A Boise developer plans to build an apartment building near the Boise Towne Square mall featuring small units, each the size of a hotel room.

CCD Properties has submitted plans to the city for The Cole Road Apartments at 709 N. Cole Road, a triangular 1.4-acre property just south of Emerald Street.

The four-story building, on the west side of Cole, across from Candlewood Suites, is planned for 71 apartments with 340 square feet to 412 square feet each. The Ridenbaugh Canal separates the property from the mall parking lot.

A drawing shows 77 parking spaces. The property is currently bare ground.

“The landowner/developer wishes to provide a low-cost, micro-unit development that will create naturally occurring work-force and affordable housing,” wrote Eric Anderson, of ALC Architecture of Boise, in a letter to the city. “This project is centrally positioned with retail, restaurants and entertainment amenities within close proximity.”

A hearing before the Boise Planning & Zoning Commission is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, at Boise City Hall. The hearing can also be viewed online.

David Cadwell, a commercial real estate broker with Colliers International, is listed as a member of CCD Properties, according to a business registration filed with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office. Cadwell declined to comment, referring a reporter to another one of the developers, Ryan Gaston, senior vice president of development at Barclay Group, a company with offices in Boise, Phoenix and Tampa, Florida. Gaston did not return a call.

Micro-apartments have been developed in major U.S. and foreign cities in response to high housing costs, and now they are proposed in Boise. The cofounder of a company that partners with developers to build micro-apartments demonstrates a desk, which expands into a dining table that can seat up to 12 people, inside an apartment in New York City. Julie Jacobson AP

Micro-apartments, with less space than typical studio apartments, are the latest trend in housing, meant to make efficient use of space. A sleeping area, kitchen, bathroom and living room are crammed into the space of a master bedroom.

They are increasingly found in cities such as New York City and Boston and on Canada’s Vancouver Island.

The application, first reported by BoiseDev, does not provide details on individual apartments, but micro-apartments often are built with features meant to make the units appear larger, such as high ceilings and large windows. Common areas, such as a community room or a rooftop deck and storage areas, are often included. Some designs include a loft or a fold-up bed to maximize space.

CCD Properties, which has owned the land since 2006, expects to attract low-income-renters who earn less than 80% of Boise’s median income of $74,800. For a single person, that’s $41,900. If 30% of the salary went to rent, that would be $1,048 per month.

A half-mile north, NeighborWorks Boise is waiting to build 39 affordable single-family homes for sale at the old Cole Elementary School lot at Cole and Fairview streets. The project has received design review approval and is waiting for a building permit.

Cole road 2.JPG
The Cole Road Apartments are planned just south of Emerald Street on a parcel next to the east boundary of the Boise Towne Square mall. Seventy-one apartments would be built next to the Ridenbaugh Canal. Provided by city of Boise

Most affordable housing projects in the Treasure Valley that rent or sell to people earning less than the median wage use federal tax subsidies awarded through the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, or IHFA. Without the credits, it’s difficult for developers to offer housing below market rates, because of high construction costs.

Last year, Boise developer Clay Carley was awarded $1 million in tax credits annually for 10 years to include 45 low-income units in a 60-unit, seven-story apartment building being built in downtown Boise. The project at Sixth and Grove streets will help provide housing to those who work in downtown Boise but don’t make enough to live nearby.

Adare Manor, which opened last year with 134 apartments at 2419 W. Fairview Ave., was financed through those tax credits. So was River Senior Housing at 514 S. 12th St.

A one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with 630 square feet at Adare is listed for between $780 and $1,100. A two-bedroom apartment with 833 square feet is listed between $944 and $1,250.

CCD Properties has not applied for any such credits or had discussions with the IHFA, said Benjamin Cushman, an IHFA spokesperson.

“The product that we are proposing for this project will provide additional housing to these renters that are currently being priced out of the Boise market,” Anderson wrote. “The current underwriting for the project estimates this project will be able to rent at or near these levels for a studio apartment and slightly higher for a one-bedroom apartment.”

A monthly rent of $1,048 would be nearly $200 higher than the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Ada County, as reported Friday by the Southwest Idaho chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers. For the fourth quarter of 2020, the group reported a monthly average rent of $850 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,105 for a two-bedroom apartment.

The vacancy rate among the 5,032 units managed by Southwest Idaho chapter members in Ada County was 1.1%, down from 4.7% the previous quarter.

ApartmentList.com, which uses U.S. Census Bureau data along with current rental transactions and historical data from specific rental units, reports that the median rent rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Boise is $1,020 per month. Its figures reflects data collected between March and December 2020.

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Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.

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