The historic Bonneville Hotel in Idaho Falls is about to undergo a complete restoration. Over the course of the next year, it will be stripped down to its core and transformed into 35 new affordable apartments. The hotel, which occupied the corner of Constitution Way in downtown Idaho Falls for nearly a century, was once dubbed the “fireproof skyscraper” and was Idaho Falls’ crown jewel. However, as the city grew and more hotels popped up, this once-luxurious hotel faded. Today, the hotel’s restaurant and bar are gone, advertising signs shattered, and even the street-level sign misidentifies the historic building as the “onneville.”
Renovation adds 35 affordable apartments to Idaho Falls
The Housing Company’s rehabilitation will include re-engineering the current building by taking down some interior to make way for 35 family apartments. All of the affordable apartments in Idaho Falls will include dishwashers, garbage disposals, ranges, refrigerators, wood-like vinyl floors and laminated countertops. There will be eight studio apartments, 20 one-bedroom units, three two-bedroom, and four three-bedroom apartments. There will also be several market-rate apartments. The ground floor will include a 5,000 square feet space for commercial purposes.
To maintain the building’s historical integrity, The Housing Company will follow preservation guidelines from the National Park Service and Idaho State Historic Preservation Office. Some of those recommendations include, cleaning masonry only when necessary, removing damaged or deteriorated paint to the next sound layer as gently as possible, and repairing parts of the structure when possible as opposed to replacement.
The renovation process was made possible because of a donation of more than $1 million from the Idaho Falls Urban Renewal Agency to buy the hotel. The Housing Company secured more than $7.5 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits through Idaho Housing and Finance Association. The Housing Company is also receiving more than $2 million in historic tax credits.
“Idaho Falls is thrilled that all of the partner and financing components came together to not only preserve a historic structure, but to provide high-quality, affordable housing downtown,” said Brad Cramer, Idaho Falls’ director of community development services.
The Bonneville Apartments are expected to be completed in October 2019.