Opportunity at Old Franklin School Site

Message from the Mayor

"Opportunity knocks once.” It’s an ancient adage that came to life for us at the City of Boise recently when a key property at the corner of the Franklin Road and Orchard Street became available.

"Franklin School Memories" (2014) | Traffic Box by Anne Sorrenson Watson, located on the Central Bench.

On March 26, 2019, the Boise City Council endorsed the city’s purchase of 4.7 acres on the southwest corner of that intersection -- a property many of you may know as the old Franklin School site.

We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity this prime piece of land presents for that area of the Bench and our effort to create more housing affordability across our city. And we are eager to work with the Central Bench Neighborhood Association and other neighbors to create a vision of how a future mixed-use project on that site could enrich their neighborhood.

Tuesday’s council endorsement set in motion a 90-day “due diligence period” during which we will evaluate all aspects of the property to ensure it is suitable for a future mixed-use development. If all goes well, we expect to finalize the purchase in mid-June.

Why are we so excited? Honestly, you would have a hard time finding a more suitable location for a great mixed-use development – a project that incorporates both residential and commercial elements. It sits in the heart of one of Boise most diverse neighborhoods, at the intersection of two key thoroughfares and on a Valley Regional Transit bus route. The immediate area around that corner already has a robust commercial and residential presence and with the dedication last summer of Franklin Park literally next door to this property, the city’s investment in that location is already significant.

This is exactly the kind of opportunity envisioned by our Grow Our Housing initiative. While we must still finalize the purchase and have a robust discussion with the neighborhood on what a project might become, it is possible that this property and future project could become the first installment paid by the City of Boise into the still-developing Housing Land Trust that will be a central pillar of our Grow Our Housing strategy.

Please stay tuned for more to come on this project. And, as always, thank you for what you do to make Boise the most livable city in the country.



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