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Boise Art Museum, City of Boise reach compromise on lease

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At long last, the City of Boise and the Boise Art Museum reached a lease agreement. 

On Tuesday, Boise City Council finalized a lease with the Julia Davis Park museum after years of negotiations. The issue came to a head last summer when the city moved to standardize its lease policy with the roughly dozen nonprofits the city hosts in their facilities and BAM was the last holdout. 

City Council President Pro Tem Holli Woodings commended city staff and the Boise Art Museum board for coming to an agreement. 

“I’m very happy,” Woodings said, prior to approving the lease. “I love the Boise Art Museum and I am happy they can stay in their beautiful facility.”

The conflict over the lease spilled out into public view in December when the Boise City Council voted to withhold financial support to the museum until an agreement is reached. The city and the museum came to an agreement for a temporary lease while negotiations were hammered out in January. 

What does the lease entail?

The agreement has several compromises. 

One of them is the 40-year lease term, which has no renewals and the City of Boise has the final say on whether or not to grant an extension. This is a departure from the city’s other nonprofit lease agreements, which have term lengths from one to ten years. 

BAM will also be required to start paying rent for the museum, instead of the $1 per year the nonprofit pays now. For the first three years of the lease, the nonprofit will remain at the $1 per year before it slowly climbs over time to $2,000 per month by 2030. After 2032, rent will increase 3% per year. 

The City of Boise will remain responsible for grounds maintenance, irrigation water costs, and major repairs, but BAM will need to start paying for utilities and general building upkeep. 

One item not addressed in the lease agreement is the city’s initial ask for “direct resident benefits” to compensate Boiseans for subsidizing the museum with their tax dollars. 

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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