The Monday December 12 Idaho Statesman put on its front page a story about the city of Boise’s work to preserve the Reserve Street Armory through a land exchange and purchase by a California developer.
This proposal is the most realistic among recent proposals that can result in preservation and use of this historic structure in our neighborhood. The Armory has held the attention of a group of East Enders for several years who have worked diligently on behalf of the building’s preservation. Operating as a subcommittee of the EENA board, a compendium of their work can be found at the website reservestreetarmory.com.
The Monday story comes about a month after some EENA board members and Reserve Street Armory Committee members attended a meeting at the Mayor’s office where they were briefed about the impending transaction on the Armory.
A couple days later on November 9th the Mayor said that the City Council approved an agreement with John Arrillaga and Mike McCollum of Palo Alto, CA where their development company will acquire the Armory and land, with a requirement the building not be torn down. The developer intends to invest in the building and find tenants. There is a six month window built in for due diligence, so this is not a done deal, but at this point it sounds pretty good, really the best news in a while.
Reaction from the Armory committee so far is positive. A main objective of preserving the building can be fulfilled.
As for what could be the future uses for this building, it’s site, and potential future buildings is not known at this time. The City Council wrote in to the agreement that the developer shall meet with the EENA board on development ideas. Obviously proposed uses will have to comply with the Boise City Comprehensive Plan and ordinances, including the soon to be finalized Blueprint Boise. Neighborhood involvement is recognized as a given in whatever development ideas would come forward.
While there are many questions to be answered we can be thankful for the hard work of the Reserve Street Armory Committee and the responsiveness of the Boise City leaders for their work to find a developer who can make the effort to come up with new uses for this land and historic building. Thank you Mayor and City Council.