Wednesday afternoon's spring-like sunshine filled the now-empty lot at the corner of Fifth and Broad streets in Boise's Central Addition neighborhood, but soon enough the site will be filled with crews and equipment to build The Fowler
, a 220,000-square-foot mixed-use development including 159 apartments.
"It took us 18 months to get to this day," said Mike Brown, co-owner of Local Construct, the company behind the new project that will bring livability back to the Central Addition, which more than a century ago was one of the city's finest neighborhoods.
Brown first walked into Boise Mayor Dave Bieter's office a few years ago and proposed a plan to save some of the historic Central Addition homes through relocation and bring apartment living to the neighborhood.
"I remember that day," said Bieter. "I also remember telling him, 'God bless you. We've been waiting for something like this for six or eight years. The fact that Local Construct worked with Preservation Idaho to save the historic homes
was a big plus."
Bieter reminded the nearly 100 guests at the Jan. 27 groundbreaking of The Fowler that his administration has an ambitious goal of adding 1,000 new apartments in the downtown area by 2020.
"One-quarter of them, including this project, are on the way. Another one-quarter are in the works," said Bieter.
With that, Brown joined Bieter; Capital City Development Corporation Director John Brunelle; and a team of architects, lenders and builders, grabbed a shovel and turned dirt on the The Fowler, designed by Holst Architecture. Opening date, according to the builders, should come sometime in early 2017.