The developer of a proposed 11-acre downtown Boise stadium-office-commercial-residential complex will make the first official submission to the city of Boise for the project by April 24.
That date is the deadline to submit applications for the June 4 and June 11 Boise Planning & Zoning Commission meetings.
Greenstone Properties will ask to rezone the property owned at Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive that the Atlanta-based developer expects to acquire from St. Luke’s Health System in October.
Although this downtown stadium proposal has been publicly discussed by the developer and several government entities for more than a year, this is the first official submission for the project to a government entity to gain government approvals for the project.
Greenstone wants 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.
Geoff Wardle, a Boise attorney representing Greenstone, 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.
Wardle on April 17 conducted a neighborhood meeting in the parking lot at Americana/Shoreline that drew more than 300 people. All of the attendees who asked Wardle questions were opposed to the proposed location of the stadium. Nobody spoke from the baseball or soccer communities, which overwhelming supported the stadium and location last year at open houses about the project.
The neighborhood meeting is a city requirement before a developer can apply to rezone a property.
Stadium opponents challenge the stadium location and cite concerns about noise pollution, light pollution and the intention to use a potential $27 million in Capital City Development Corp. bonds to build the $40 million stadium.
“The No. 1 issue is that the location is not appropriate,” said Bob Mayer, a West Bench resident who carried a placard reading “Bieter Boisexit. No Stadium. I condem (sic) the developer and ‘Bieter-offer’.” “You look at the infrastructure around here. (The roads are) already congested. It’s not a good place to do this. It should go where they are doing it now (Memorial Stadium in Garden City). It should be in Meridian.”
At the suggestion of Boise Mayor David Bieter, triggered by an unnamed individual, Greenstone managing member Chris Schoen did explore a land swap that would have College of Western Idaho 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.
But that plan seems unlikely to move ahead.
“Neither party is in a position to facilitate the exchange,” Wardle said. “The (St. Luke’s) property is under contract. We’re now moving forward with this.”
Wardle said the Greenstone team has discussed the land swap with CWI officials, but CWI President Bert Glandon has said no formal proposal has been brought to the CWI Board of Trustees, and no decision has been considered regarding the land swap.
Glandon characterized any land swap talks as “hallway conversations,” “very casual” “with absolutely no detail.”
Greenstone expects to apply for design review later in summer, with anticipated construction in 2019. The 5,000-fixed-seat stadium would be 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.