Mixed opinions over plans for new Boise Bench apartment complex

New apartments may break ground on the Boise Bench

BOISE -- As the Treasure Valley continues to boom, the heart of the Boise Bench might be growing, too.

"It's easy to look at the apartment market and say, yes, we need more of these," Vista Village LLC developer Andrew Jacobs told KTVB, "and especially in this area."

Vista Village LLC - a Boise-based company owned by the Day family - has seven decades of development on the Bench and wants to build an upscale apartment complex on one of the area's biggest undeveloped pieces of land. 

They have owned the unique property since 1999: a triangular field between rail road tracks near Kootenai St, behind Vista Village shopping center. Trains still come through and turn around on the tracks surrounding the property once or twice a day.

The lot has sat empty for as long as Bench dwellers can remember, and the future of the Station Village project is in the hands of the City of Boise.

"It's one of the last in-fill pieces up here and it's kind of run down," Jacobs added.

The Day family planted their roots on the bench 70 years ago, building the Vista Village strip mall.

"Seventy years ago it was state of the art," Jacobs said.

Now they're looking to transform a field of sagebrush into a two- and three-story, 90-unit apartment complex with five buildings and amenities like a garden and club house.

Developers feel Station VIllage will energize the neighborhood. But some others disagree.

"This is a very serene area. It won't be when these go up," Tami Garrett, a neighbor who lives on the street adjacent to the site, said. "There's a lot of people in the neighborhood [that] are frustrated. We have a beautiful view right now."

Some neighbors say it would be intrusive, and will affect those who own homes all around the property. They say traffic on the small streets in the neighborhood are really going to be impacted if Station Village is built.

"It's going to be crazy back here, with cars going back and forth," Garrett added.

Bue some folks who have set up shop on the Bench say urban renewal is long overdue.

"I've seen it come and go," Lee's Candies Owner Curtis Nokleby said. "I think any of that would be good to bring something back to the Bench."

Nokleby told KTVB in the nearly 50 years that the company has been in Vista Village, it's seen times of thriving activity and times of long lulls.

He is excited about the possible business boom this new apartment complex could bring.

Nonetheless, neighbors say, this is not the spot for growth.

"There's plenty of places for new and updated stuff- not in the middle of two railroad tracks," Garrett added.

This proposal will come before the City of Boise Planning and Zoning Commission in November.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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