CCDC

The project as proposed would include:

  • 278 studio units at at least 550 square feet.
  • 247 one-bedroom units at at least 650 square feet.
  • 101 2-bedroom units of at least 850 square feet.

Altogether, this plan would add 727 new bedrooms to the area.

Close-up rendering of the proposed new facility for the Treasure Valley YMCA. Via CCDC

The project would tear down the current YMCA building, which dates back to 1972. The building has seen several modifications and expansions over the years.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this historic undertaking. The new Downtown Boise YMCA will be the cornerstone for a campus of opportunity that will create a network of support, vitality, and community for thousands who live and work here”, YMCA President and CEO David Duro said. “This project will create a barrier-free YMCA that will truly serve all, while reinforcing the social fabric of the Downtown Boise neighborhood.”

  • A residential and retail building would go up in place of the main YMCA building.
  • The Y would move across State St. to the old Idaho Sporting Goods site.
  • To the south of the new YMCA site, a 20-story residential tower is planned, with signficant structured parking.
  • >A third residential and retail building would pop up along 11th St. on the former Nelsons School Supply site.
  • A “creative office space” building would replace a surface parking lot used by the YMCA.

[As Downtown Boise’s skyline evolves, will it see a “new tallest” building?]

“Jewel box”

The creative office space, which Pape called a “jewel box,” would go on the former site of the Congregation Ahavath Beth Israelsynagogue at State St. and 11th St. The historic synagogue moved to a site in the Boise Bench in 2003 and the former lot has been used for parking by the Y in the decades since.

Under the new plan, the site would bring together offices for many agencies in one place to give residents in need a “one-stop-shop” for assistance.

“The vision for that is designed by the end-user,” Kati Stallings with deChase Miksis said. “We don’t have to send them to different agencies all over town. It’s designed to create efficiencies for the underserved, and use the resource of the YMCA to put their arms around people.”

Separately, deChase Miksis is working with the Eugene YMCA on a redevelopment project with that group and has worked on several other projects in the Boise area.

Boise YMCA redevelopment
Via CCDC

The plan also includes some affordable housing. As proposed, it would offer 25 apartment units for citizens making 80% of the area median income and another 130 units for those at 120% or below. CCDC indicated in documents provided late Friday it might look at how to use Low-Income Housing Tax Credit programs to add additional units for those making 60% of AMI or less.

“That was a soft commitment in the proposal that was definitely above and beyond what was asked for,” CCDC project manager Doug Woodruff said of the potential use of tax credits to increase the affordability of some units.

“The Edlen proposal is visionary – in both an aspirational and an attainable sense,” Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said. “The number of housing units is incredibly important, especially as a city we are looking at our counts for what we need for affordable housing.”

CCDC’s role, what’s ahead

CCDC, which calls the project the Block 68 Catalytic Redevelopment, would contribute up to $20.5 million in funds collected through its primary tax increment financing funding model. It also owns two of the parcels in the area and would ultimately sell those to the development group to make the project happen.

With approval from CCDC for the project led by Edlen & Co., it will now move to formal negotiations. If negotiations with the Edlen-led group aren’t successful, CCDC could move on to the second or third-ranked proposals.

Final approval of a development and disposition agreement would happen next fall based on the agency’s current timeline. It would also need to pass approvals with the City of Boise.

You can read the full proposal below, or if the embed isn’t displaying, by clicking here.

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
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 don@boisedev.com.

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