Downtowners Fight 8th Street Project

(A GUARDIAN correspondent report)

Downtown residents have appealed the Design Review approval for the proposed 81 unit apartment complex slated for 100 N. 8th St in the heart of downtown.

Residents and business owners fear the project, with little additional parking will cripple the vital Capitol Terrance garage, which is already heavily used by visitors to downtown. Another concern is the aqua-blue stucco construction which is not in keeping with the elegant new structures or the historic buildings in the surroundings.

“We were hoping for a structure that would endure like so many other buildings in the area, not a box structure likely to deteriorate in five or ten years,” stated Joshua Rundus the lead appellant of the Design Review decision.

Rundus claimed Downtown residents were caught off guard by the project which moved ahead rapidly in a City anxious to draw new residents to its tax base.

The Downtown Boise Association (DBA), the neighborhood association of record, did not even show for the hearing. Rundus expressed concerns about the business links between Howell and the DBA.
The appeal filed with the City on December 27th highlights concerns from parking to public safety.

The CCDC, (Capitol City Development Corporation), owns the garage in question and stands to gain significant parking revenue from the 81 additional residences. The CCDC and developer Ken Howell have worked together on other downtown projects.

The CCDC is obligated to submit a letter to Design Review on all downtown projects. CCDC in its Nov. 14th meeting raised objections regarding easement rights to the
site but dropped those objections in its public comment to the City.

“How do you find a project in violation of an easement one week and two weeks later fail to mention an issue exists at all?” asked Mr. Rundus.

Moving van issues also are cited in the appeal, as the project does not provide tenants any loading or unloading space. With potentially a couple hundred tenants, Idaho or Main St. could see lanes blocked (Like Capitol Blvd. at the Grove)on a regular basis with trucks unable to enter the garage.

The appeal asks the City why residents and businesses are being left out of the debate. If downtown is
to grow to fill the vision of Boise’s growth plans it desperately needs additional affordable housing. Residents want to make sure affordable doesn’t come at the expense of the safety, usability and attractiveness of downtown.

Ed Note: contact Rundus at; OR
This correspondent posting previously identified Ken Howell as a board member of the Downtown Business Association. THAT DBA board member is not the Ken Howell who is subject of the story.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Who do we contact to help in the fight?

    Affordable housing is a “boggy” issue here. It is just the “catch-phrase” used to try to justify the project.

    The reason people are purposely being left out and kept un-informed is that the City does not want to deal with those that object. That is why we need new representatives – – the next elections are even more important than the last!

    The City Planning Staff (Hal and Bruce – as well as the City Council) already have their agendas set regardless of the facts or testimony.

  2. Joshua Rundus
    Jan 6, 2006, 1:42 pm

    Thanks Boise Guardian for being a voice in this matter. My name is Joshua Rundus and I have appealed the design review decision to let this go forward.

    We need a process for growth that works with the community not against it. I would like to hear from any and all supporters or concerned citizens and will keep a list for updates.

    Let’s make downtown a livable vibrant place we all would like to work, live and play in!

    Email me at: or

  3. Talk about incestuous! Does anyone ever declare a conflict in this stuff—The developer is the DBA president? Time for a teaparty, that’s what I’m thinking!

  4. Yes! Please let us know who to contact and get involved! This project is just flat out WRONG for that location. There a many other places near the downtown core that could use this type of development as a catalyst for area improvement. This particular location is not right for this type of development.

    I would think downtown business people could see that putting housing projects it the right locations AND maintaining adequate parking for the “outlanders” to come visit would be in their best interest.

    I recently tried out the Bodo Theatre complex – enticed by the 3hr validation and the “unique” downtown feel. I still ended up paying for parking. I purchased tickets hours in advance – thinking that it might expedite things. No mention at the time of purchase regarding validation procedures- no signage nothing, cold staff, etc. So I stupidly assumed they had another location within the theater to secure parking validation. I returned later with family in tow and watched the movie- so far so good. After the movie I tried to ask whatever staff I could find how to get parking validation – “I dunno – ask the ticket office.” I then go to the ticket office and I’m told I must stand in line again to get my card stamped – 15 minutes later I’m finally rushing to the garage to leave before the 3hr limit. I just attended a movie 2.35 hrs long, spent nearly 20 more minutes trying to secure parking validation. I was left with approximately 10 minutes to exit the garage.

    Didn’t make it. The garage only employed 1 exit gate employee for a very busy Friday night. I sat in line in the garage for over 20 minutes trying to exit – gross air, claustrophobic, etc.

    Net of the experience — movie was great,but I’ll drive to other Theaters with unfettered.
    parking. The “urban experience” is not worth the parking agrevation. Cramming the parking in the other garages will drive away a bunch of folks from coming downtown.

    Regarding the design of the proposed structure –
    True architectural excellence is lost in Boise. None of the recent structures in downtown Boise truely embrace a definitive style – just bunch of cheap to build boxes with a few bits of molding stuck here and there. Tada! Insta-style! What beauty!…….gag!

    Come on Boise! Set a higher standard for design and use!

  5. My My…. If we just would have gotten Brandi elected all of this wouldn’t have happened!

  6. Yeah, right. What the heck would Brandi have known about land use? She probably would have used the space to erect some monstrous 10 Commandments monument.

  7. Maybe she could have used it as a creche for her plastic nativity.

  8. “Affordable housing”???……Those looking for “affordable housing” don’t use “Moving vans”, they use pick-up trucks!

  9. I think Haha is new.

    Ed note–Check out his exchange with TAM on Nush Leaguer story comments 3,4, and 8.

  10. BoiseCitzen
    Jan 7, 2006, 8:59 am

    So, 100 N. 8th,hmmmmm. Is that the address of the Boise HOLE? Wouldn’t it be nice to get that dang thing filled up with something? Just wondering. More infill I guess.

    Ed note–It is atop the parking garage across 8th from the hole.

  11. Hi-rise “affordable housing?” I really don’t think the Boise area is ready for that. Is this supposed to appeal to people with children and pets? Is it supposed to attract people who get housing vouchers, i.e. low income? Where would these folks shop for groceries? Would the kids be playing frisbee on 8th Street?

    I have been low income with kids, some years ago, but I would never have thought of living downtown with no yard for the dog, or a garage for the junk I want to hang on to, or for the kids’ bicycles.

    Who exactly is the target population for this sort of development? Sounds like someone has his hand out for federal or state money, big time. (Is the number of crooks growing at an increasing rate, or does it just seem like it.?) This idea is just stupid, in my opinion.

  12. and so the real estate developer stink goes on! they want to turn our beautiful downtown area into a parking lot!
    It seems the Downtown Boise Association and CCDC are in cahoots with the would be developer of this eyesore. There are clear conflicts of interest here in that all pro-developtment parties are refusing to take a realistic view of the consequenses of this building while looking only at their financial gain.

  13. Good comments Joe….As someone “inside” the City I can tell you that the “cahoots” is both clear and planned (but will never be admitted to) with the City Council and the Planning staff, DBA and the developers. Just look at how many plans have NOT been approved – 0!

    With current and former City Council members on the CCDC and the DBA as a contributor to the Council members campaigns the “cahoots” should be very clear.

    The strategy is to pack the downtown with as many condos as possible to maximize tax revenue and “save” a “dying” downtown and FORCE somekind of MASS TRANSIT. Why they think this is the solution to all solutions is way beyond many of us.

    Everyone seems to like to use these terms as justification of any project. If you look VERY closely at the “Market research” that has been done the surveys have been very bias at best – to produce a specific outcome. Maximizing tax revenue also solves a lot of problems when you cannot control spending more and more money on city programs.

    In 10 years (or less) – after buildings look into other buildings across the street and our leaders learn that all the construction has still NOT saved downtown then MAYBE the negative impacts will be realized – but they will then be blamed on someone else or the “people of Boise” for not acting like the City leadership “knew they would”.

    Prices will drop, empty unit counts will increase and “subsidization” will start and increase. Happens in almost every “urban” enviornment that public officials try to manipulate. Then the problems are 10 times more difficult to solve.

  14. Developer X
    Apr 11, 2006, 3:25 pm

    Despite the obvious design issues and parking limitations, the FACT is nearly 60 of Howell’s units would be Sec 42 affordable housing. To rent those you must earn less than 60% of the area median income, and the rents on those units are set by governing agencies. For each affordable unit, the developer receives a tax credit from the Feds. This allows the developer to make up for renting those units at below market rate (based on actual surveys). Without programs such as Sec.42, only the rich could afford to live downtown because land and construction ARE much more expensive there. It’s just too bad there aren’t programs in place to create affordable FOR-SALE housing.

    PS: All your conspiracy theories are hilarious. And for the guy who thinks his parking should be free… take ECON 101. There is no such thing as a free lunch, nor free garages.

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