Construction start is about a month away for the new seven-level, 546-space parking garage slated for Front Street between Fifth and Sixth streets.
“We have a grading permit to start excavation as soon as the utility work is completed,” said garage developer Clay Carley, who is general manager of Old Boise. “That could be Octoberish.”
Carley said utility relocation started at the start of August on the roughly one-acre property where his garage and a seven-story, 138-room Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel are scheduled to be built. He said hotel construction should start two or three months after garage work starts.
Garage and hotel could be completed in late 2019 or early 2020, Carley said.
Middleton, Wisconsin-based Raymond Group is the hotel developer. Carley and Raymond jointly own the property as Front Street Investors LLC, but Carley independently owns the garage and Raymond the hotel.
A Florida family has bought the 27-room Birch Glen Lodge & Motel in Cascade.
Ryan and Amanda Boley and their teenage daughter and son packed up in mid-February and drove cross-country from 80-degree Port Charlotte, Florida, where Ryan Boley stepped away from selling homes at Hammerhead Realty Group to own and operate the motel in Idaho.
“I’m wearing snow boots right now,” Ryan Boley said. “I’m a hands-on owner. When I found out there would be 12 kids in my daughter’s class, hell yeah.”
The school in Port Charlotte had 1,900 students in contrast with the 250 at the Cascade school, he said.
The Boleys live on the property now and expect to live in Cascade down the road. They didn’t disclose the price they paid for the motel.
Boley believes the Birch Glen was built around 1968. It has some unused and unfinished space that he wants to convert into rooms to bring the room count to about 29. One might be a cowboy suite with bunkbeds, he said.
Boley, originally from West Virginia, has traveled to western Montana and Idaho three or four times a year for hiking and camping. In the past year, he looked at acquiring a few other Idaho businesses before landing on the Birch Glen Lodge & Motel.
“We can accommodate parties, snowmobilers, sportsmen,” Boley said. “This is ground zero for ice fishing at Lake Cascade.”
Crystal Investment Property of Portland represented the buyer and seller. Workers Lodge LLC and Smooth Waters LLC was the prior owner.
“The seller is pleased to have an enthusiastic and hands-on operator bring renewed energy to the property and community,” said Joseph Kennedy, president of Crystal Investment Property.
The Capital City Development Corp. will reimburse up to $452,000 in streetscape costs for the new, 150-room Hyatt Place that PEG Development is building at 10th and Bannock streets in downtown Boise.
The CCDC Board of Commissioners previously approved similar deals for the other two downtown hotel construction projects. CCDC will reimburse up to $876,000 to Pennbridge Lodging for the Marriott Residence Inn, and $467,435 to Obie Development Partners for the Inn at 500 Capitol. Both are under construction at Myrtle Street and Capitol Boulevard.
Construction on the $24 million Hyatt Place started in early January with an expected opening in March 2017.
Salt Lake City-based PEG had initially asked for $640,000 in CCDC subsidies.
The CCDC Commission ultimately awarded PEG $289,000 for streetscapes, trees, and landscaping; $56,000 for lighting; $97,000 for public right-of-way site work and concrete; and $10,000 for contingency and profit.
These costs will be reimbursed over a four-year period once the project is completed. Taxes generated from the property’s increased assessed value with a hotel replacing a surface parking lot are expected to cover the CCDC reimbursement, said Shellan Rodriguez, CCDC property development project manager.
CCDC’s public-private financial participation programs are part of the urban redevelopment agency’s efforts to stimulate downtown development with public infrastructure investments.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Ram Development has withdrawn its proposal to build a 106-room hotel next to Whole Foods on Myrtle Street in downtown Boise.
Ever since five new downtown Boise hotels were announced within a three-month span this spring, there had been conjecture regarding which one would drop out first.
The Ram hotel was the sixth proposed downtown hotel when it applied for a conditional use permit at Boise Planning and Development Services on Aug. 25. Ram subsequently asked to delay an Oct. 12 hearing with the Boise Planning & Zoning Commission.
“They have withdrawn their application,” said Cody Riddle, planning manager at Boise Planning & Development Services. “They would have to start over.”
The conditional use permit is an initial step that precedes design review, the first step in the permitting process.
Of the six downtown proposals, Ram presented the least detailed proposals and Ram officials never spoke with Boise media.
Ram officials did not respond to Idaho Business Review phone calls or e-mails.
“They are looking at alternative sites. That one didn’t fit well for them,” said Tamara Thompson, director of client services at The Land Group, the Eagle-based landscape architecture, civil engineering and planning firm that worked with Ram in the permitting process.
Thompson did not know where else Ram was looking to site a hotel.
Ram Development is an affiliate of Ram Realty Services, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Both focus their attention on the southeastern states. Ram Development builds retail, multifamily and mixed-use projects for investment partnerships, according to the Ram website.
The Ram project is the second hotel proposal to be withdrawn from the 1.7-acre lot next to Whole Foods. The original development plan for Whole Foods in 2007 included a 17-story hotel and condo tower, proposed by Schlosser Development of Austin, Texas, but that was scaled back to seven stories in 2008 and the hotel was eliminated by 2010 during the depth of the recession.
Schlosser Development in 2011 filed a drawing with Boise Planning & Development Services for a 12-story office building with eight floors of office space, three floors of parking, and ground-floor retail for the land between Whole Foods and Myrtle Street. That plan never proceeded. The land is owned by the Metolius Trust of Lake Oswego, Ore.
Nampa intends to swap land with a private company to enable construction of a hotel on the surface parking lot at the Nampa Civic Center.
The 81-room Best Western Plus would be the only hotel within easy walking distance of the city’s convention center.
The City Council on Sept. 21 unanimously declared its intent to enter into a land swap agreement with Peppertree Hospitality of Spokane, pending an Oct. 19 public hearing and determination if the land swap is equal.
Peppertree is purchasing a roughly 4,000-square-foot former Spanish church building at 11 13th Avenue South to exchange for 38,905 square feet of convention center parking lot at the corner of Second Avenue South and Third Street South.
Part of the discussion leading up to the swap concerned the surface parking. Many planners nationwide say that surface parking isn’t the best use for prime real estate.
“It was definitely a heavy discussion,” said Beth Ineck, Nampa’s economic development director. “We asked ‘are we overparked’? We just built a huge parking structure at Nampa Library Square.”
Nampa Mayor Bob Henry said the city has long tried to attract a hotel developer to build near the 25-year-old Civic Center. Eight of the city’s nine hotels and motels are near the freeway. The only downtown property, the Downtown Inn, is seven blocks from the Civic Center and has only 30 rooms.
“It’s great to see new buildings in Downtown Nampa that aren’t city-owned,” Henry said in a release. “This new $5 million hotel will be on the tax rolls, and it will be beneficial for the Civic Center.”
Construction could start in early 2016 with completion of the four-story structure possibly before the end of the year, Ineck said.
Peppertree Hospitality owners John and Rita Santillanes are based in Spokane and own four Peppermill Inn hotels under the Best Western Plus brand in the Washington communities of Spokane, Liberty Lake, Omak and Auburn.
Rita Santillanes lived in southern Idaho 30 years ago.
The Santillanas got hooked up with Nampa via a trip Ineck took to Las Vegas in May 2014 to attend the International Council of Shopping Centers conference.
“I went to pitch a hotel,” said Ineck, who talked with all the major hotel brands. “I was pitching 60 to 80 rooms. We just wanted to find a partner willing to be in the vicinity of the civic center. We didn’t know it would be on the city site.”
Later on, Best Western’s regional director of membership development took interest in Nampa and matched Ineck up with the Santillanas in Spokane. The parking lot was a fit because it didn’t often fill up, and the parties chose a 245-by-145-foot portion farthest away from the building.
The city did a parking swap of its own. It demolished a gym it had used for document storage south of City Hall and converted it into a parking lot, with Peppertree paying the $130,000 cost. The storage will be moved to the Spanish church building that the city will get from Peppertree, Ineck said.
Meridian leaders are regrouping after no developer proposals came in for an ambitious performing arts center- hotel-conference center complex on the blocks adjacent to City Hall.
The Aug. 31 deadline for a request for proposals brought no responses. Meridian had sought ideas for how to incorporate all three elements on mostly city-owned and Meridian Development Corp.-owned property, said Bruce Chatterton, Meridian’s community development director.
“Our next step is we could enter into discussions with any developer at this point,” Chatterton said. “We will regroup with our steering committee.”
Meridian had been seeking proposals for the two blocks bounded by Meridian Road, Broadway Avenue, Main Street and Pine Avenue. Idaho Avenue runs through the middle. But Chatterton is open to ideas about building a theater-hotel-conference center complex elsewhere in the city, too.
Meridian has no downtown hotel nor large-scale conference center or performing arts space.
As the Gardner Co. continues to evaluate downtown Boise’s Parcel B for a 200-room hotel, the developer’s notions are evolving in new directions.
The developer’s original idea was to pair a hotel with an apartment building on the dirt parking lot bounded by Myrtle, Front, 11th and 13th streets. That has given way to the idea of adding a second, smaller hotel.
Gardner Executive Vice President David Wali outlined the proposed changes Monday to Pat Rice, executive director of the Greater Boise Auditorium District, which owns the 5.02-acre Parcel B.
Wali and Gardner Chief Operating Officer Tommy Ahlquist are on vacation and were not available for comment July 27, said Travis Hawkes, managing partner at Riverwood Strategies, Gardner’s public relations representative.
“I can confirm for you that we are exploring the possibility of building two hotels on the site in order to meet the demand of needed hotel rooms,” Hawkes said. “This would push the total rooms on Parcel B to around 300.”
Rice said Wali told him Gardner is negotiating with Embassy Suites for the big hotel. Gardner officials have been publicly silent about a hotel brand.
“We can’t confirm the hotel flag as those agreements haven’t been finalized,” Hawkes said on behalf of Gardner.
Gardner entered into a memorandum of understanding with GBAD on April 9 for an exclusive right for six months to evaluate Parcel B for its development potential. The evaluation period runs into October.
Gardner has worked with the local office of architectural firm Babcock Design to draw up an 11-story hotel plus an 800-car garage with the potential of condominiums on top of the garage.
The Gardner hotels are among four downtown Boise hotel proposals in the pre-development stages. The Myrtle Street/Capitol Boulevard intersection has two active proposals with a Marriott Residence Inn and an Inn at 500 Capitol, and a Hyatt Place is under consideration for Bannock Street between 10th and 11th streets.
A deal is underway for $468,000 in urban renewal subsidies for the 110-room Inn at 500 Capitol boutique hotel proposed for the southeast corner of Myrtle Street and Capitol Boulevard.
The Capital City Development Corp. is expected to approve the subsidy in August to reimburse hotel developer Obie Development Partners for the cost of improvements in or near the public right-of-way.
Obie is requesting $203,000 in streetscape reimbursements for trees, sidewalks and furnishings and Silva Cell underground frameworks for the trees. The Eugene, Ore.,-based developer also seeks $115,000 for public easement improvements, including the sidewalks, trees, benches and art elements. Another $150,000 would go for utility line relocations, said Shellan Rodriguez, CCDC’s project manager for property development.
These grants involve overlapping programs for projects that CCDC conceivably would have done itself and non-CCDC projects.
Obie would not be reimbursed for the streetscape work until Fiscal Year 2017 after the work is completed. CCDC would reimburse Obie for the utility relocation and easement improvements over a four-year period after the work is completed, Rodriguez said.
Obie Development President Brian Obie said groundbreaking for the seven-story, $25-million project may come in December. Obie had initially predicted a late summer groundbreaking.
CCDC’s public-private financial participation programs are part of the urban redevelopment agency’s efforts to stimulate downtown development with public infrastructure investments.
Meridian is shopping the idea of building a hotel, conference center and performing arts complex on the blocks adjacent to City Hall.
The city issued a request for proposals June 30 to gauge the interest of developers in incorporating all three on mostly city-owned and Meridian Development Corp.-owned property in the two blocks bounded by Meridian Road, Broadway Avenue, Main Street and Pine Avenue with Idaho Avenue running through the middle.
The complex could also go somewhere else in Meridian.
“We don’t know what will happen,” said Bruce Chatterton, Meridian’s community development director. “This is a proof of concept.”
Meridian leaders have discussed building a hotel-conference center-performing arts center for about two years to serve as a catalyst to create a downtown worthy of Meridian’s emerging status as Idaho’s second-largest city.
In 1990, Meridian had only 9,500 residents and was only one-third the size of Nampa. The Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho estimated in April that Meridian had 91,000 residents with Nampa at 89,000 residents.
Meridian, however, does not have a Ford Idaho Center or large-scale conference space.
“Many companies in Meridian have to go to Nampa or Boise to have meetings,” Chatterton said. ”We do not have a hotel in downtown Meridian. Our consultant heard repeatedly from performing arts groups (looking for a mid-size performance space).”
The project development plan, prepared by Pegasus Planning and Development in Austin, Texas, recommends a conference space of 18,000 to 36,000 square feet; a performing arts center with 800 to 1,000 seats; and a hotel with 150 rooms.
“We’re looking to really create an activity center for our downtown,” Chatterton said. “You can’t ultimately have a fully healthy community without a healthy downtown. As our mayor said, we need to be more than rooftops and high-quality retail.”
The Harvest Church at Main and Pine may be available for conversion into a performing arts center – or a developer could propose to build a new center from the ground up.
“We left that open-ended in the RFP,” Chatterton said. “The developers we spoke to said the concept plan is good. They said ‘challenge us but don’t restrict us too much.”
Developer proposals must include a hotel, conference center and a performing arts center, and the chosen developer must relocate the New Ventures Lab business incubator that now occupies the old City Hall at Meridian and Idaho Avenue.
A pre-proposal conference was scheduled for July 13 and proposals must be submitted by Aug. 31. Chatterton hopes to award a contract in December, but acknowledges that the operation date of any of these facilities could come in as soon as two years or could take five to 10 years.
The Meridian Arts Foundation in April sent out a letter seeking potential arts center users. Seven letters of intent were submitted, including ones from the Treasure Valley Children’s Theater, Opera Idaho, Meridian Music and Arts, Idaho Regional Ballet and WineGlass Arts Development. Other organizations voiced interest in the project, Chatterton said.
Opera Idaho mostly performs in the Egyptian theater, which has no orchestra pit and a very shallow stage. General Director Mark Junkert has pondered a future for Opera Idaho in a more central location in Treasure Valley.
“It doesn’t take a genius to realize that growth continues in that direction,” Junkert said. “We’re interested in (the Meridian Performing Arts Center). We’re dipping our toe in the process. It’s a good location with the right number of seats for us.”
The Boise Hotel starts its new life July 7 as the Wyndham Garden Boise Airport Hotel.
The white-and-green Wyndham Garden sign went up July 6 and the Wyndham identity became official July 7, said Jonathan Wray, director of sales.
Wyndham is the first of a three-part reinvention of the former three-building, 265-room Holiday Inn property at 3300 S. Vista Ave., just across Interstate 84 from Boise Airport.
As the Holiday Inn until 2011, the property had the second largest hotel room count in the Treasure Valley. But Salt Lake City-based Western Hospitality Group, the owners of Boise Hotel since September 2014, are bringing a one-property-fits-all philosophy with three different hotel brands.
Wyndham Garden, with 116 rooms, fills only the main building that includes the restaurant and 17,000-square-foot conference center.
Western Hospitality in the next few months intends to open a lower-budget Americas Best Value Inn with about 75 rooms in the second building along Sunrise Rim Road. The 70-room third building, which has been shuttered since 2008, will become Idaho’s first, as of now, Studio 6 Extended Stay, likely sometime next year, said Nick Bhati, Western Hospitality general manager in Boise.
Wyndham Garden will have an average daily rate of $105, ranging from $90 to $119. Americas Best Value will have lower rates and Studio 6 still lower rates. The idea was to fit all budget-conscious travelers.
“We decided when somebody drives into the parking lot, we don’t want them to go to any other hotel,” Bhati said.
Bhati plans to heavily market the Wyndham Garden as a conference center for corporate and government clients. He said the prior ownership was passive about marketing the property, but Wyndham staff will be in town soon to knock on corporate doors to introduce the first Wyndham hotel in the Pacific Northwest.
The Idaho Tax Commission needs no introductions. Education Director Jan Barnard has staged winter and summer property tax education courses for county assessors and their staff at the Boise Hotel for years.
“I was watching the upgrades,” Barnard said. “They are making it so much nicer. They are upgrading the rooms and the conference rooms.”
The conference rooms won’t be upgraded until next year, but Barnard’s 300 to 500 summer students will have upgraded rooms to stay in with granite top desks, safe, refrigerator, microwave and flat-screen TV. The hotel had 1990s box televisions until the last few months. Barnard’s students come from upward of 30 of Idaho’s 44 counties and a few other states.
“I think they will be delighted,” Barnard said.
Wray expects business travelers will be especially delighted with the CubieTime alarm clock, which also has two USB ports and two three-prong sockets and measures only 4.5 inches square.
“We believe we have the most friendly business alarm clock out there,” Wray said.
Western Hospitality Group put in a winning $2.95 million bid at a Sept. 2 bank auction, took ownership Oct. 21, landed the Wyndham brand, and started clearing out the first set of 30 rooms for renovation on Nov. 26.
Western Hospitality has four partners who, individually and as a group, own more than 35 hotels, but this Wyndham Garden is the company’s first full-service hotel with restaurant, bar and conference center.
The Boise Hotel intrigued the partners because of its large number of rooms, its conference center, its location near the airport, and Boise’s strength as a corporate and government center. Yet the Boise Hotel barely had 50 percent occupancy.
“Nobody had seen the potential,” Bhati said. “It was kind of rundown. Boise really is a good market and this is right across the freeway from the airport.”
The Western Hospitality owners are Tom Patel and Mike Chaudhari. They later brought Rocky Patel and Dharmesh Ahir into the ownership.
A fourth new hotel project announced since March is in the works for downtown Boise.
PEG Development in Provo, Utah, plans to build a five-story hotel with 150 to 160 rooms on the Boise Plaza parking lot at 10th and Bannock Streets.
PEG filed an application June 8 with Boise Planning & Development Services for a Hyatt Place Hotel with 150 to 152 rooms. The PEG website mentions 160 rooms, but neither hotel brand nor room count is final, said Tanner Weekes, PEG’s industrial relations manager.
“We have not necessarily finalized our franchise yet,” Weekes said.
That said, PEG plans to be on a fast track to get out of the ground with a city Design Review Committee meeting slated for July 8.
“If everything goes according to plan, we’ll be breaking ground by the end of the year,” said Weekes. He is not concerned with the fact that three other hotels are on the verge of construction in downtown Boise. “We think we’ll be the first to do something about it. It’s a chase of who gets going before the market gets saturated.”
The other hotel projects have also indicated construction starts for 2015.
Demolition work starts in August on the Dunkley Music and Winther properties on Capitol Boulevard between Broad and Myrtle streets to make room for a 10-story, 186-room Marriott Residence Inn, according to developer Jared S. Smith of Pennbridge Lodging.
Across Myrtle, next to The Flicks, construction could start at the end of summer on seven-story, 107-room Inn at 500 Capitol boutique hotel. Developer Brian Obie of Obie Development Partners announced the project in March.
And Gardner Co. Chief Operating Officer Tommy Ahlquist anticipates starting construction this fall on a 200-plus-room hotel and apartments on Parcel B, the dirt parking lot bounded by Myrtle, Front, 11th and 13th streets.
PEG Development is working with Rafanelli & Nahas, which owns Boise Plaza and the parking lot destined for the hotel. Scott Schoenherr, at Rafanelli & Nahas, said not many Boise Plaza employees park on the lot and that most park in a nearby garage.
“We will be a major partner in the hotel, probably a majority partner,” Schoenherr said.
Rafanelli & Nahas also owns the Key Financial Center, Riverwalk Center II, Stratford Business Center and other business centers along Parkcenter Boulevard.
PEG Development was founded in 2003 and since then has built eight hotels mostly in Utah but also in Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona. It has another four hotels expected to open in 2015 and 2016 in Park City, St. George and Star Valley, Utah, and Afton, Wyo.
PEG built the Frenchman’s Place vacation rentals in Ketchum in 2005, but the Boise hotel will be the company’s first Idaho hotel project and among their top third largest hotels. Weekes said several PEG employees come from Idaho and were interested in expanding into the Gem State.
The Boise Plaza parking lot hotel will not fill the entire city block, but PEG Development is exploring other options to complete the block, Weekes said.
Gardner Co. intends to start construction on a 200-room hotel this fall on the so-called Parcel B – the dirt parking lot bounded by Myrtle, Front, 11th and 13th streets.
Gardner Chief Operating Officer Tommy Ahlquist said he expects to be in design review later in summer with the city’s Planning & Development Services Department and have a property exchange agreement in place with the Greater Boise Auditorium District, which owns the 5.02-acre Parcel B.
Ahlquist did not announce the name of a hotel operator at a June 25 GBAD board meeting.
“We’re so darn close,” Ahlquist told the board.
The hotel could be open 18 months to two years after construction starts, he said.
In trademark Gardner fashion, the Parcel B project is moving at lightning speed, as did Gardner’s proposal and construction of the Eighth and Main office and retail building downtown and the City Center Plaza construction now underway.
Gardner entered into a memorandum of understanding with GBAD on April 9 for an exclusive right for six months to evaluate Parcel B for its development potential. Instead, in just over two months the local architectural firm Babcock Design has drawn up an 11-story hotel plus an 800-car garage and an apartment complex with an undetermined number of units.
The estimated cost for the hotel, apartments and garage is $60 million, Ahlquist said.
Gardner will propose a property exchange to acquire Parcel B, which was appraised for $8 million in 2014.
Boise Centre Executive Director Pat Rice plans to propose the $8 million value of Parcel B to the $19 million cost of Phase 1A expansion of the Boise Centre.
“Hopefully at the end of the day, I will write a check for $11 million for Phase 1A,” Rice said. “This transaction with Gardner will allow me to move forward immediately with the concourse.”
Until now, Rice was uncertain when he would have been able to build the elevated, enclosed concourse that wraps around the CenturyLink Arena entrance to link the Boise Centre expansion with the 25-year-old Boise Centre, which GBAD owns.
The Gardner Hotel project would put a punctuation point right at the Connector ramps – the first downtown venue drivers into downtown Boise will see.
“We love the location,” Ahlquist said. “It’s great for the hotel. There’s not a better place to be.”
Ahlquist did acknowledge that Myrtle and Front streets present barriers to pedestrians, and he referred to Parcel B as an island.
But “once you get on the island, it’s a good island to be on,” Ahlquist said.
Ahlquist talked about walkability within the project, with east-west and north-south walkways.
“We went to some of our neighbors and asked them what was important,” he said. “It was important that it did not become a superblock and that it remain walkable.”
Ahlquist proposed placing the hotel in the Front/11th quadrant, the garage in the Front/13th quadrant and the apartments in the Myrtle/11th quadrant. The fourth quadrant for now would remain surface parking but might hold a hotel or office building later.
“Our goal is to do the hotel and apartments at the same time,” Ahlquist said. “We have explored retail with several sources. It becomes a little difficult because of the island. We’d love to have some retail.”
In April, there was talk of a soccer stadium alongside the hotel. Ahlquist and David Wali, Gardner’s executive vice present, met several times with local soccer entities.
“Unfortunately, as we began designing the hotel, it became very apparent this site would not work for both,” Ahlquist said.
Gardner Co., however, remains intrigued by the prospect of a soccer stadium elsewhere to host a minor-league soccer team, he said.
Editor’s note: This article was updated at 2:55 p.m. June 26 with comments from Pat Rice at the Boise Centre.
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