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Walgreens, Les Schwab to go up in Kuna

Kuna is an anomaly in the Treasure Valley.
Last year, while homebuilding ground to a halt just about everywhere else, the number of homes built in Kuna rose 20 percent over 2008 to 240 homes.
And commercial developers have taken note of the population growth.
Plans for a Walgreens that had at one point been delayed until 2011 were dusted off recently, and Boise developer Hawkins Cos. plans to pick up the building permit by the end of February and start building in mid-March.
“When they saw the development applications that were coming in for housing, they decided they’d better get in while the getting is good and moved their time frame up a year,” said Kuna Planning Director Steve Hasson. “There’s growth in Kuna that they could not have predicted.”
Walgreens, to be built on the main drag of Kuna Road as you enter town, is just one of five new commercial projects under way in the growing town of 16,000 people. The design for an 11,400-square-foot Les Schwab Tire Center was approved at the beginning of February, and it will be built just next door to Walgreens.
Since the two facilities will be built at the same time and on adjacent lots, the developers are reducing costs by using the same engineer, KM Engineering of Eagle, for site design.
Each project has its own architect – Boise-based BRS Architects for Walgreens and Bend, Ore.-based LB Engineering for Les Schwab – and will bring its own builder. Neither company has selected a general contractor.
Another area that’s prime for development is on 10 Mile near I-84. With a new interchange going in, that area will be getting significant traffic in the coming years.
Large construction projects going on in that area include a regional park at 10 Mile and Lake Hazel, and at Columbia and 10 Mile, an LDS Church. Additionally, a new elementary school is planned for the area this year.
Hasson said developers have been “knocking on our door” about doing commercial development along Deer Flat Road, which Ada County Highway District will widen starting in March.
He attributes Kuna’s growth to a long list of attractions.
First of all, land costs are attractive: land close to downtown is going for about $15,000 an acre, a price he called “very reasonable.”
Secondly, a $15 million regional wastewater treatment plant opened last fall. Right now it can accommodate about 40,000 people, but it can be expanded over the years to cover up to about 180,000 people. And he said the city has been purchasing wells, so there is plenty of water available.
And ACHD is contributing to Kuna’s popularity: It is widening and improving streets, making increased traffic viable.
The final attraction he cited is the growing perception that Kuna is not as far from Boise as previously thought. As people move out there for the more rural lifestyle and commute to Boise for work, they spread the word about its commutability. Hasson said it takes about eight or nine minutes to get to I-84 from Kuna, and then just five or 10 more to get anywhere else.
“We’re excited for Kuna this year,” he said. “We thought last year was a fun year, but this year is off to a stampede. Last year we had several commercial reconstructions and redevelopments, but we didn’t have any new commercial whatsoever, and all of a sudden we have five large commercial projects staring us right in the face.”
The entrance of Walgreens and Les Schwab, one a national and the other a regional chain, is especially promising. He said their vote of confidence in Kuna could make other developers take notice of the town, which is projected to grow to 50,000 people by 2025.
“Having a growth spurt while the rest of the valley remains flat or is even in the toilet has been helpful for Kuna, and I’m of the belief that what’s good for Kuna is good for the valley,” he said. “The bottom line is that the whole Treasure Valley – its width and breadth and depth – is going to be full of houses, full of industry, full of commerce and jobs and every other doggone thing. We’re going to have our fair share here, and we’re trying to get ready for that day.”

About Dani Grigg


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