Rebuild Old Boise Blocks
On Grove Street
Community-driven infrastructure and placemaking improvements that support economic vitality and a stronger, more connected neighborhood.
Construction Status – November 10
Construction Week of November 12
The new Veolia water line has been installed from 6th to 5th Streets, and the 5th Street intersection will remain closed to accommodate ongoing Veolia work. The river birches in front of Thomas Logan and The Lucy were successfully transplanted to Morris Hill Cemetery and Marianne Williams Park to enable the upcoming curb and gutter work. The Idaho Department of Labor parking lot work is scheduled for this weekend.
Construction Week of November 19
Water line work in the 5th Street intersection will occur. The week of Thanksgiving, Guho will be working on the canal crossing at the 5th Street intersection. The week following Thanksgiving, Veolia will continue the water line installation from 5th to 4th Streets.
The Old Boise neighborhood has experienced several transitions over the last 150 years as Boise grew and technology evolved. Its agricultural origins featured open canals and water wheels along Grove Street, and the neighborhood was where many of Boise’s founders and prominent citizens called home. As industry grew with the new railway through downtown, a diverse neighborhood emerged where a blend of nationalities lived and worked together. In the mid-twentieth century, the automobile gave way to a desire for paved roadways and areas to park cars. The canals were moved underground, and the neighborhood saw a rise in parking lots and commercial uses.
While the area has seen significant change, the throughline in each of these transitions is that the Old Boise Blocks have been, and continue to be, a neighborhood where people want to live and experience downtown Boise together.
Old Boise Neighborhood Reinvestment
In 2020, Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC) worked with adjacent property owners, neighbors, stakeholders, and the public to develop a collaborative, community-supported vision for the area as a driver in the overall placemaking and reinvestment strategy for the Old Boise Blocks on Grove Street.
Through this collaborative process, several reinvestment strategies and community desires emerged. These included:
- Strong support for a Grove Street that serves as a safe and convenient link between downtown and the eastern neighborhoods.
- Celebration of the neighborhood’s multi-cultural importance and carrying forward the values of inclusivity and cultural traditions
- Investment in the deficient infrastructure and make improvements that support the reemerging mixed-use neighborhood.
- Public-private partnerships to increase economic activity and further energize the neighborhood.
Since the completion of this visioning process, CCDC has entered several public-private partnerships in the neighborhood to realize the goals defined by stakeholders. CCDC has assisted with the consolidation of parking into a single public parking garage at the Home2Suites hotel, which enables surrounding surface-level parking lots to support infill development. This investment has resulted in 174 residences, of which 60 are attainable to individuals earning 80% AMI. With a growing number of residents, and a collective vision for Grove Street,
About the Project
Rebuild Old Boise Blocks on Grove Street is an Agency-led Capital Project funded by CCDC. The Agency designed and is now executing roadway and placemaking improvements that will complete the public investments the community shared in its vision for the future Old Boise Blocks. Through these public investments, CCDC will further assist in the revitalization of the historic neighborhood and support the growing number of residents and private developments.
The project improves three blocks of public right-of-way from 3rd to 6th Streets. Community-driven design reflects Old Boise’s multicultural character and supports the neighborhood’s daily functions. Construction will be completed by Guho Corp. through a multi-phase approach to ensure businesses remain open and access is maintained. CCDC has entered into public partnerships with ACHD and the Idaho Department of Labor (IDOL) to consolidate what would be multiple projects over a prolonged timeline, into a single, streamlined process. Upon completion, both organizations will reimburse the Agency for certain improvements.
Key Project Improvements
Modernized Underground Boise Canal: Irrigation played a critical role in the development of Grove Street. The ditch diverted water from the Boise River to serve the numerous orchards along Grove Street and support agriculture west of downtown. This canal ditch later went on to become the Boise City Canal, which Boise residents still rely on today.
The canal was structured underground in the 1950s to support automobile use in downtown and now needs upgrades to ensure its functionality into the future. The planned upgrades will extend its useful life by 100 years and continue to support Treasure Valley homes, parks, and schools for future generations.
Utility Upgrades: This project includes upgrading public utilities to ensure reliable services for the community. Upgrades include a new water main coordinated with Veolia, upgrades to the stormwater system on behalf of ACHD, and expansion of the City of Boise’s fiber optic network to help reduce broadband costs and increase network speeds.
Pedestrian and Cyclist Infrastructure: This project improves connectivity and safety for residents, employees, and visitors to the neighborhood with a pedestrian-priority and cyclist-friendly environment. Enhanced street crossings with raised intersections and “bulb-outs” will make navigating intersections on foot or by bike safer and more convenient.
Streetscape Enhancements: The street-level retail in mixed-use buildings developed through public-private partnerships bring patio cafes and shopping to Grove Street. New streetscapes accommodate the residential outdoor lifestyle and street commerce with wide sidewalks and unique amenities. These include:
- Flush curb transitions between sidewalk and roadway like the Basque Block to the west.
- Locally sourced, custom-designed sandstone seating
- Decorative concrete scoring
- Specialty pavers in the furnishing zone
- Additional street trees, bike racks, streetlights, and trash receptacles
- Improved access to CW Moore Park
Roadway Repaving: Through an interagency partnership with Ada County Highway District (ACHD), the project will rebuild the roadway with concrete paving to provide a more enjoyable driving experience with less overall maintenance and disruptions to the neighborhood in the future.
Enhanced Pedestrian Safety with Reduced Curb-Cuts: An interagency partnership with the Idaho Department of Labor (IDOL) will eliminate six curb cuts on Grove Street adjacent to the IDOL office. This will improve safety and provide a continuous pedestrian-oriented streetscape. The elimination of curb cuts requires the parking lot to be reconfigured for appropriate vehicle circulation. The project will provide the reconfiguration on IDOL’s behalf and will be reimbursed for the work by the Department.
Celebrating Heritage: The project will include new public art pieces that celebrate the Old Boise Blocks’ agricultural importance and carry forward the values of inclusivity and multi-cultural connection for the current and future neighborhood residents. CCDC is partnering with the City of Boise Department of Arts & History to procure two public art installations. Mungo Ligoya has designed Crossroads of Boise, which includes ten bronze inlays to be set into the new sidewalks. These inlays portray flowers significant to the many cultures present in the neighborhood. Bobby Zokaites is designing a public art installation adjacent to the CW Moore Park Water Wheel, which will serve as a safety barrier and celebrate the neighborhood’s ongoing agricultural heritage.
Project Phases and Timeline
Construction Start: October 30, 2023
Milestone 1: Canal Upgrades (November 2023 – April 2024)
The rebuilding of the canal will be completed during irrigation off-season to avoid disruption in irrigation services
Milestone 2: Ensuring Capitol Access During the Legislative Session (January 2024 – April 2024)
In preparation for the legislative session commencing in January 2024, our work on 5th and 6th Streets will be completed before and after the Legislative Session, guaranteeing unobstructed travel to and from the Capitol.
Project Complete: Summer 2024
CCDC senior project manager, Karl Woods, is overseeing this project.
Frequently Asked Questions
The main project goal is to complete the public investments the community shared in its vision for the future Old Boise Blocks. Through these public investments, CCDC will further assist in the revitalization of the historic neighborhood and support the growing number of residents and private developments.
CCDC is doing this through the reconstruction of the roadway on behalf of ACHD, constructing enhanced streetscapes to support street-level retail in the mixed-use buildings, improving connectivity and safety for residents, employees, and visitors to the neighborhood with a pedestrian-priority and cyclist-friendly environment, upgrading utilities such as fiber optic and Veolia waterlines, and modernizing the underground canal structure.
Some of the streetscapes have been improved. In 2020, CCDC improved the streetscapes at the 6th and Grove intersection and installed “bulb-outs” for pedestrian safety and a raised “tabletop” intersection. These safety improvements will be implemented at the unimproved intersections at 5th, 4th, and 3rd Streets.
Additionally, in 2022, CCDC assisted with the temporary streetscapes in front of Thomas Logan and The Lucy apartments between 6th and 5th Streets. These streetscapes were installed in coordination with the property developer to allow for the occupancy of the two apartment buildings. CCDC is now completing the final, planned streetscapes along this section of Grove Street, which will include the rolled curb and custom, sandstone seating elements. In partnership with the City of Boise, the existing street trees will be removed for the construction of the curb but replanted in an appropriate location in one of the City’s many parks.
Yes! Throughout the phases of construction, the project team will ensure that businesses are accessible with ample detour signage and construction safety barriers. Additionally, the team will work to limit noise, dust and disruption as much as possible.
Streetscapes refer to the design of our urban public right-of-ways including sidewalks, streets and crossings. This project will make improvements such as increased lighting and street trees, added furnishings like bike racks, planters, and trash receptacles, and expanded sidewalks. All these enhancements create an attractive and inviting neighborhood and can help spur local economic activity.