BOISE — Idaho tech firm founder Shawn Swanby has purchased the historic Carnegie Library Building in downtown Boise.
Swanby, founder and CEO of Ednetics, announced Friday he purchased the former library, at 815 W. Washington St., from St. Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral. Ednectis will be the main tenant, while Swanby and his wife, Sarah Swanby, will explore ways to use the property to support arts and education, according to a press release.
“There is an obvious synergy between the original plan for this building — for it to be a place for learning, connection and community — and the purpose of Ednetics,” Shawn Swanby said in the release.
Ednetics, based in Post Falls, provides technology solutions for schools, libraries and government agencies. The company will use a portion of the space to anchor its operations for the western United States.
“Boise is a key market for us and is central to our expansion through the western states,” Shawn Swanby said. “We are excited to be investing in this vibrant community. It feels like coming home.”
The Carnegie Library Building was built in 1905 and has 13,780 square feet of space on 0.84 acres, according to the Ada County Assessor’s Office, which lists the property’s assessment at $1.17 million. Collier’s International had the property listed for $3.1 million. A sales price was not disclosed.
Last year, developer Ken Howell had hoped to turn the building into artist studios, but he ran into technical snags, BoiseDev.com reported.
Now, there’s “an opportunity to reinterpret the purpose of this building,” Sarah Swanby said in the release.
The Swanbys have retained the building’s original architecture firm, Hummel Architects, to lead renovations, and has selected HC Company of Boise as the general contractor. The project team will spend the rest of this year in architectural and engineering planning with local agencies.
The main architects of the building were John Tourtellotte and partner, Charles Hummel, according to the Idaho Architecture Project. The library was mainly founded by a group of women in Boise called the Women’s Columbian Club, who wrote a letter to Andrew Carnegie and received a grant from him to build the library, according to the Idaho Architecture Project.
When the building was completed, it became Boise’s first public library. In 1974, the building was put on the National Registry, making it a historical marker in Boise. The building’s sandstone foundation was quarried from Table Rock, according to the Idaho Architecture Project.
“The Columbian Club of Boise knew what the Library would mean for the community when they secured the Library grant from Andrew Carnegie,” Sarah Swanby stated. “We want to honor that contribution by reestablishing a community aspect to the property.”
Ednetics, founded in 1997, is headquartered in Post Falls and has expanded to include regional offices in Boise, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix and Los Angeles.