An $10 million overhaul of the 1927 Bonneville Hotel in downtown Idaho Falls is due to start in September, nearly two years after Boise-based The Housing Company was awarded the development agreement.
The Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency is purchasing the property from Kent Lott of Idaho Falls for $1.5 million on August 28, and will sell it to The Housing Company for $200,000.
The Housing Company plans to transform the 63-room hotel layout into a 35-unit low-income apartment units. This will entail taking down all non-load-bearing interior walls, said Kathryn Alberg, director of The Housing Company.
People have lived in the five-story hotel for years, even though it has just small single rooms with no kitchens.
The Housing Company will create eight studio apartments, 20 one-bedroom units, three two-bed (one for the manager), and four three-bed units. The rents will range from $270 to $900 and target residents earning 60 percent of the area median income, which is $34,850 for one person in Bonneville County.
There will be four market-rate units. The apartments will have wood-like vinyl floors, laminated counter tops , dishwasher, refrigerator and range, Alberg said.
“A lot of people who live here could potentially work downtown,” Alberg said. “A lot of national studies have shown mixed-income neighborhoods produce much healthier communities.”
The Housing Company will strip the exterior down to its historic roots, removing features added over the decades since 1927, and cleaning and repointing the brick. The street-level “onneville sign with the missing B will be removed because it is not part of the 1927 structure.
“(The project) preserves a really iconic structure for Idaho Falls. It introduces high-quality housing in downtown,” said Brad Cramer, the city’s community development services director and executive director of the IFRdA. “It introduces active uses in the north end of downtown, which we don’t have much of.“
The renovated Bonneville will have 5,000 square feet of retail space, but tenants have not been sought yet.
The Bonneville was home to a popular restaurant that closed about 20 years ago and a bar that closed about 10 years ago.
“It’s especially important to have retail for access to the building,” said Dana Briggs, economic development director at the city of Idaho Falls. “What I hear most is older members of the community have memories of eating there every Sunday.”
The Housing Company is funding the project with a $7.6 million federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit payable over 10 years, a $1.8 million historic tax credit, a $685,000 conventional bank loan and $70,000 in its own funds.
The architect is Myers Anderson Architects of Pocatello and the general contractor is Bateman-Hall General Contractors of Idaho Halls.
The Housing Company is an 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation that helps Idaho communities address affordable, workforce and senior housing issues.
The Housing Company owns 31 apartment complexes with mixes of affordable and market rate housing and Section 8 rental assistance. Eleven are in the eastern Idaho cities of Blackfoot, Pocatello, Chubbuck, Driggs, Rigby, St. Anthony, Rexburg and Ashton. The Bonneville would be the nonprofit’s first Idaho Falls property.