Salvation Army selling North End property including historic building

BOISE, Idaho - A historic building in Boise's North End is now up for sale as a nonprofit gets ready to expand. But with this white-hot real estate market, some are worried the building could end up being demolished to make way for new development. 

"Our biggest fear is that some big developer is going to come in and just tear it all down," said  Frank Eld of Preservation Idaho.

Built in 1921, The Booth Home first served the Salvation Army as a hospital and was named after the nonprofit's founder. Now part of the Marian Pritchett Memorial School, pregnant and parenting teens work to get a high school education with child care and other support on site. It's a partnership between the Boise School District and the Salvation Army. 

"We're really excited to have the opportunity to expand Salvation Army programming by building a new facility on Emerald and Maple Grove Road," said Robert Lloyd of the Treasure Valley Salvation Army. "That will allow us to help far more people in our community."
   
The Salvation Army recently broke ground on their new campus. To help cover the 8.5 million dollar price tag, they're selling the North End property, leaving many worried about the future of the historic Booth Home. 

"We know this is prime property and we also know there is such a build up new development here, and this is a key piece," said Eld. "This building we would like to see it preserved."

City officials say knocking down the old building wouldn't be an easy task. It's in a historic district, any new development, alterations or removal of existing structures would require special certification by the Historic Preservation Commission. Even many of trees on the property are protected, but some with Preservation Idaho are skeptical the commission will keep the building safe.

"We're not comfortable that it always works," said Eld. "We're glad it's there because most places don't have it  and we wish we felt a little more comfortable."

On top of the preservation commission, the Booth Home is located within the boundaries of the North End Neighborhood Association. Any development application will require a meeting before advancing to city leaders who say they would strongly recommend that the property buyer plan for an extended interactive process with the entire neighborhood.

"We feel a strong obligation to continue to do what we do best, and unfortunately that's not necessarily developing properties it's not necessarily taking specific steps to preserve history or anything," said Lloyd. "We're really focused on what we do today and were focused on what we're excited to be able to do tomorrow."

Thornton Oliver Keller is the commercial real estate broker handling the sale and will accept sealed bids until April 27th. A listing price has not been announced. 

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