Morrison Knudsen Corp. is considering its next move after the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission rejected the company's plan to build a new Amtrak station next to Boise's historic Union Pacific depot.
"We are disappointed with the commissioner's decision and are studying the situation," MK spokesman Jess Hawley said Thursday.All but one of the people who testified before the planning and zoning commission opposed Morrison Knudsen' plan.
The company has 10 days to appeal to the City Council the unanimous denial of a conditional-use permit for the 2,000-square-foot depot.
MK bought the 1925 Spanish mission-style structure last year and is using the east wing for offices. It plans to restore and renovate the lobby as a railroad museum or for some other use after the depot operations are moved.
MK is soliciting suggestions from architects on the public and private uses of the station, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
But Steve Loop, vice chairman of the planning and zoning commission, said, "We weren't convinced it absolutely had to be moved out to do the work."
He acknowledged it would be easier to refurbish the building with the Amtrak station relocated. But he said airports, for example, do not shut down during renovation.
Loop said the commission rejected the new depot primarily because MK "put the cart before the horse."
He said the company's architectural study "might result in the recommendation that the future use of the station might include the depot, and they shouldn't make a decision until after the study is done."
Boise City Councilman Don Brennan, an advocate of keeping the depot in the station, said he had been contacted by 30 people with the same view.