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Friday, April 3, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Boise gay bar set to become police station, will reopen in new location

The city of Boise is considering buying property at 2223 W. Fairview Ave., home to Lucky Dog Tavern, for a police substation. (Tommy Simmons / Idaho Press)
The city of Boise is considering buying property at 2223 W. Fairview Ave., home to Lucky Dog Tavern, for a police substation. (Tommy Simmons / Idaho Press)
By Margaret Carmel Idaho Press

BOISE – Even though the building that currently houses one of Boise’s two gay bars has been sold, the business will continue to operate.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, Boise City Council approved its purchase of the Lucky Dog Tavern at 2223 W. Fairview Ave. in the West End for a new police substation set to open in the next 12 to 18 months. Although this means the long-time gay bar will have to relocate, co-owner Keith Phillips said the business wants to use the move as an opportunity to reinvent in a spot close to downtown.

“We’ve been in that location 11 years and after 11 years you know what worked and didn’t work so we’re hoping to get a space more suited to what works for us,” Phillips said. “…The city has been really supportive and they understand that we serve a very specific community and they understand that the diversity is important.”

The city acquired the property for $1.15 million and will operate with a month-to-month lease, but Phillips said the city has put in an agreement that will allow the Lucky Dog to have enough time to find a new home. The building is currently owned by Sticknoth 160 LLC and is valued at $698,100.

The West End’s close proximity to downtown has made the area a target for development as Boise’s economy has boomed in recent years. Because of expanding economy, Phillips said the bar expected the property owners to sell eventually but it came quicker than expected. However, Phillips said once he found out the city was the purchaser he was not worried.

“That is the perfect use for this spot,” Phillips said. “There are a lot of transients and homeless. The street behind our building is lined with people living out of their RVs and cars and its become an issue in the past few years so we think it’s an excellent opportunity for the police to have a presence where it’s needed.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, City Council President Lauren McLean said she and other members of council have met with the owners of the Lucky Dog and they want to support places for the LGBTQ community to gather. Originally the item was on council’s consent agenda, but she made a motion to pull it off the list of routine items so it could be discussed.

“We don’t take this purchase and the long term change lightly because gathering places for those who feel marginalized are so incredibly important,” she said.

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