Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU), which caused a stir earlier this year by acquiring a 52-acre parcel in Meridian, is partnering with Ball Ventures Ahlquist (BVA) to develop the property, starting with a five-story office building for the financial institution.
“I’ve been working on this site for a long time, trying to pull it together,” said Tommy Ahlquist, BVA CEO. “It’s a great piece for so many reasons,” such as access to downtown Boise and the airport, its central Treasure Valley location, and its visibility just off Interstate 84, he said.
Formally known as Eagle View Plaza, located at the southeast corner of Interstate 84 and Eagle Road, the development’s first building will be a five-story, 125,000-square-foot Class A office building to serve as office space for ICCU and other companies, BVA said. Groundbreaking is expected in the spring. Like most of ICCU’s other construction projects, it will be designed by Lombard Conrad Architects (LCA). ICCU had said when it purchased the property that it intended it for a regional mortgage and call center. The company did not return calls by press time.
ICCU purchased the site in July from Idaho Elks Rehab Hospital for an undisclosed price. BVA is buying 40 acres of the site to develop.
Ahlquist said he had actually been trying to develop the property for a decade, long before ICCU’s involvement. “I made a couple of runs, but never got it quite figured out,” he said.
ICCU approached him after it bought the property, knowing of his interest through his relationship with the financial institution and its CEO, Kent Oram, he said. “I’m very honored he chose us to help with the building.”
Later developments will include a hotel, office buildings, medical offices, retail, and market-rate apartments for families, Ahlquist said. “The 52 acres will fill up very quickly.”
Ahlquist wouldn’t say what the retail would be, other than that some would be restaurants and some would be merchants new to Idaho, because Boise and the Treasure Valley now have the attention of regional merchants. He did say, however, that it was unlikely to be the big three retailers he always hears about Idaho needing: IKEA, Nordstrom and In-N-Out Burger.
“I don’t think in my lifetime we’ll get them,” he said with a laugh.
As for the apartments, the site is a desirable location, Ahlquist said.
“That area, so many people work there,” he said. “It’s an A+ site for living as well, because of commute times. With the daytime population of the business parks, it’s right where people work,” he said.
The Farmstead Corn Maze & Pumpkin Festival, which has been hosted at the site since 1997, will be moving to another site, Ahlquist said.
“Thank heavens they had a good place to go,” he said. “I didn’t want my own children mad at me. ‘Daddy, you moved the corn maze.’” ICCU is a sponsor of the Farmstead event.
It’s been a busy year for ICCU. The credit union, Idaho’s largest with assets of $3.9 billion, announced in October that it would be building a branch in Moscow, after donating $10 million to the University of Idaho in January for naming rights to its basketball arena. It has also opened a new branch in Boise on Vista, and is working on a data center that will hold more than 380 desks at its headquarters in Chubbuck, and a three-story office building in Coeur d’Alene. The company also recently remodeled its downtown Nampa branch.
It’s been a busy year for BVA as well. Ahlquist left his position as chief operating officer at the Gardner Company to create a new company with four other people, led by CEO Cortney Liddiard of Ball Ventures in Idaho Falls, in June, after losing the gubernatorial primary. Since then, it has announced office buildings and a fitness center in two Meridian locations, as well as completing its Pioneer Crossing development in downtown Boise.