Interestingly, the condos in the Boise shell itself are on the backburner, and apartments for what had been the third phase are now on the table. The location has significant challenges for different kinds of access as it is hemmed in by the railroad, park, and creek on each side. It's not likely an easy site to work with. But...there's always buts.
|View of backside from park - a bit of a three-story wall|
More particularly, the design, called The Residences at Riverfront Park, actually turns its back on the Park and creates something of a gated community instead of a procession of interesting urban spaces from public, to private-public, to private. On the edges and at transitions, it doesn't collaborate very well with the park. But because of its location and the incentives offered by the City for developing it, it is reasonable to ask that it collaborate and be a better partner.
Unfortunately the approvals process does not call for a public hearing, and it may not be possible to alter the design on this phase. Hopefully this will not set the stage for design on what was phase I, the Boise shell proper.
|Site Plan Overview: No new RR crossing!|
|Entry and view from Carousel Parking Lot and Access Drive|
|Three-story apartment buildings ring lot and clubhouse|
A chainlink fence will surround the compound. And path connections will be locked and gated apparently.
|Buildings back onto Park with fencing and gates|
Fortunately there is a space fronting the Carousel parking lot designated commercial. One can only hope for a cafe and sidewalk seating by the playground! Or something like that, anyway. That certainly looks like what the architect envisions in the elevation showing the entry drive. Maybe a wider sidewalk and a couple fewer parking stalls??? (The site plan may show a wider sidewalk.)
|View from Carousel Lot (slightly to west and rotated from third image|
The commercial space and entry is on left)
|Pioneer Trust Bank, circa 1910|
|Cornices, indentations, and bands of brick at Keizer Station|
On the one hand, it's great for the City to set up a process like this to speed important developments into construction. This is a gravel lot right now. No one should want it to remain a gravel lot.
On the other hand, given the quasi-public nature of the site and the incentives offered by the City and Urban Renewal Agency, it seems reasonable to make sure public interests are satisfied. The City is putting a beautiful foot bridge right beside it! That's a huge publicly-funded amenity, not to mention the Park itself. This development could be much more stylish, urbane, and civic-minded.
In particular, I'm sure there are ways the transitions between the park and private space could have been managed to create a more inviting and dynamic set of edge conditions, conditions for strolling and even for commerce. The massing and fencing just creates too much of a compound or mall enclosed and separated from Park and City.
In general, the style and site plan feels like something that belongs more in the suburbs than right downtown. It's not terrible, but it could be better.