A look at the artist renderings for the latest in a long list of proposed apartment complexes reveals a six-story structure surrounded by a paved walkway, plenty of bike racks and an outdoor cafe. Closer inspection, however, reveals The Whitewater Project would rise above the single-level homes west of downtown Boise.
WWP, which is slated to be built on the southeast corner of Main Street and Whitewater Park Boulevard, would be the product of one of the most unique land swaps in Boise history. In April 2016, the Boise City Council traded the city-owned 6.6 acres at Main and Whitewater for the historic 20-acre Spaulding Ranch near N. Cole Road and W. Chinden Boulevard, owned by developer LocalConstruct. City officials agreed the Main/Whitewater acreage was worth more, but wanted Spaulding Ranch as part of an initiative to promote urban farming. Soon after the trade, the wheels began turning for what would become the WWP apartment/retail complex.
"In the course of the last year, WWP has investigated the highest and best use for the west end property as well as the financial feasibility of various options," LocalConstruct co-president Mike Brown wrote to the city council in March.
On July 11, Brown unveiled the proposed WWP designs. The first phase of the plan includes five floors with ground-floor retail and 223 apartments—32 studios, 91 one-bedrooms, 87 two-bedrooms and 12 townhouses. City officials say 10 of the apartments would be set aside as "low income units" subject to U.S. Housing and Urban Development requirements. Developers say the ground floor could include coffee shops, personal service retailers, a yoga or fitness studio and an anchor grocery store. Brown wrote to the council that there has been "no success to date" in attracting a grocer, but the effort is continuing.