IDAHO FALLS — After two years of renovations, the much-anticipated Bonneville Hotel project in downtown Idaho Falls is now complete.
Members of the community gathered on the main floor of the building Thursday to celebrate. The celebration began with a program and ceremonial ribbon-cutting. Tours were available during an open house immediately following.
Take a tour of the building in the video player above.
Lee Radford, chairman of the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency, tells EastIdahoNews.com this was the capstone project intended to spur growth in downtown, and now that it’s finished, downtown will be a much more attractive place for residents and visitors.
“We’ve kept a major landmark looking beautiful and that does help generate traffic for this end of town,” Radford says. “It’s also encouraged other developers to build residential space downtown.”
The building has five floors. There are a total of 35 studio apartments on the top three floors of the building and a laundry room and indoor play area for kids in the basement. Other amenities include a community room and kitchen area.
The newly renovated hotel also includes 5,000-square-feet of commercial space on the main floor. Randy Waters with SVN High Desert Commercial and Century 21 High Desert says he’s met with several potential tenants for the space, but a deal has not been finalized.
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Renovations on the $11.4 million project got underway in Sept. 2018. After some initial funding hiccups, Optum became the largest investor for the project when it contributed $8.8 million last July. Optum is the company that manages and administers mental health resources provided through Medicaid in Idaho.
“People often ask us why a healthcare company would be investing in housing,” Optum spokesperson Angie Radford told the crowd during the celebration. “When you consider that Optum’s mission is to help people live healthier lives, it’s investments just like these that help us reach that goal.”
Housing is a critical element in achieving better health, she says.
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The Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency contributed another $1.3 million for the project. Additional funding was provided by The Housing Company, Idaho Housing and Finance Association, Enterprise Housing Credit Investments, and the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho.
“We appreciate everyone who has supported the Bonneville Hotel and we invite everyone to come downtown and spend some money,” says Lee Radford.
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The Bonneville Hotel was built in 1927. At the time of its construction, it was the largest hotel in eastern Idaho. It functioned as a hotel for more than 40 years before it was converted into apartment housing. A popular Chinese restaurant remained in operation on the main floor until the mid-1990s. People were still living there until renovations began 16 months ago.
The Bonneville Hotel then and now.