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The Past and Present of the Homes on South Fifth Street

Trilogy withdraws plan for gravel lot

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Boise won't have a new gravel parking lot in its Central Addition District anytime soon, but neighbors and preservationists aren't celebrating just yet. In fact, they're still a bit wary of the motives of Trilogy Development of Meridian.

"I'm happy that [Trilogy] may be listening to people in the neighborhood a bit more," said Noel Weber Jr., who owns Classic Design on South Sixth Street, one block from the properties. "But I'm a little hesitant to believe that they're really doing that."

Last summer, Trilogy announced that it had purchased two historic homes at 411 and 413 S. Fifth St. and planned to clear the property for a gravel parking lot. But the Meridian-based developer ran into pushback from the neighborhood and historians, who, instead of a parking lot, envisioned bringing new life into the homes, both built more than a century ago. As a compromise, Trilogy offered the homes to anyone who was willing to move them away from their foundations.

"The agreement that Trilogy offered was that Preservation Idaho was free to find takers for the homes," said Sheri Freemuth, program officer of the Western Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

But Freemuth said when someone stepped forward to move the home at 411 S. Fifth St., Trilogy reneged on its original offer.

"They said, 'No, we don't want you to take that house. We want to rent it out now,'" said Freemuth.

Indeed a new "For Lease" sign has been posted outside of 411 S. Fifth St. Citydesk made several attempts to talk to Trilogy regarding its plans but our calls weren't returned.

"I just received a letter from [Trilogy] that they're withdrawing their application for a temporary gravel parking lot," confirmed David Moser, planner with the City of Boise's Planning and Development Services.

Freemuth isn't optimistic for future plans to preserve the past.

"I don't think they intended to preserve and use those homes," said Freemuth. "Of course, that would have been my hope, but I'm not that much of a Pollyanna, really."

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