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Boise bomb shelter finds new purpose as hub for bands, musicians to practice


Farren says the bomb shelter now serves as an unlikely oasis for musicians. (Axel Quarterone)
Farren says the bomb shelter now serves as an unlikely oasis for musicians. (Axel Quarterone)
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Bomb shelters like the one here in Boise were originally used as a last resort in protecting communities from nuclear fallout.

But, the shelter's current owner tells CBS2 News it now serves as one of the centers of Boise's growing music scene.

"It started out as a place based on nuclear war and fear and now it's a place to make music,” said current owner, Jon Farren.

Boise's 1960s-era bomb shelter has been many things over the years: recreation center, Boise School District Admin Building, engineer's office, and storage space.

Now, that it's back on the market for $2.1 million, the shelter's owner, Jon Farren, is hopeful the next owner doesn't change much.

"I don't know why you would try change it,” Farren said. “This works out great. It's fully occupied."

Farren says the bomb shelter now serves as an unlikely oasis for musicians.

"It's really hard for these guys to find a place where they can make a lot of noise and so the bomb shelter is perfect,” Farren said.

Farren bought the building in 2003 as office space for his engineering company.

"It's a great place if you're busy to get work done,” Farren said.

He quickly realized there was too much space, so he opened it up for others.

"Some of the calls I got were for musicians, looking for a place to practice, so I let them come up for practice and it just spread from there by word of mouth,” Farren said.

At night, the rooms are all occupied, with bands and musicians on a waiting list to get in. And, they always make sure to leave their mark.

"Their artistic outlet is irresistible, so I let them draw on the walls,” Farren said. “And, they write their lyrics on the walls and that's all fine, they decorate the room however they like."

Farren says bands visiting Boise often practice in one of the many rooms.

He also allows bands to promote their events by leaving posters.

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"Boise has a growing music scene,” Farren said. “It's growing right along with everything else in the city. And, so having a place for these guys to rehearse and work on their music, write songs, it's priceless."

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