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BOISE -- Downtown Boise has a seen a lot of changes recently, and now an old Boise staple is getting its turn.

The Owyhee Plaza is one of Downtown Boise's historical locations. Built in 1910, and run as a hotel for about 100 years. It's now getting an overhaul while staying true to its historical character.

In November of 2011, a real estate agent called Clay Carley, general manager of Old Boise, trying to sell the Owyhee Plaza. Carley wasn't interested at first, but that changed when he went to see the property.

When I came down and looked at it, and particularly the components, the bones, they were all so attractive that I decided it was worth the effort, said Carley, one of the Owyhee's new co-owners.

Carley joined with real estate developers Local Construct from Los Angeles, California, and are overhauling the inside of the building, and doing work on the outside, including the sidewalks.

They are going to keep the public spaces from the building's days as a hotel. It will have a ballroom for 330 people, and a penthouse terrace overlooking the city with room for 150 people. The hotel rooms will be converted into apartments (all one-bedrooms and studios) above retail space. They will also have four and a half floors of office space.

For a building that's 103 years old, and kind of an icon in our community, we're doing a lot of firsts, Carley said.

Carley said it's the first apartment building built downtown in the last 20 years, the first with full bike storage, and the first to bring geothermal heating into the building and the sidewalks. Carley's great-great-grandfather originally brought geothermal heating to the city of Boise many years ago.

While there are many firsts, and a lot of improvements, they want to preserve the historic integrity. The white facade of the building on the corner of 11th Street and West Main Street was restored to national park service standards, and deeded to the city of Boise. Now it can never be torn down without the city's consent.

The main challenge was to bring the old and the new together, said Mike Brown, one of the new co-owners of the Owyhee, who works for Local Construct. To make something new, that's a new product, that has brand new spaces in it, that people are going to use in a new way, while referring to, and using, and calling out the historic elements of the building that bring part of the fabric of the life of Boise into the experience of the people who use the Owyhee on a day to day basis.

The opening is planned for July 12 of this year. They are still looking for the main anchor tenant on the corner of 11th and Main, and they want to have an upscale restaurant and bar.

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