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A New Year, New Downtown Boise Projects

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If 2016 was the "year of the cranes" in Boise, with construction projects running full-tilt across the downtown core, 2017 could well be the "year of the ribbons," with a steady stream of grand openings.

Boise restaurateur Richard Langston will open Richard's at the Inn at 500 Capitol on Monday, Jan. 9, a full month before the hotel grand opening celebration on Saturday, Feb. 11. Scheduled for spring openings are the still-under-construction 180-room Residence Inn by Marriott (across the street from the Inn, and Hyatt Place, a 152-room hotel at 119 S. 10th St.

Two anticipated condo projects—The Fowler at 401 S. Fifth St. and The Afton at 611 S. Eighth St.—should near completion by spring, and another condo project, the One Nineteen at 119 S. 10th St., should be done by fall.

Proving a rolling stone gathers no moss, the city of Boise Design Review Committee has two more high-profile projects—one hotel and one condo—on its Wednesday, Jan. 11 agenda.

Boise developer Clay Carley (Old Boise, The Owyhee) is teaming with Wisconsin-based Raymond Group to build a new hotel on the block bordered by Front, Fifth and Sixth streets, which would bring the number of new hotels in downtown Boise to five. The site of the proposed hotel is where the old Boise Rescue Mission once stood, but since the shelter was demolished in 2007, the space has been used for parking.

According to documents filed with the city, Carley and the Raymond Group are proposing a 140-room hotel with an attached 675-space parking garage. Developers say the project would "allow the public spaces of the hotel to provide visual interest to pedestrians [along Front Street] via large expanses of glazing that connect the sidewalk to the interior of the hotel." The plans also promise to "provide outdoor spaces on both Front and Sixth streets so interior functions can interact with exterior uses." There is also a plan to move the first floors of the hotel back to accommodate more sidewalk space and buffer pedestrians from Front Street by installing raised planters. During the Jan. 11 session, the Design Review Committee will also weigh in on a proposed condo/mixed-use development at 819 N. 27th St., the site of the former Jerry's Market.

Developers from Boise-based 2 North Homes say their proposed $10.5 million project actually stretches a total of 10 city lots at the corner of North 27th Street and West Stewart Avenue. If approved, they'll call the project Whitewater Station.

"Our vision is to create a neighborhood gathering place for mixed commercial, restaurant and retail that is pedestrian-friendly," 2 North Homes partner Michael Jobes wrote in his application.

The plan calls for 23 residential condominiums above a ground floor that would accommodate retail at the corner of 27th and Stewart. The development would then transition to five additional townhouses at Stewart and 28th Street.

2 North will need a major accommodation from the city when it comes to parking, however. City code requires about 55 parking spaces for Whitewater Station tenants and the nearby townhomes. In its application, 2 North said plans call for 39 parking spaces and pointed to 21 on-street parking spaces on the three sides of the development—city planners will still have to grant special approval for the parking plan.

Whitewater Station, several blocks east of the just-opened Esther Simplot Park, is in line with the 30th Street Master Plan, crafted by the City of Boise and Capital City Development Corporation in 2012, according to Jobes.

"Our proposal meets the [30th Street Master Plan] vision identified: a pedestrian friendly, commercial, high density, residential development," Jobes wrote to the city.

2 North Homes is no stranger to the burgeoning Whitewater neighborhood. To date, the Boise developer has built 15 homes near the proposed site of Whitewater Station, with four more homes currently under construction.

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