top story Rising construction costs prompt delay for Main & Broadway project By Holly Beech email@example.com HollyBeechMP Aug 9, 2017 (…) Downtown Meridian property owner Josh Evarts has revised his plans for the Main & Broadway project to involve three stories instead of four — a way to cut costs in a competitive construction market. Construction on the building, at 703 N. Main St. near Meridian City Hall, is expected to start sometime around March. Rendering by neUdesign Architecture & Construction, courtesy of Josh Evarts Inspired by the rich history in downtown Meridian, Josh Evarts has renovated the old Meridian bank building into an event center and art studio called the Vault. He’ll open the Cigar Lounge in the space this fall. By Holly Beech The Meridian Library District opened the unBound branch in October 2015. By Holly Beech/MP A proposed four-story building in downtown Meridian has been delayed and reduced to three stories — changes spurred by rising construction costs.Property owner Josh Evarts had hoped to get construction started in June on the new Main & Broadway building. He and his wife, Lori, have sold their home with plans to live on the top floor.But with “enormous amounts” of construction going on in Boise and Meridian, subcontractors are in low supply and high demand, which has driven up labor costs, Evarts said. Projects that got delayed because of the harsh winter, he added, only made the shortage worse. × Advertisement The new plan is to start construction in March, with a goal to finish by fall, Evarts said. Wright Brothers Building Co. is the builder.The Evarts still plan to live on the top floor, but the building will have only one residential unit instead of two. Josh Evarts envisions four more residential units during phase two of construction on the building next door.“Until we get more density of people living in downtown Meridian, it’s really, really tough to make a lot of the retail numbers work,” he said.The first phase is at 703 N. Main St., the former Treasure Valley Children's Theater, and the second phase, not expected until 2019, is at 713 N. Main St., where the unBound library branch is.Along with a top floor housing unit, the Main & Broadway building will likely have a restaurant on the bottom floor and office or retail space on the second floor. Starting the project in June would have cost 30 to 40 percent higher than anticipated, Evarts said. He expects March to be a better time of year to go out for bids.“We have to get this right, we don’t have to get this fast,” he said. “In downtown Meridian, we just can’t get the numbers wrong and then hope that we can make those numbers back by increased rents for tenants.”BACKGROUNDEvarts is collaborating with the Meridian Development Corporation, the urban renewal agency, to redevelop these two Main Street properties. The corporation agreed to give him the properties in accordance with his development plan.The agency leased the buildings to the children's theater and Meridian Library District for $12 a year each. The theater now operates out of New Ventures Lab down the street while it raises money for a building fund.The library district will continue to operate unBound on Main Street for the time being. “We’re keeping our eyes and our minds open as we work through all of our District’s facility needs,” MLD Director Gretchen Caserotti said in an email.NEW CIGAR SHOPEvarts also owns the Heritage Building and the Vault in downtown Meridian. He opened the Vault last year as an event space, but is repurposing it as the Cigar Lounge, set to open Oct. 1 at 140 E. Idaho Avenue.“Cigar Lounge is basically 1,000 square feet of really great leather chairs and high-end audio visual equipment,” Evarts said. There will be a walk-in humidor and varied selection of cigars for sale. More from this section 3 Meridian companies named to Inc. 5000 list Posted: Aug. 18, 2017 Why the 'incredibly strong' demand in Ada County's housing market? Posted: Aug. 16, 2017 Meridian company Verified First lands at No. 198 on Inc. 5000 list Posted: Aug. 16, 2017 Idaho State University president to retire next year Posted: Aug. 15, 2017 Allstate, Boy Scouts and Boise Bicycle Project team up for Recycle Your Cycle Posted: Aug. 15, 2017 HollyBeechMP Follow HollyBeechMP Close Get email notifications on HollyBeechMP daily! Your notification has been saved. There was a problem saving your notification. Whenever HollyBeechMP posts new content, you'll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link. Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items. Save Manage followed notifications Follow HollyBeechMP Close Followed notifications Please log in to use this feature Log In Don't have an account? Sign Up Today Comments Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK. Don't Threaten. 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