Affordable apartments slated for Overland Road

Prime 17 is planned as 17 affordable apartments with rents at $600 to $650. Image courtesy of Jeff Hatch.

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a new proposed affordable housing apartment complex, let alone an attempt to build affordable housing without federal low-income housing tax credits or other incentives.

Wendy Klahr wants to build a 17-unit, three-story apartment complex with one-bedroom “efficiency units” on Overland Road with monthly rents in the $600 to $650 range. The Prime 17 complex could also become condos at about $120,000 to $140,000.

Klahr’s planned urban development got Boise Planning & Zoning Commission approval Sept. 17, but a few more city approvals are needed – and Klahr is still wrestling with finding affordable construction costs.

“We had one person quote $200 a square foot range,” Klahr said about construction cost estimates from a potential developer. “We can do it if we can fall in the $120 to $140 (per square foot) range. In a perfect world, we would start construction in spring, certainly next year.”

Prime 17 would be immediately west of Rockies Diner and across the street from Chicago Connection. Klahr picked a 1.5-mile stretch Of Overland between Vista and Orchard with hardly any homes. She sees it as a location with many shopping and dining options within walking distance.

“It makes a ton of sense to me,” she said. “You can walk to restaurants. You can ride your bike downtown. There are neighborhood bars. There are banks. You can get anywhere (on the bus that runs on Overland).”

The .24-acre lot currently has an outdoor emissions testing station and a Mexican food truck.

Klahr — who is developing the property with her husband, Brad — consulted with her daughter, a Boise State University student, and several of her daughter’s friends to get a sense of what the younger generation needs.

“Half of the people I talk to don’t even have a car and don’t even want one,” Klahr said.

She imagines Prime 17 will be all one-bedroom units, with maybe a few that include a small den. Units would run 350 to 400 square feet.

“It’s going to be an efficiency unit,” she said.

Even though she’s creating affordable housing, she hopes to put in granite counters but said the younger generation tells her they don’t care about stainless steel appliances, which are common in market-rate apartments these days.

“I’m totally excited about this project,” Klahr said. “One of my greatest passions is a) infill development and b) creating an affordable product.”

The architect is Jeff Hatch at Hatch Design Architecture in Boise. A general contractor has not been selected.