BOISE -- Major changes are on the way for the building formerly known as the Owyhee Plaza. There are new owners to go along with a new name for the 100 year old building. While the signs are the same, at least for now, the building will now be called the Owyhee Place.
The new owners want to revitalize the building that hasn't had any major changes since the 1970s. One of the first major changes will be to shut down the hotel on April 1st.
The plan with the exterior of the building is to restore it to its original look as much as possible, while giving the inside a much more modern look.
The exterior is now brick and sandstone. The sandstone is covered in red paint. The plan is to get rid of the paint, expose the rock and put back in the windows that were sealed a long time ago.
We think with the right color, and exposing that sandstone, it will bring it back to life, said Clay Carley, general manager of the Owyhee Place LLC.
So it doesn't take a lot of imagination to realize what this is going to look like in the near future, said Carley.
Those are just the changes to the outside. Inside there will be major work done, starting with the hotel.
They'll demolish the building on 12th and Grove streets and make more parking spots. The other 68 rooms will become one bedroom, one bath apartments with hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances.
They'll be market rate rentals, the vacancy rate downtown is just three percent so there's a high demand for living downtown and affordability is critical, said Carley.
Inside the main building there will be more changes.
We need to think of intelligent ways to open it up, make it obvious where you need to go, said Carley as he stood at the west entrance of the building, not able to see any stairs or elevators to get to the second floor.
To solve that, they re looking at putting in a grand staircase where a lobby currently sits.
Just about everything needs some attention, said Carley.
The ballroom where people meet will also see changes. Crews will remove 25 percent of the walls and make them flexible so the room will be more adaptable.
Our goal is to recreate this property to be Boise's preferred meeting space, said Carley.
Then an addition that was lost during the era of prohibition. Carley says they're turning the roof into a lounge, open to the public.
There's nothing like this, that's certain, said Carley.
The floors that are now offices will be completely gutted and rebuilt based on tenant needs. On the main floor, the Plaza Grill will keep the 1910 look, complete with high ceilings and the incredible craftsmanship.
But the Gamekeeper restaurant will be completely changed and come back with a new name and new look. For the last few years, it s sat empty, unused.
This will really be an active, attractive exterior to attract people to come and dine, said Carley.
There's quite a lot that needs to be done and it all starts this May or June. The plan is to have everything but the office space done later this year.
The work will be done sections at a time so the main building can stay open during construction.
When everything is done the plan is to have office space large enough for 300 to 400 people, and have meeting rooms able to accommodate 30,000 people a year.