The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes purchased 157 acres of land just off of the Exit 95 – Mountain Home interchange of I-84. The transaction was finalized at the end of January after the Tribes spent two years looking for a suitable property.
“We spent a lot of time looking at potential sites until the Tribes narrowed their choices down to Elmore County, and then they focused on land close to freeway exits in Mountain Home,” John Starr of Colliers International in Boise told the Idaho Business Review. “While there are not the 2 million motorists which travel on I-15 to Yellowstone every year, the traffic on that particular stretch of I-84 is still very high – so this property has excellent exposure to traffic on the Interstate.”
Starr facilitated the property transaction on American Legion Boulevard along with colleagues Jimmy Roumanis and Devin Ogden.
Mountain Home has a designated Idaho Opportunity Zone, where businesses moving into the area are eligible to receive tax breaks. In addition, any future businesses in Mountain Home owned by the Tribes will also be eligible to participate in the U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) program for bidding on contracts at Mountain Home Air Force Base.
“The acreage is behind the Mountain Home Auto Ranch,” Starr explained. “It’s a rising piece of ground with great freeway visibility. It does have some lava rock on it, but there are utilities nearby. It has the Mountain Home RV Park as a neighbor, and Walmart is across the road. It’s an excellent location, and the sellers were excited to see the property go to an active use.”
According to Colliers, the Tribes selected the property in late 2018.
“There was a lengthy due-diligence process before closing,” Starr said. “The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes were great people to work with. This is also a great opportunity for Elmore County and Mountain Home to expand their services and business development.”
When the Tribes were evaluating the property, Mountain Home assured them that city had adequate utilities and resources to meet potential future business use of the property, according to Starr. He was not at liberty to disclose what the Tribes plan to do with their purchase but was optimistic over its prospects.
“The Tribes have a great deal of diversity in their business ventures,” Starr explained. “They both lease and operate farms on their reservation lands. They also manage water resources and natural resources.”
The Tribes also have retail and hospitality businesses, including gas stations and truck stops, an RV park, three casinos, a hotel and convention center, a grocery store, plus annual major rodeo and pow wow events. According to a 2015 University of Idaho study, the Tribes contribute over $400 million annually to the state’s economy.
“The way they manage their assets is a great example of how to run multiple businesses for any major landowner,” Starr remarked.
“We are pleased with the land purchase,” Tribal Business Council Chairman Elmo Ladd was quoted by the Mountain Home News. The Council is the governing body for the Shoshone-Bannocks Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation.
Ladd added: “We believe it is a wise economic investment. … We pursued this investment like any other investment we make as a Tribe, including bonds or stocks. Any economic gain from this long-term investment will be funneled into the operations of the Tribes, which benefits all Tribal members. This investment is a low-risk investment with potential high returns.”
The proposed use for the Mountain Home property has not been disclosed yet.
“The tribal business council will make an announcement sometime in the future, but they still have matters they need to take care of internally first and aren’t ready for a public release yet,” tribal spokesman Randy’L Teton told the Idaho Business Review.