A woman who spent her teenage years living in a mobile home in Garden City had ambitious plans to turn a section of 34th Street next to the Boise Greenbelt into a cool, edgy version of Hyde Park.
For five years, she developed plans to remove aging manufactured homes in Garden City’s original town site and replace them with sleek townhouses, cottages and compact homes. And add a farmers market.
Hannah Ball realized her dream, starting The 34th Street Market in spring 2019 on a corner lot next to the Greenbelt.
But the rest of her vision never materialized.
Now a pair of Boise developers have stepped in with a vision of their own. Bryan Shepherd and Ian Donovan, co-founders of JBI Elemental, a Boise-based custom-home builder, bought a number of properties from Urban Willow, the partnership between Ball and Richard Phillips, after they abandoned their plans, dissolved the company and sold its properties.
Ball wanted to transform the neighborhood into a dense, urban playground for artists and entrepreneurs, adding 203 apartments and townhouses and 116,200 feet of commercial space. Shepherd and Donovan want to build a boutique hotel along with 27 townhouses and other living units, food and drink spaces and a “Creative Courtyard” for First Friday art events.
Those would be built on four parcels on 34th Street and an adjacent lot on North Carr Street. JBI is also asking the Ada County Highway District to vacate 34th Street from Carr to the Greenbelt for a pedestrian connection to the river path.
The project would include:
▪ A five-story hotel with three floors of rooms, ground-floor shops and a rooftop bar and patio. It would be located at the corner of East 34th Street and North Carr Street.
▪ A row of multistory townhouses — called The River Townhouse — on both sides of 34th Street, against the Greenbelt. One side would have three townhouses and the other would have four. A one-story commercial building with 800 square feet would be located next to the complex with four buildings.
▪ Another row of 11 townhouses, called The Creator Townhouse, parallel to 35th Street, next to Carr. Another commercial building, with one story and 4,000 square feet, would be on the 34th Street side of those townhouses. It would also contain four residential lofts.
▪ Three other smaller buildings, with five residential units.
▪ A plaza next to the Greenbelt that would function as an easy takeout point for river rafts and paddle boards. The developer plans to replace porta-potties used by the farmers market with public restrooms.
JBI has also submitted an application for a second project, across Carr between 34th and 35th streets. It includes 22 townhouses. Forty-four parking spaces would be located within an enclosed garage, along with 11 guest spaces and four bicycle spaces.
The projects aim to maintain a strong connection between 34th Street and the Boise River Greenbelt with a Main Street pedestrian feel, Shepherd wrote in a March 11 letter to the Garden City Planning and Zoning Commission.
“We’d like to set precedence for subsequent developments along 34th Street to reinforce this connection with the ultimate goal of 34th being a pedestrian-friendly and commercially activated street connecting the Boise River Greenbelt to Chinden Boulevard,” he wrote.
Over the past decade, mobile homes and bare land along the Greenbelt, across the Boise River from Quinn’s Pond and Esther Simplot Park, have been increasingly replaced by multistory townhouses that have helped Garden City shed its reputation as Boise’s poor sister. The two developments from JBI would extend that trend.
Shepherd said his company plans to continue supporting Ball’s farmers market — which is held on one of the parcels JBI Elemental bought from Ball and Phillips — and other community celebrations, providing “a welcoming environment for residents and visitors, including small (artist) spaces and studios, food and beverage and offices.” The 34th Street Market is set to open Saturday, April 3, at the Greenbelt end of 34th.
The project along Carr toward the Boise River that includes the hotel would be built in three phases. Off-site infrastructure projects would be completed first, followed by mixed-use and residential structures west of 34th Street, and then those same elements east of 34th.
“We are offering a broad mix of housing types with various floor plans and orientations while also accomplishing a wide variety of price points and affordability levels, promoting an eclectic mix of community members,” Shepherd wrote.
It wouldn’t be practical to obtain building permits for all of the structures in one year, Shepherd said. He requested a two-year approval period.
The Garden City Design Review Committee is scheduled to review plans for both developments at 3 p.m. on Monday, April 5, at City Hall, 6015 N Glenwood St.
JBI Elemental did not reply to requests for additional information left by voicemail and email.