Owner of Boise Bench senior home pulls plug on redevelopment. What happens next?
The owners of a senior home on the Boise Bench have abandoned their efforts to turn the home into multi-family apartments. But the future of the assisted living center is in doubt, as its owners have said they are losing millions operating it.
DiNapoli Capitol Partners, a private-equity firm in Walnut Creek, California, has been trying to win approval to convert Arbor Village, at 1093 S. Hilton St., into apartments for the past year.
At a series of hearings at the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Boise City Council, city leaders have fretted about how the closure would affect 90 or so assisted living residents, many of whom have dementia or other disabilities.
The conversion would have required a conditional use permit, which gives city leaders latitude to impose conditions on a project. In the case of Arbor Village, those conditions became strict: six months of notice required for residents to vacate; a requirement that the owners identify and pay for relocation expenses to get residents into new housing; and a requirement that the company be responsible for any higher difference in rent for the former residents for three years.
Council members also expressed concerns about reports that the home was still accepting new residents while it sought to put the property to different use, so they added another requirement that DiNapoli stop accepting new tenants. Last fall, the council remanded the company’s application back down to Planning and Zoning after concluding it had not properly notified residents of the impending changes.
In public discussions, city leaders have said they were weighing their desire to ensure the residents would be accommodated for while also trying to avoid imposing such stringent requirements that could lead the private company to extract itself from the property on short notice.
“I worry ... that this will lend more credence for the owner to just simply close this facility and make this vulnerable population even more vulnerable,” said Council Member Latonia Haney Keith at a May 2 council meeting, when the conditions were finalized.
At the Boise City Council earlier this month, DiNapoli Vice President Michael Sieman said the home’s residents are on month-to-month leases. Instead of paying for moving costs, more expensive rent and giving six months’ notice to tenants in exchange for redeveloping the home as apartments, the company could give its residents 30 days’ notice and close the home.
“If we don’t get some relief, then we start exploring what our other options are in terms of vacating the building, selling it — I think everything’s on the table,” he said at the meeting.
DiNapoli withdrew its application early this month, according to a letter from the company’s attorney, Amanda Schaus. Schaus did not respond to a request for comment.
Planning Director Tim Keane at Tuesday’s council meeting said he has had several “good conversations” with DiNapoli to ensure that the city would be aware of whatever decision the company makes, so it could “step in” and help the residents in any way it can.
Boise assisted-living residents plead: Save our homes. Don’t turn them into apartments
“They’re not making any rash decisions regarding what happens next,” Keane said, adding that he does not expect a decision to be “imminent.”
Other than selling the property, the company could close the home and build single-family or duplex developments without conceding to additional demands from the city, according to an email from the Planning Department’s spokesperson, Lindsay Moser.