MERIDIAN, ID — If you're anything like Luke Cavener, you might remember a different Meridian than the one we see today.
"I can recall a time when I was a child that we didn't really have any apartments in Meridian at all. You might remember a different looking meridian than the one we see today. And even, ya know, when I moved back to Meridian 10 to 12 years ago, there were two apartment complexes that were available to rent in Meridian. So we've seen a dramatic change," said Cavener, City of Meridian Council Member.
And the numbers agree. Meridian City representatives say they permitted 868 multi-family dwelling units in 2017. In 2018, that number rose by more than 42 percent at more than 1200 units.
"There's a need for apartments in our community-- specifically when you look at Millennials."
Cavener says now-- more than ever-- young people are moving to Meridian; including ICOM students.
"Most millennials would prefer to rent a place than to take on a significant amount of debt that comes to home ownership."
And this-- he says-- is important for the economy.
"If we want to attract a younger workforce, we've got to have apartments available."
And it's not just cost contributing to this boom.
"It provides them with a high-class style of living with great amenities: swimming pools, basketball courts, bocce ball. We're even seeing apartments coming on more and more with tot lots, and playgrounds-- because they really want to create a healthy, fun environment where people can choose to live there-- and not just live there because it's the only thing that they can afford."
And for all the people moving there-- after all, Meridian's population reportedly grew more than tenfold since 1990-- maybe renting an apartment just seems more attractive, Cavener said.
"To really get a feel for each of the communities in the valley, build those friendships, grow their roots, and then ultimately make that decision about where they're going to live long-term."