Retail, cafe, 4-plex planned by Boise’s Camels Back Park

Retail, cafe, 4-plex planned by Boise’s Camels Back Park




A home in Boise’s North End could be torn down and replaced by a two-story mixed-use project with a cafe, retail and four residential units.

The project, at 1920 N. 13th St. at Heron St., would be an early use of Boise’s newly adopted zoning code rewrite.

Zion Ventures of Eagle bought the home, which faces Camels Back Park earlier this year, according to property records. Zion is controlled by Riley Verner, a commercial real estate agent, according to the Idaho Secretary of State. 

The current house dates to 1949 according to the Ada Co. Assessor and sits on a .188 acre lot. Zion hopes to tear down the house and a detached garage. The property is within the North End Historic District but is not listed as contributing to the history of the district (non in city jargon is non-contributing).

The house was built by HC Murphy, with four simple rooms and a bathroom, according to the original building permit. The home cost $7,000 to build. It was expanded in 1953.

Fourplex with retail

In its place, according to a pre-application filed with the City of Boise last week, crews would build the two-story project, which would take up the majority of the lot.

The city’s new pre-application process does not provide the public with detailed information on how large the building is, how tall or other specific details.  A site plan and renderings, however, indicate the ground floor would include the neighborhood cafe with a patio space, as well as a small retail space.

An application letter notes the four studio-sized apartments would sit on the second floor. A parking lot would be added to the back of the site with space for four cars, as well as a bike rack.

“Our goal is not to replicate a historic building but to design a modern building that is historically sensitive to its surroundings,” Zion’s representatives wrote in an unsigned application letter. “The materials chosen for each portion have been selected based on historical relevance, existing precedents, and the local architectural language. White brick is used throughout the North End District for residences and commercial properties alike.”

The project is situated in Boise’s R-1C zoning classification, and under the prior version of the zoning code, a project like this one would not generally have been allowed without special approvals or a rezoning from the city.

The zoning code rewrite changed R-1C zones, which take up about 25% of the city’s landmass, from exclusively for single-family and duplex housing to projects with up to four units, as well as neighborhood cafe and retail uses.

The 13th St. project is among the first potential projects for the city to take advantage of the changes.

What’s next

The project is currently in the pre-application stage and may not move forward to a formal application or may be modified in minor or significant ways before it does.

The city’s application process has changed, with an “early assistance” step, followed by staff review and a concept review. A city spokesperson told us this particular project has not yet been reviewed by staff, and it’s not yet clear what process it would follow – including if hearings would be held, or not.


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