As we all know, time moves only one way. The Armory, like the rest of us, isn’t getting any younger. The Armory Subcommittee has so far been very impressed with the commitment shown by the Mayor’s office to pursue opportunities to preserve the historic structure and repurpose the site and interior space. We have learned that although offers have been made over time, most involve demolition of the structure.
Few developers combine an appreciation of the building’s history and Art Deco details with the resources to restore the building to a community asset. We also recognize the city could have auctioned the site off years ago, and Boise would have lost a historic reminder of our architectural and military legacy. That they have held out this long is an example of their sensitivity to neighborhood involvement and an appreciation for the strategic nature of the structure and site to Boise’s long-term vitality.
We are hopeful, and continue to hear from interested neighbors and Armory fans with great ideas for the location. The latest among these is a suggestion to create something along the lines of the Tech Shop in San Francisco. If you’ve never heard of Tech Shop, here’s a description from their web site:
TechShop is a membership-based workshop that provides members with access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a community of creative and supportive people so they can build the things they have always wanted to make.
Keep the great ideas coming!
Please stay tuned to this site for updates, put your thinking caps on and keep your fingers crossed. More soon!
The economic downturn has been rough for everyone in Boise. It has brought some development (and the economic activity generated) to a standstill. Not surprisingly, this has had an impact on the Armory process. On the positive side, it has also offered time for everyone involved to consider the site and its potential with the benefit of more time and perspective.
The condition of the Armory structure has been a source of some speculation for decades. The City of Boise correctly recognized that a thorough engineering analysis of the building was necessary to estimate costs for preservation, stabilization and repurposing. City staffed recently commissioned a formal engineering study that speaks to seismic and hazardous materials considerations. This is not only valuable information from a city and neighborhood perspective, but puts the City of Boise in a much better position to work with a potential purchaser or entertain preservation and repurposing.
The site and structure continue to attract the interest of developers and businesses. We are hopeful that new signs of life in the economy will make it possible to see progress in the coming year. The structure continues to be the target of vandals despite the City’s vigilance, but we are hopeful the 2011 will be a good year for everyone concerned. With luck, the site will once again be a source of community pride, a center of activity and creative energy, and an engine for growth in the local economy.
Our hope is that the work of EENA and the Armory subcommittee, in partnership with the City of Boise and other interested parties, has contributed to the body of knowledge about the Armory. It must be said that throughout this process our members have consistently been impressed with the work and conduct of City staff, Mayor Bieter and Council. EENA’s goal from the start was to approach the process proactively and openly as partners. The City has responded in kind with respect and creative flexibility; most importantly, they have listened to neighbors pursuing practical solutions. This is how things are supposed to work.
Again, we are fortunate to have had the involvement and commitment of generous and talented neighbors throughout the process. Beside the Armory subcommittee, we all owe a debt of gratitude to neighbor Cheryl Flinn, whose contribution of web design and hosting make this site possible as a source of information for neighbors, City staff and potential developers and partners. This has been an invaluable gift.
It’s not over yet, but it’s moving in the right direction. More soon.
Just a quick update to let folks know the Reserve Street Armory team is still active and tracking progress. Last fall, CCDC engaged a professional consulting firm to conduct preliminary studies of the Armory site and its relationship to other publicly owned parcels nearby. As we await the results of this early work, the advisory team is considering next steps from a neighborhood perspective. Stay tuned for announcements in the next few weeks and months. Thanks to all who have commented and offered your help!
Click the link below to download the latest update and summary of the Armory Subcommitte’s work. Thanks to all who have been participating on the subcommittee, posting comments to the web site, and participating in the public process.
Armory subcommittee update letter