Home Depot – Boise council OKs rezone for affordable project on Bench
The land that once held a school on the Boise Bench is one step closer to bringing hundreds of affordable units to the city.
The Boise City Council on Tuesday approved a rezone for a project that will include 205 apartments and condominiums along with thousands of square feet of retail space at 313 S. Orchard St., in the southeast corner of the intersection of Franklin Road and Orchard Street.
That property is the former home of the Franklin School. It’s across from a Fred Meyer grocery store and several other stores, and it’s on ValleyRide’s No. 6 Orchard Bus Route. It’s also just north and east of Franklin Park. Those pieces all come together to create what Council President Elaine Clegg called “an important activity center.”
The rezone changes the land from A-1 zoning, for open land and parks, to PDC zoning, which allows for pedestrian commercial projects with design review. Council member Holli Woodings said that zoning was her favorite kind because of what kind of projects it allows.
Woodings said the project has been coming for “a really long time” and said she was glad it finally came to fruition.
“I think it really laid the groundwork for how we can leverage our ability to hold land in the future to be able to provide some of the affordable housing that our community desperately needs,” she said.
The former Franklin School was torn down a decade ago, and a Maverik gas station was to be built on part of the site. The city bought the 4.7-acre parcel in 2019 specifically looking to turn it into housing. Boise announced in May that Utah-based J Fischer Companies would build the project.
The development is planned to have 71 one-bedroom units, 113 two-bedroom units and 21 three-bedrooms, according to city filings, and 6,000 square feet of retail space. Those units are “designed to accommodate individuals making 60%” of the area median income, filings show. Area median income depends on family size, but Jake Wood, a partner in J. Fisher Cos., estimated during a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in December that would typically mean someone earning between $35,000 and $40,000 annually.
“These are people who might work at Home Depot, people that might work at a grocery store, a first-year teacher, someone just out of college or maybe a retiree on a fixed income,” Wood said in December, estimated rents for those units would be at least 25% below market rate.
It would also include space for outdoor dining and food trucks. The developer plans to build a bus stop on the property, and 256 parking spaces will be available underground.
Mayor Lauren McLean applauded the project and thanked the Central Bench Neighborhood Association for its involvement in the design.
“This will bring quite a few homes to our city where we so desperately need them,” McLean said.