Coeur d'Alene residents worried about Midtown project



Posted on May 28, 2014 at 6:12 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 28 at 6:26 AM

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho -- Developers planned to build affordable apartments and retail shops in Midtown Coeur d’Alene but the idea has some nearby residents and business owners concerned.

The businesses owners and residents said the three-story apartment building with retail shops would be too tall, create too much traffic and would create issues with people living in the area.

The development would be on 4th Street. It would include retail shops on the street level and two stories of affordable housing.

Longtime Coeur d’Alene resident Gregg Johnson said he wanted to see something become of the grass lot behind his home, but he is not particularly excited about a potential three story building there.

"Low-income housing, not real keen on it,” said Johnson.

The project was a joint venture between a Boise non-profit, which specializes in affordable housing, and the Lake City Development Corporation. The Boise developer would receive federal tax credits. The developer would then sell those credits to investors to fund the project with the intention of creating affordable apartments.

The owner of nearby Bo Jack’s Bar, Brentano Russeli, said he could also see problems between his patrons and anyone living across the street.

"This being a bar, the place is open till 2 in the morning with people out front, people inside, the music,” said Russeli.

Tony Berns with Lake City Development Corporations said he was aware of the concerns.

"Well, I would say that the folks living in these units will be vetted. They have to apply to be accepted. They have to be working, they have to paychecks coming in,” said Berns.

Berns added that the development would give an economic boost to the area.

"We want it active. [We want] coffee shops - any type where people can move in and out that will not only help this project, but will help the whole Midtown area,” said Berns.

Johnson said he wanted more discussion on the project.

"I want to see something come here just as much as anybody else. But I’d rather see some businesses, a park - you know, another eatery, whatever,” said Berns.

There was no firm timetable for the project in May. The Boise non-profit still had to apply to receive the tax credits from the federal government. That was not expected to happen until late in 2014.