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Developers reveal plan for city-backed affordable housing project on old Smoky Davis site

SMR Development and Pacific Companies formally submitted plans for an apartment building on the site of the old Smoky Davis site in Boise. The companies were picked by the City of Boise to build the project as part of the city’s Housing Land Trust, with the goal of providing affordable apartments on city-owned land.

The design review application calls for a five-story building, which would sit primarily along Arthur St. with a triangular bump-out along State St. The building would feature 102 units, with 23 studios, 44 one-bedroom apartments, 27 two-bedroom models, and eight three-bedroom units. In total, the apartment complex would include 169 bedrooms.

Site plan. Via GGLO

One-hundred-one of the apartments would be provided for Boise residents making 80% of the area median income or less. Under current city guidelines, that would mean rent for a single person would add up to $1,055 per month, or $1,205 for two people.

[Boise’s growing State St.: City takes next steps to add long urban renewal district along road]

The five-story complex would provide a parking garage on the ground floor with 87 parking spaces – two more than required, and 104 bike spaces – one more than required. A leasing office, covered playground, and small daycare or “neighborhood-focused retail” would round out the ground level.

Apartment units would go up on the remaining four levels, with the building stepping back on the side away from the street facing the Taft Elementary playfield. A second-floor amenity deck with potential play features would sit on top of the parking garage.

State and Arthur near Taft Elementary
View from Taft Elementary. Via GGLO

“The design concepts stem from respecting the scale of the existing surroundings while integrating
with the future development density and variety of uses along the State Street corridor,” project designer GGLO wrote in an application letter. “The Cshaped massing atop the podium is held closer to the street frontages and urban activity. The form maximizes views toward the foothills, embracing a raised courtyard which opens to the east while stepping down the massing toward the adjacent garden and schoolyard.”

The outside of the building would feature a white color scheme with wood-look accents and balconies for some apartment units.

‘Housing Land Trust’

This will be Boise’s second Housing Land Trust project. The city is also at work on a mixed-use apartment and commercial center on the former Franklin School site on the Boise Bench. The city said it would start construction in fall of 2021, but that deadline has passed and work has not yet started.

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

The Housing Land Trust model involves the city buying and owning the land, with a private developer building a project on top. The city keeps the land and establishes a lease agreement requiring affordability, and the developer owns the buildings. The city says this mechanism will allow it to bring incentives to developers to build housing units at rents below the average market rates.

The Smoky Davis meat shop and restaurant operated for years on the State and Arthur site, before it closed for improvements to State St. Smoky Davis’ owner sued the Ada County Highway District over the valuation of the land. Later, the City of Boise purchased the remaining land unused by ACHD, and earmarked it for affordable housing.

Hearing set

Even though the city spurred the project, it will still need to win design review approval from the city. A design review hearing is set for March 9th. Because of limitations with the City of Boise’s permitting system provided by Accela Government Software, we can’t link you directly to the hearing notice. Instead, you can click this link, click on the Record Info and Documents tab, select Documents from the dropdown, then click “PDS-Correspondence – DRC_NOTIFICATION LETTER_MARCH 9, 2022” for the notice and hearing information.

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
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 [email protected].

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