First official step taken for downtown Boise stadium

Teya Vitu//April 13, 2018

First official step taken for downtown Boise stadium

Teya Vitu//April 13, 2018

Boise State baseball decided not to play in the proposed downtown stadium. Image from Boise Planning and Development Services.
Developers take first official step to build downtown Boise stadium. Image from Boise Planning and Development Services.

Developer Chris Schoen considered moving his proposed downtown stadium to the College of Western Idaho site near the river, but he has now shifted back to his original Americana Boulevard/Shoreline Drive site.

Atlanta-based Greenstone Properties, where Schoen is managing partner, will have a neighborhood meeting on the proposal April 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the St. Luke’s Business Center, 688 S. Americana Blvd.

The neighborhood meeting is a city requirement before a developer can apply to rezone a property. The move is Greenstone’s first official step to gain government approvals for the project.

At the suggestion of Boise Mayor David Bieter, triggered by an unnamed individual, Schoen explored a land swap that would have CWI open a Boise campus at Americana/Shoreline, and would have Schoen build his stadium-commercial-retail-residential complex at CWI’s Main Street and Whitewater Park Boulevard property.

Schoen did not immediately respond to request for comment from the Idaho Business Review.

“The property is under contract,” Boise attorney Geoff Wardle, who is representing Greenstone, said of the Americana/Shoreline property, which is owned by St. Luke’s Health System. “We’re now moving forward with this.”

The neighborhood meeting comes more than a year after Greenstone committed to the Americana/Shoreline site.

Wardle said Greenstone expects to apply “soon” for a Boise Planning & Zoning Commission hearing to rezone five lots at Americana and Shoreline to C-5 Central Business District “for activities conducive to a compact and concentrated urban downtown commercial center,” according to the city’s zoning districts document.

Wardle said the properties are now zoned C-2 General Commercial and R-O Residential Office. He noted the nearby Fairview and Main corridor that the city calls the West End has been rezoned C-5.

C-5 zoning allows for a wide range of development including the elements specific to Greenstone’s proposal:  office, parking structure, multiple-family dwellings (apartments), outdoor recreation facilities and planned development.

If the city approves rezoning the property, Greenstone can proceed to design review, the next step on the way to a building permit. Each step involves public hearings.

“This is the first of several applications,” Wardle said.

Greenstone expects to apply for design review later in summer with anticipated construction in 2019 to have a 5,000-fixed-seat stadium ready for the 2020 soccer and minor league baseball seasons, Wardle said.

Boise is on the short list to land a United Soccer League minor league soccer team if a stadium is ready, league officials have said for the past two years.

The properties include the St. Luke’s Business Center, formerly a Kmart, the Shoreline Center and all the land bounded by Americana, Shoreline, Spa Street and 14th Street.

Greenstone proposed to build the 5,000-plus-seat stadium overlooked by a four-story, 60-unit apartment-and-retail structure and a 150,000-square-foot office building. Between Americana and the Boise River, Greenstone managing partner Chris Schoen wants to build 40,000 square feet of retail and 240 apartments.

Greenstone, Agon Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Boise Hawks baseball team, and St. Luke’s Health System  since March 2017 have had an agreement for St. Luke’s to sell five lots adding up to 11. The sale is expected to close in October.