by Andrew Crisp
At Wednesday night's meeting of the City of Boise's Design Review Committee, a project to turn a 1.7-acre dirt parking lot in downtown Boise into four retail structures took a step closer to reality.
Trader Joe's, according to previous stories written by Boise Weekly, will likely be the tenant of the largest structure. But before developers could move on to purchasing the land, Design Review had to consider whether to issue a conditional use permit for the project.
The lot in question is framed by Capitol Boulevard, Front, Sixth and Broad streets. At the meeting, officials considered the details of the proposal, including its plans for a drive-thru on a small retail store and canopy along the windows facing Capitol.
After reviewing the application, area neighbors including Jordan-Wilcomb Construction, Meuleman-Mollerup LLP and Dunkley's Music publicly testified in favor of the new development.
"As an owner, we'd like to give our unequivocal support of the project," said Mike Baldner, a Meuleman-Mollerup partner.
Baldner told the committee his office in Boise's BODO area along Eighth Street overlooks the dirt lot, and that he was an "early adopter of the BODO lifestyle." Mark Dunkley of Dunkley's Music, which has stood across the street from the lot for more than 60 years, also gave his support.
"It'll be nice not to have that gravel parking lot there anymore," he said.
Before the meeting adjourned, the Design Review Committee voted 4-0 in favor of the application.