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Subdivision of rental homes approved in SW Boise on former school site

A Southwest Boise lot once planned for an elementary school is now set for dozens of rental homes. 

On Tuesday, Boise City Council approved an application for 48 homes on a 13-acre site located at 2484 S Monitor Way, north of Victory Road and west of Molenaar Park. The site was formerly owned by the Boise Independent School District and was sold off for roughly $6 million last summer to California-based rental home investor company American Homes for Rent. 

Doug Russell, the planner working on the project for The Land Group on behalf of AH4R, said the homes will rent for between $2,200 and $2,600 a month depending on the floor plan. The subdivision will also include a strip of land along the road in the eastern half of the project for a “linear park” with a pavilion and open space for residents to use after objections from neighbors to the density of the subdivision. There will also be a multi-use pathway winding through the neighborhood.

He said subdivisions like this provide choices for residents who are not looking to buy, but still want to live in a newer single family home. 

“When people are looking for housing, they’re looking for variety,” Russell said. “To be able to rent houses that are nice like this and not having to commit your whole life to them is a sweet spot for a lot of people.”

The project is being developed by AMH Development, the homebuilding arm of AH4R. The company owns tens of thousands of homes across the country, including a few hundred in the Treasure Valley, as BoiseDev previously reported. 

‘Might have been some possibilities’

City Council Members were not entirely over the moon about the idea as a whole, but because the application was not a rezone and a permitted use for the area, they all noted there was no legal grounds to oppose the project. 

According to property records, AMH Development of Calabasas, California, purchased the site at 2484 S. Monitor Way from the school district last year. The property had been listed at $6.3 million, and the district issued a call for offers last summer.

“The property was purchased by the Boise School District in 1995 as a possible site for an elementary school,” Boise School District spokesperson Dan Hollar told BoiseDev earlier this year. “Since that time, we have made significant improvements to nearby Maple Grove Elementary School, adding a new gymnasium and additional classrooms, as well as building a new Amity Elementary School in the area.”

A diagram of the linear park planned for the AH4R subdivision in SW Boise. Courtesy of the City of Boise.

City Council President Elaine Clegg made a motion to approve the project with requirements for narrower intersections at two places on Monitor Drive to slow drivers and larger trees on the site. She noted to the audience that legally the city cannot deny projects depending on whether properties are sold or rented.

She understood residents concerns and said she herself was not aware the property was sold and if the city council had known the land was up for grabs “there might have been some possibilities had some of us known.”

“Often when projects are built with the intent to rent them they are later sold so it doesn’t mean these will always be rental houses,” Clegg said. “It does mean there will be 48 houses there in a market that desperately needs some housing. I don’t have any control of what happened prior to this development coming to us, but I do have control over whether or not it meets our code requirements and it does.”

City Council Member Lisa Sanchez spoke about her experience losing her home to foreclosure during the 2008 recession and her perspective as the only renter on city council. She said investors, like AH4R, concern her, but she encouraged the neighbors to embrace their new neighbors whether they own their home or not. 

“Our landscape is changing and more and more people who call Boise home are renters and there will probably be more of us at this decision making tables,” Sanchez. “I wish it would have gone down differently, but like the City Council President said at this point we have to make sure the Ts are crossed and the Is are dotted and it looks like that’s the case.”

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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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