The Fidelity Building, formerly called the Montandon Building, is a historic building located at Eighth and Idaho Streets. Current tenants include Pollo Rey.
In April 1908, rumors swirled that the Anderson-Blomquist department store would move to the east corner of 8th and Idaho, in a new building to be constructed by August F. Montandon especially for the retailers. According to Sanborn maps between 1893 and 1903, the corner was home to several small businesses including a barber, a fish market and a hardware store turned candy store. Confirmation of the development came soon, and workers spent Christmas Day in 1908 moving goods from the department store’s previous location at Tenth and Main to the brand new Montandon Building.
The Anderson-Blomquist store held its grand opening celebration in the new building on January 15, 1909. Architect J.W. Smith designed the building in the Romanesque architectural style. The building, which cost Montandon and contractors Murphy & Story $30,000 to build, did not house the department store for long. By 1927 the store closed and in 1928, it became home to the Fidelity Loan and Investment Company. Although the company only stayed in business until 1932, in that period of time they put a sign on the building’s second floor that read “Fidelity.” In 1928, people on the streets began calling the building the Fidelity Building. Between 1927 and 1989, both floors of the Fidelity Building saw many tenants come and go, including drug stores (Andersen, Schramm-Johnson and Walgreen), Childs Bond and Mortgage Co., Cinderella Frock Shop, Northwest Casualty, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the Forest Service), Business and Professional Women’s Club, Truth Center, offices for the YWCA, furrier Arthur Pease, Wonderbar Beer, Embassy Club, King’s Shoes, Metaphysical library, the U.S. Geological Survey, Nell’s Beauty Salon, Northwestern Mutual Fire Association, the National Institute of Music and Arts, and Winther’s Music. In 1972, the National Park Service accepted a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for the Union Block and the Fidelity Building as one building.
In 1986, consultants with CH2M Hill engineering told the Boise Redevelopment Agency that a restoration of the Fidelity-Union Block would be economically practical if done correctly. Reports showed the building to be in good enough shape that restoration would not be difficult. Board member and historian Arthur Hart stated that the landmark building needed a developer who would protect and preserve the building, not just the location. Planners expressed immediate interest in the project, even though the reports stated that the restoration would cost around 3.6 million dollars and it would take an estimated four years to fill all vacancies with tenants. At the time, the building remained empty for the most part, except for a few businesses such as Gem State Optical, Off the Rack, Paper Tree and a dance studio. Investors Gary Christensen and James Tomlinson ended up purchasing the Fidelity Building and taking on renovation to its original state, including removal of glass mosaic pieces placed on the sandstone exterior and wood panels on the frontal picture windows. In 1993, owners Gary Christensen and Jim Tomlinson decided to sell the Fidelity Building to David Almquist, president and CEO of California-based marketing firm The Designory, Inc. Tomlinson and Christensen refurbished the building during their first year and operated it for only five years. Tenants at the time of the sale included interior design company and furniture store Anton & Co., as well as women’s clothing store K. Pearson’s. K. Pearson’s remained in business in the Fidelity Building until 2000.
The Fidelity Building Today
Pollo Rey, a Mexican counter-service restaurant currently occupies the Fidelity Building’s first-floor corner space at 8th and Idaho.
Official site for Pollo Rey: http://polloreyboise.com/