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Shaw Mountain Condominiums; 670 Avenue H, #101 or #301, Boise; Built in 1994

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667-956 Square Feet

1-2 Beds, 1-2 Baths

$170,000-219,900

Homeland Realty

Bryant Forrester, 208-866-7551

www.ShawMountainCondos.com

MLS # 98353701

According to AAA, it's estimated that a new passenger car driven 15,000 miles annually will cost $8,121 to own and operate in 2008. Outrageous fuel prices and the current foreclosure crisis have forced many to adopt a more affordable and efficient lifestyle. Being able to walk or bike to work—and also to recreation and entertainment—has become more appealing. Thus, we focus on two units in the Shaw Mountain Condominium project which are situated at the bottom of Shaw Mountain Road. Downtown Boise is just a quick one-mile pedal or 15-minute walk away.

Although the dwellings started out as apartment buildings, a developer has refurbished and upgraded several units on the property, turned them into condos, and has plans to convert a total of 52 throughout the complex. Each multi-unit building's simple, neo-colonial exterior bears masonite siding painted a light putty color, and a soft, teal blue tone highlights the fascias and some of the trim. Landscaped beds, healthy trees and a lush green lawn create a park-like setting. Behind one building is a community picnic area with two gas barbeque grills and a trio of picnic tables, one of which is tucked inside an attractive gazebo.

There are one-bedroom (667 square feet) and two-bedroom (956 square feet) floor plans available. Top floor units have vaulted ceilings, and the developer installed sound-proofing subfloors in the upper units to help keep things quiet for the occupants of the dwellings below. The two-bedroom unit I looked at, No. 301, is located on the top floor of a three-story building. It has a split-bedroom floor plan so the main living spaces are in a "great room" arrangement in the center of the unit. Off-white walls and south-facing windows make the interior appear bright. The kitchen is outfitted with stainless steel appliances, hardwood cabinets stained a rich cinnamon color and slab granite counters. There is a laundry closet next to the kitchen that keeps the washer and dryer hidden from view. Sliding French doors in the dining area open to a small, slate-tiled balcony with views of the Foothills and breezy treetops. Each bathroom has a single vanity with an Italian-marble countertop in a gorgeous Dijon color and a fiberglass shower/bathtub combo.

The cozy one-bedroom condo, No. 101, is a corner unit on the bottom floor in a different building. It also has the living room, eating nook and kitchen in a "great room" configuration. Like the two-bedroom unit, it features solid-stone countertops, stainless steel appliances, brushed nickel fixtures and hardware, and beautiful hardwood cabinetry. Both units also have hardwood flooring in the main living space and plush carpeting in the private quarters. Each of the bedrooms seems more like a master suite with a generous walk-in closet with shelves and cubbies. Just outside 101's street-level living room is a small patio paved in slate tiles. The bedroom window faces north and looks out on the common picnic area. Like the two-bed unit, this interior is attractive, modern and immaculate, and the tiny unit's southward windows in the living room and light-colored walls throughout make the space appear bright and open. If a self-propelled lifestyle located near city center and hilly recreational trails appeals to you but you don't want to max yourself out for a pricey North Ender or a costly high rise apartment, these condos are worth a look.

Pros: Affordable, low-maintenance living with deluxe finishes located close to downtown Boise and foothills. Car port included.

Cons: Garage parking costs $12K.

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