Apartments, new hotel planned on site of Vista Ave. hotels in Boise

A potential project to redevelop a large hotel site near the Boise Airport appears to be moving forward. BoiseDev first reported on the project last summer.

Gardner Company held a pre-application meeting with the City of Boise last week on a proposal to replace several hotels at 3300 S. Vista Ave. near Interstate 84.

Boise Management Inc. owns the 9,126-acre property. Gardner Co. President David Wali told BoiseDev last year that his firm is working as a developer on the property.

The project would be split into two phases, according to an application letter from Gardner Co. development coordinator Dave Bieter. The first phase would replace parking and a Lotus by Hotel Inn hotel on the east end of the site.

Apartments first

Two five-story apartment buildings would go up. An underground parking lot would sit under one of the buildings. Then five stories of apartments would be built, with five studios, 115 one-bedroom, 60 two-bedroom and five three-bedroom units, totaling 255 bedrooms across 180 apartments.

“We will also be requesting a density bonus for affordable housing whereby 20% of the units would be rented to those making 100% of AMI,” Bieter (the former Boise Mayor) wrote. To get the bonus, Bieter is asking to go above the normal height limit for the zoning to go up five stories.

Gardner says it plans to ask to rezone the entire property to commercial zoning. Currently, the back half of the property carries a single-family residential zoning designation, even though it has a hotel property that generally wouldn’t be allowed in that zone.

Then, a new hotel

The project’s second phase would tear down two other hotel properties – one branded as Ramada by Wyndham and another as Americas Best Value Inn & Suites. A new hotel would go up instead.

“Phase 2 would involve demolishing the existing hotel and constructing a new, 222 room hotel with amenities, including a restaurant, pool, gym, and meeting space,” Bieter wrote. “Additionally, a Hindu temple will be added to the end of the hotel structure.”

The hotel building would also include underground parking and sit along Vista Ave. at Sunrise Rim Rd. The first floor would include 6,700 square feet of courtroom space, a 5,600 square foot restaurant, and a pool and gym area. Hotel rooms would fill out the other three stories of the four-story building, arranged in a horseshoe shape facing Vista.

Bieter said the new apartments and hotel would not allow access via nearby residential streets, with cars going on to Vista or Sunrise Rim.

The three current hotel buildings, although now all branded separately, used to be part of a Holiday Inn-branded property. The hotel was remodeled in the 1970s to include a new Solar Dome Indoor Fun center, which opened in 1976 – and was later branded as the Holidome. In June 2008, the Holiday Inn brand was removed, and a parade of hotel brands has graced the property since.

The developer held a pre-application meeting with the City of Boise last week and has asked to hold a neighborhood meeting. The project could then move to the formal application stage, although some projects never make it to that part of the process.

Bieter said in his letter that the project intends to apply for a general exception, a provision in Boise City Code that allows a property with split zoning to be pulled into a single zone upon the approval of the Boise Planning & Zoning Commission.

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