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Union Block building in downtown Boise to remain vacant pending infrastructure fixes

A screenshot of the street facing side of the Union Block Building, with construction fences in front of it.
City of Boise
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City Council Screenshot
Built in 1902, the Union Block building is one of Boise's oldest landmarks.

One of Boise’s oldest landmarks, the Union Block Building on Idaho street, will remain vacant until structural issues are fixed.

The Union Block building was built in 1902 and until recently, housed Moon’s Kitchen diner and Mai Thai restaurant. In November, the city ordered tenants to vacate the building, after engineers determined it was unsafe to the public.

Owner Ken Howell appealed the decision and on Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to deny the appeal.

City official Jason Blais said the building had “severe” infrastructural issues, including cracks, inadequate shoring and unstable columns.

“The shoring in some areas of this building is two to three times overstressed. And that's with tenants and people in it,” he said.

While demolition is an option for unsafe infrastructures, Director of Planning and Development Tim Keane said the initial order to vacate was meant to hasten the building’s preservation.

“The city will take every action we need to in order to protect and save this building,” Keane said.

The appellant did not show up to the meeting. The Union Block is privately owned, but the city has a facade easement on the building to preserve its historical look.

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.

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