Nice interview by the Statesman’s Maria La Ganga, with photos and video by Katherine Jones. The Idaho National Guard Armory is part of Boise’s history and a strategic location for a mixed-use development. Its 14,400 square foot drill hall would be ideal for a branch library, craft brewery, farmers market, or other use. With a total of 40,000 square feet and five acres at the base of Boise’s Military Reserve trails complex, the site is ripe for a mix of retail, commercial, residential and public use. Conversations with the Idaho National Guard have also indicate a willingness to provide interpretive materials documenting the Guard’s history in the Armory.
Several of us have been intimately involved with this architectural icon since the East End Neighborhood Association formed the Armory Subcommittee in 2007. Our primary goal was to preserve the building and its historic features. While the California owners have done great work stabilizing the structure and installing landscaping and flood control, it has remained vacant over the past six years, despite many local business owners hoping to strike a deal and our many offers to help market the property and locate ideal tenants.
The right mix of interest and vision can transform the Armory into a neighborhood activity center and asset.
Please note: It was the Statesman’s choice to contrast the Armory property with the Block 75 parcel with a focus on housing. The Armory subcommittee members—each invited in 2007 to represent various skill sets and perspectives—have always sought to accurately reflect the views expressed by neighbors during two well-attended community visioning sessions in December, 2007, first in Old Boise with a follow-up meeting at Roosevelt Elementary School, as well as comments received over the past decade (see more on this here). These views have consistently supported a mixed-use development that provides a range of services and amenities to the surrounding neighborhoods, including medium-density, mixed-income housing that complements the Armory and surrounding neighborhoods.
We realize not everyone wants the same things, but we’ve attempted to faithfully represent the views respectfully expressed throughout these information-gathering sessions.