Northwest Neurobehavioral Health is building a new Meridian office

Northwest Neurobehavioral Health's new office will be custom designed for its needs. Image courtesy of C|T|Y Studio.
Northwest Neurobehavioral Health’s new independent mental health clinic is being built in the Gramercy District of Meridian. Image courtesy of C|T|Y Studio.

Construction started at the end of February at the Gramercy District in Meridian on a new office for Northwest Neurobehavioral Health.

The Meridian multi-disciplinary diagnostic and treatment center has expanded several times in existing space at the nearby Goldstone Center since 11 clinicians founded the clinic in 2010. This has resulted in Northwest Neurobehavioral splitting into two sections of the same building, separated by a corridor, with two lobbies, and no windows in many offices.

“We’ll have one lobby instead of two (in the new building),” said Laura Curtis, a managing partner and  clinical social worker at Northwest Neurobehavioral.

NNH collaborated with commercial real estate entities Tenant Realty Advisors and Thornton Oliver Keller. Architect Rob Thornton, a principal at C|T|Y Studio, designed the building to NNH clinician specifications.

Curtis said the clinicians asked for a building where all the clinicians could be in the same structure, with sunlight in the rooms and in Meridian.

“We have always wanted to build. Always,” Curtis said. “We’re amazed with what they have been able to put together.”

Gramercy District project manager Taylor Merrill welcomed the idea of an independent mental health clinic for the 80-acre mixed-use development with commercial, office and housing on Overland Road between Eagle and Locust Grove roads.

“These guys are preferred providers of adolescent behavioral counseling,” Merrill said. “There is a demand for that service in this valley. We like the fact we have the health industry here.”

Gramercy is the general contractor on the project.

“What I liked was the time they spent getting to know us,” Curtis said about Gramercy.

Northwest Neurobehavioral will be an early development in the district’s Gramercy Plaza commercial area. It will go in the middle third of the property, which is only about 15 percent developed. The Gramercy Village retail section along Overland is about 90 percent complete and the residential Gramercy Park area at the rear is about 80 percent developed with apartments by Gramercy Villas and The Fields at Gramercy, Merrill said.

NNH did not know what sort of new home they could expect when they reached out to Greg Gaddis at Tenant Realty Advisors. Gaddis said his company helped them find a developer with a suitable location.

“We engaged a developer to build a build-to-suit,” he said. “You don’t see many of those around here.”

Northwest Neurobehavioral Health will be built at Gramercy District within sight of Mountain View High School (rear). Photo courtesy of Laura Curtis.
Northwest Neurobehavioral Health will be built at Gramercy District within sight of Mountain View High School (rear). Photo courtesy of Laura Curtis.

NNH entered into a lease-to-own agreement with Gramercy, Curtis said.

NNH has a multidisciplinary approach to exploring mental health, behavior, development, and emotional needs of children and adults. The center performs 16 psychological evaluations per week and sees 85 to 100 people a day. More than 2,400 clients made 23,925 visits in 2016, Curtis said.

“Some families come to NNH once. Other families want their own parking spot,” she said.“Rural Idaho is coming to us.”

NNH clients come from as far as Grangeville, eastern Oregon and Mountain Home, Curtis said.

NNH now has 32 clinicians who provide neuropsychology, psychology, counseling, autism diagnostic clinic services, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and medication management.

“We are able to expand services at Gramercy,” Curtis said. “We will be able to provide more counseling. We tend to attract families with more complex medical needs. We need to expand psychological assessment.”

The building that Thornton designed has windows and skylights to allow daylight into interior sections of the 18,500-square-foot structure. It will have a large, open reception area and fewer offices in favor of “nicer, bigger, taller” cubicles in an open area. Hallways will be wider with a lower ceiling, Thornton said.

“We’re bringing light further into the place as best as we can,” Thornton said.

NNH expects to move into the new space in September or October.

Boise’s playing catch-up on bike and pedestrian paths

Transportation options in Harris Ranch, February 2017, photo Patrick Sweeney
Harris Ranch is following the lead of cities across the country with appealing multi-use paths separate from streets. Photo by Patrick Sweeney.

In just a few years, the American bike lane concept has matured beyond a hastily painted add-on at the edge of a road.

Now descriptions include protected, buffered, contraflow, shared-use, cycle tracks, separate bike paths and greenways. Minneapolis even calls its 4.3-mile Cedar Lake Trail and 5.5-mile Midtown Greenway bike freeways.

Biking and walking are what Ed McMahon at the Urban Land Institute regards as active transportation.  McMahon spoke in Boise Feb. 8 at a ULI Idaho session about Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Value of Walking and Bicycling Amenities in Real Estate.

“What is the fastest growing mode of transportation in the U.S.? Bicycling. Nothing is even close,” said McMahon, a ULI senior fellow since 2004 in sustainable development.

Derick O'Neill
Derick O’Neill

Derick O’Neill at the city of Boise’s Planning & Development Services, Scott Schoenherr at Rafanelli & Nahas and Scot Oliver at Idaho Smart Growth are Boise executives who bicycle to work, along with many others up and down the corporate and small business ladder.

Bicycling in the Treasure Valley still accounts for just 1 percent of commuter traffic, though Boise does have 2.3 percent of its populace pedaling to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Commuter Survey. Even the nation’s top bicycling big cities, Portland and Minneapolis, have only 7 and 5 percent bicycle commuters, contrasting with a national average of .6 percent.

“Why don’t more people ride a bike?” McMahon asked. “It’s not the topography, it’s not the weather, it’s not the culture. It is the fear of getting hit by a car.”

Tyler Gilman, a Group One Sotheby’s International Realty Realtor, who was a ULI active transportation panelist, knows a doctor who used to commute to downtown on his bike every day from the Hidden Springs development a few miles north of Boise.

“He described getting to the (Boise River) Greenbelt as mortal combat,” said Gilman, who lives at and markets the 849-home Hidden Springs development. “He no longer commutes on a bike.”

The Walk Score

Urban Land Institute's Ed McMahon told a group of 60 in Boise that bike paths lead to higher property values. Photo by Teya Vitu.
Urban Land Institute’s Ed McMahon told a group of 60 in Boise that bike paths lead to higher property values. Photo by Teya Vitu.

Many of the bicycling improvements of recent years also apply to pedestrians, as walkers and bikers often share the same space. But in the big picture, American rights-of-way largely still do not favor walkers, McMahon said.

“Hundreds of studies show that walkability increases home values. Every one-point increase in the Walk Score is a $700 to $3,000 increase in home value.”

Yet “walking is difficult, dangerous and, in some cases, impossible,” he said.

Walk Score, a private company founded in 2007, assigns a number from 1 to 100 to cities, neighborhoods, even individual addresses, to define a place’s walkability to public amenities based on an algorithm that incorporates walking routes, depth of choice, pedestrian friendliness, population and neighborhood data.

Boise has a Walk Score of 39, which is described as “a car-dependent city” and a Bike Score of 63, described as “somewhat bikeable.”  The North End has a Walk Score of 61 and Bike Score of 54. The Intermountain Multiple Listing Service, which is owned by the Boise Regional Realtors, has listed the Walk Score of each home listing since 2011.

Boise could be doing more

Boise could be doing much better at enabling bicycling, McMahon told the 60 people at the ULI event at the Eighth and Main tower in downtown Boise. Treasure Valley officials have taken steps to improve pedestrian and bicycling facilities, though many cities across America have created much more extensive systems of dedicated, motorized vehicle-free pathways for bikers and walkers.

Locally, governments and developers have responded. Ada County Highway District has installed 311 miles of bike lanes since the early 1990s, currently spending up to $2 million a year on cycling facilities; Meridian has 33 miles of off-road, shared bike/pedestrian paths in place out of 130 planned miles; Nampa offers 12.5 miles of pathways and 4.7 miles of bike lanes. Caldwell has its 2.75-mile Centennial Greenbelt on the Boise River among its 7 miles of pathways in addition to 12.5 miles of bike lanes, and the Hidden Springs and Harris Ranch developments consciously incorporate active transportation elements into their housing projects as they are built.

You can bicycle from Sun Valley to Bellevue on the Wood River Trail. Photo by Teya Vitu.
You can bicycle from Sun Valley to Bellevue on the Wood River Trail. Photo by Teya Vitu.

Elsewhere in Idaho, Twin Falls built a 9.6-mile Canyon Rim Trail, 4 miles of dedicated bike routes on city streets and 13 miles of off-street multi-use paths. Sun Valley has the 32-mile paved multi-use Wood River Trail between Sun Valley and Bellevue that was developed from 1984 to 1992 and repaved in 2014-15. Idaho Falls has 26 miles of bike paths on its River Walk (formerly known as the Snake River Greenbelt) and Sunnyside Road but so far only 6.1 miles of on-street bike lanes.

Ada County has nearly as many bike lane miles as Portland’s 350 miles, 85 of those miles off-street and 77 miles neighborhood greenways, and more than Minneapolis’ 225 miles, 97 of those miles on off-road bikeways. Portland spent $60 million on its bikeway network and Minneapolis spent $36 million just on its 5.5-mile Midtown Greenway that run nearly across the entire city on a former rail right-of-way just north of the city’s major commercial Lake Street corridor.

Tom Laws

Those cities gain the acclaim, especially for the 13 multi-family housing complexes expressly built next the Midtown Greenway and Portland’s recent opening of the largest car-free bridge in the United States with two 14-foot protected paths across the Willamette River.

“Give us a few years and we will be there,” said Tom Laws, associate planner and bicycle and pedestrian planning coordinator at Community Planning Association for Southwest Idaho (COMPASS).  “They have had more years to mature and define their networks.”

Boise has had its famed Greenbelt since the late 1960s and bike lanes have been added to Ada County city streets for 25 years. But what if you live near Ustick and Eagle Road or anywhere not near State Street or Warm Springs Road? Boise’s non-motorized pathways have primarily focused on the Greenbelt, Ridge to Rivers and the Indian Creek pathway and greenbelt in Nampa and Caldwell.

Laws notes that the Minneapolis and Portland metropolitan areas have more than five and three times the population of the Boise metro.

“With that additional population comes increased congestion, which can make public transportation and active transportation options more attractive,” Laws said. “Additionally, that increased population also means an increased tax-base, providing additional resources for larger areas to focus on alternative modes.”

COMPASS, the Boise metropolitan transportation planning agency, established an active transportation work group in 2015 to plan for the growing public interest in bicycling and walking.

“For a city of our size and how long we’ve invested in it, we are ahead of the game,” Laws said. “We are really going above and beyond a lot of communities our size.”

Traffic laws and enforcement are key

The Boise area has the bike lane mileage to match up with cities that get wider bike acclaim. But the Treasure Valley is better known as a place to take your life in your hands, even in designated bike lanes.

“The mileage is just one component of it,” Laws said. “Enforcement comes to mind. Other states have different rules and regulations to protect bicyclists and pedestrians. There are ‘vulnerable user’ laws to protect bikes. There are ‘safe passing’ laws that give a certain amount of feet (between car and bicyclist).”

Boise and Ada County are regarded as silver level bicycle friendly communities by the League of American Bicyclists. Boise State University is one of 14 universities to reach gold level bicycle friendly in the university category. Platinum is the highest level.

Boise and Ada County fall short of gold status particularly in the area of how many roads have bicycle lanes. Ada County has bike lanes on 33 percent of roads with average gold status at 60 percent for counties, and Boise’s bike network miles covers 26 percent of all roads with city average gold at 43 percent, according to the league.

Where Idaho does stand out is with bicyclists legally allowed to ride bikes on sidewalks and with the so-called Idaho Stop, where bicyclists can roll through stop signs if traffic is clear and cross on red lights if no traffic is coming.

“We have other states looking at that and they are really jealous,” Laws said.

Bike lanes as an economic development tool

Bike/pedestrian paths have become an economic development tools, much the way streetcars and freeways are.  From the 1950s on, freeways attracted commercial and residential development. In the past 10-15, streetcar projects have become a prime ticket for developers. Subways and light rail are important tools as well.

Now in the 2010s, apartment and other housing projects are sprouting alongside multi-use bike and pedestrian paths and developers are consciously incorporating such paths into their projects. Thirteen apartment complexes followed Minneapolis’ Midtown Greenway, McMahon said.

In Idaho, Meridian has embraced this concept. Developers are collaborating with the city on creating a 133-mile pathway network. Developers have paid for and built 73 percent of the first 33 miles of multi-use paths in place, said Jay Gibbons, project manager of Meridian’s Parks & Pathways.

McMahon said Hilton Head, S.C., synonymous for decades for golf and beaches, now has five times as many people riding bikes than golfing. The new 154-unit Bici Flats in Des Moines, Iowa prominently promotes itself as “situated at the convergence of three major regional bicycle trails.” Silver Moon Lodge, a 151-unit workforce housing project, has only 23 parking spaces but includes bike storage and a bike repair shop.

“No cars are allowed in the Grow Community on Bainbridge Island (near Seattle),” McMahon said. “They sold out all units in six months. They did no advertising and half the buyers are from out of state.”

Harris Ranch on Boise’s southeast side by no means restricts cars, but since development of the first 400 homes started in 1997-98 and a second 400 homes since 2006-07, bicycling and walking have been an active, though not extensive component, said Doug Fowler, president of LeNir Ltd., the project manager of Harris Ranch development.

Doug Fowler
Doug Fowler

“I can tell you we’re developing 93 lots this year and they are all sold,” Fowler said. “What we hear over and over and over is ‘We can get on the Greenbelt in a five-minute bike ride from our house.’”

The Boise River Greenbelt is the Treasure Valley’s trump card. The busiest segment of the Greenbelt – the Friendship Bridge joining Julia Davis Park and Boise State University – had 562,184 pedestrian and 319,307 bicycle users, Laws said.

The Greenbelt is nature-oriented, unlikely to prompt the construction of tall office and apartment complexes.  The Greenbelt runs between Harris Ranch and Eagle, with isolated segments in Star and Caldwell.

“You’re starting to see more connectivity to the Greenbelt,” said Laws, citing Eighth Street in Boise with its bike friendliness and push button signal for bicyclists at River Street. There is also the bike/ped Pioneer Corridor built by the Capital City Development Corp. between Myrtle Street and the Greenbelt, and the Ada County Highway District in 2018 plans to make Leadville Avenue a more bicycle-friendly alternative to Broadway to reach the Greenbelt.

Meridian partners with developers to build bike paths

The Diane and Winston Moore Memorial Pathway is among 33 miles of multi-use paths in place for bicyclists and pedestrians in Meridian. Photo courtesy of city of Meridian.
The Diane and Winston Moore Memorial Pathway is among 33 miles of multi-use paths in place for bicyclists and pedestrians in Meridian. Photo courtesy of city of Meridian.

Some cities have spent millions of dollars on paths for bicyclists and pedestrians. Meridian has largely relied on housing developers to fund and build and homeowners associations to maintain its burgeoning bike and pedestrian path network.

So far, Meridian has paid for and maintains just 27 percent of the 33 existing path miles of the 133 miles of projected off-street pathways. In the past 10 years, sporadic multi-use, non-motorized path construction has produced a sporadic, fragmentary path network.

Nobody has tallied the cost of those 33 miles, but public and private sources say a multi-use path costs about $30 a foot or roughly $5.2 million for the existing network.

“Our plan is to loop the city and bisect that three times,“ said Jay Gibbons, project manager for Meridian’s Parks & Pathways.

Jay Gibbons
Jay Gibbons

Today’s network is a couple dozen fragments, largely based on individual developers building bike paths across their projects. But the city has a pathway map with solid and dotted lines indicating existing and future paths that creates Gibbons’ loop and three bisections.

The three bisections would be the railroad corridor, Five Mile Creek and Ten Mile Creek that the city itself is building and maintaining. The Five Mile Creek already has a few miles in service that will become a 4.5-mile continuous stretch once two short gap segments are completed this year, Gibbons said.

The longest continuous path so far is a 6-mile stretch between Chinden and McMillan, running east-west from Locust Grove to Ten Mile Road.

“Every bit of those 6 miles was built by the development community,” Gibbons said.

The central section runs through the square-mile Paramount subdivision, where Brighton Corp. has built about 1,000 homes, an elementary school, Rocky Mountain High School, a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the 20-acre Paramount Marketplace – and about 3 miles of multi-use pathway.

“They are not cheap,” Brighton CEO David Turnbull said, calculating that a path costs $75 a foot with landscaping. But “it increases the overall attractiveness of the community.”

Turnbull, however, questions the “active transportation” moniker that denotes bike paths and bike lanes serving as commuter routes for shopping or going to work, at least at Paramount.

“It’s more of a lifestyle type of thing rather than active transportation,” Turnbull said. “Those pathways are heavily used internally for jogging and meeting up with neighbors.”

Brighton willingly followed the city master plan denoting multi-use paths, Turnbull said.

The Paramount subdivision has components that meet the tenets of Ed McMahon, an Urban Land Institute senior resident fellow who recently spoke in Boise about active transportation.

“Successful suburbs of the future will be those with walkable, mixed-use elements,” McMahon said.

The Treasure Valley’s agricultural legacy pays dividends for Meridian’s bikeway system as most of the existing paths and planned routes follow ditches, drainages and irrigation canals. Also, as a very new “bigger” city, Meridian can build off-street paths into its city at the outset rather than having to retrofit bike lanes and sidewalks into 100- and 150-year-old street networks, Gibbons said.

“We are answering what our residents are starting to ask for as far as pedestrian and bike paths go,” he said. “They’ve been to places where they do have them and they want them here. We have the opportunity to do them early on (in the city’s development).”

Harris Ranch strives to improve biking, walking opportunities

Transportation options in Harris Ranch, February 2017, photo Patrick Sweeney
Harris Ranch has a variety of options that are ideal for pedestrians and bicyclists. Photo by Patrick Sweeney.

Harris Ranch will open a 2-mile gravel pathway for bikes and walkers in spring that doesn’t cross any roads to get people under their own power from Council Springs Road to Highland Valley Road.

The 1,300-acre master-planned community on Boise’s southeast side has always been served by the east end of the Boise River Greenbelt. There is also the Dallas Harris Legacy Riverwalk.

Harris Ranch embraces the prevalent new urban designs with wider sidewalks, bike lanes and sidewalk bulbs at intersections to make the street narrow. Fowler said walkability was in play when the first 400 homes were built at Harris Ranch in 1997-98 but there is a stronger emphasis on such amenities, such as the 6-foot-wide sidewalks that are standard now.

Doug Fowler is president of LeNir Ltd., the project manager for development Harris Ranch since 2005. When he came on board a dozen years ago, a master plan was in place.

“The master plan was perfect at the time and we perfected it three or four times since then,” Fowler said. “There are cultural shifts, political shifts, new information.”

One source of new information is the Walk Score, which assigns a number from 1 to 100 to cities, neighborhoods, even individual addresses, to define a place’s walkability to public amenities. Harris Ranch has a dismal Walk Score of 8 and a better Bike Score of 54. Fowler does not dispute this finding.

“It’ll get better as we get more commercial and retail,” Fowler said. “We have the infrastructure but you need to have a place to go.”

Along with walking and biking, bus service has also been on Fowler’s mind since the beginning. Valley Regional Transit in August 2014 launched Route 18 with three round trips in the morning and three roundtrips in the evening, VRT spokesman Mark Carnopis said.

You can walk or bike your kid to school in Hidden Springs

Bus service has not made it out to the 849-home Hidden Springs development north and east of Highway 55 and Hill Road. This is seen as the one missing element among the quartet of pedestrian mobility, bicycle usage, complete streets and public transit that have been implemented there, said Tyler Gilman, a marketing specialist Realtor at Group One Sotheby’s International Realty, which markets Hidden Springs.

Valley Regional Transit has no plans for a Hidden Springs route at this time but service is not out of the question.

“That would be more of an express route,” Carnopis said, comparing it to Route 44 that has limited stops from Caldwell to Boise and only runs once a day in each direction. “It would be seen more to get people to jobs.”

In the meantime, though, Hidden Springs has built 12 miles of trails through the 1,844-acre community with 70 percent of the multi-used paths separate from the street and 30 percent shared use with motorized vehicles.

“Active transportation (biking and walking) is more important to residents than waterfronts and golfing,” Gilman said.

The trails deliver residents to the Hidden Springs town center, where there is a dental office, a salon, a design studio, a finance office, a pizzeria, a mercantile restaurant/general store, a real estate office and a library branch.

“The big one is taking children to school,” Gilman said. “They do it walking and biking.”

Urban Land Institute senior fellow Ed McMahon told a Treasure Valley crowd that proximity to multi-use paths increases property values. Locally, Gilman said he has noticed that an identical house along a Hidden Springs path can demand $50,000 more than a house away from such an amenity.

“There is a group of people who say this is what they want,” Gilman said.


Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine to break ground in April

The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine will be the first medical college in Idaho. Image courtesy of Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine will be the first medical college in Idaho. Image courtesy of Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Construction is expected to start in April on the $34 million Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, the state’s first medical college.

The L-shaped, roughly 90,000- to 95,000-square-foot ICOM will be built at the same Central Drive education cluster as Idaho State University – Meridian Health Science Center, Renaissance High School, and West Ada School District in Meridian.

The structure was designed by the Albuquerque architecture firm Dekker/Perich/Sabatini. The general contractor is Meridian’s ESI Construction, which builds many of Treasure Valley’s large-scale structures.

Robert Hasty
Robert Hasty

“It was important to us that our general contractor be an Idaho-based company,” said Robert Hasty, founding dean and chief academic officer of ICOM. “We feel that this will be an extremely productive partnership and are excited to work with ESI to build a medical legacy in the region.”

The ICOM building will cost about $25 million for construction with another $9 million for equipment and furnishings, Hasty said.

Construction is expected to be completed by June 1, 2018 with classes starting in August 2018. The privately funded ICOM is a collaborative effort among the state of Idaho, Idaho State University and ICOM’ s leadership.

Osteopathic medicine focuses on achieving a high level of wellness through health promotion and disease prevention. More than 20 percent of U.S. medical students are training to become osteopathic physicians, according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

AACOM lists 38 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States.

Meridian opens an outdoor gym

Meridian's first outdoor gym is at Tully Park. Photo courtesy of city of Meridian.
Meridian has built an outdoor gym is at Tully Park. Photo courtesy of city of Meridian.

Meridian opened an outdoor gym Nov. 14 at Tully Park, an initiative driven by youth at the invitation of the Meridian City Council.

The outdoor gym emerged as the idea of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, which was looking for ways to use $20,000 from the city council’s participatory budget. The 75 young people in the council started with 67 ideas that were winnowed down to 15 and then five before the gym was submitted for city council approval.

“This entire process was youth-led,” said Steve Siddoway, Meridian Parks and Recreation director. “The adults basically stepped back and the youth decided what they wanted to do.”

Nine pieces of TriActive America fitness equipment were installed on a 38-foot concrete circle next to the Tully Park playground in the first week of November. The equipment includes a situp board; back extension; rowing machine; chest press; air walker; elliptical; lat pull; and equipment for pullups and dips.

“This is an opportunity for intergenerational activity,” Siddoway said. “A mom can exercise next to a kid at the playground. Teens can do something, too, while with younger siblings.”

Siddoway said the area next to the playground was underused and Parks and Rec had been seeking intergenerational options.

The $34,000 equipment cost was funded by the $20,000 from the city council; a $12,961 High Five Grant from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health; and $1,039 raised by the youth council at its annual Ball at the Hall.

The concrete was donated by Conger Management Group and CBH Homes in collaboration with Flatwork LLC, Sunroc Corp., Clements Concrete and Brundage Bone.


Wahooz expands into the great indoors

Wahooz Family Fun Zone is adding an Indoor Adventure Park. Photo courtesy of Wahooz Family Fun Zone.
Wahooz Family Fun Zone is adding an Indoor Adventure Park. Photo courtesy of Wahooz Family Fun Zone.

Family entertainment is going indoors at the Wahooz Family Fun Zone in Meridian with the Nov. 3 opening of the 70,000-square-foot Indoor Adventure Park.

The indoor park is the latest addition to the 26-acre, family-owned Roaring Springs Water Park-Wahooz-Pinz Bowling Center complex that has evolved since two ownership groups first opened the neighboring Roaring Springs and Boondocks in 1999.

“The real inspiration for the indoor park is Idaho weather,” said Tiffany Quilici, marketing director at Roaring Springs, Wahooz and Pinz. “This really rounds out our calendar to provide entertainment all year round.”

The Indoor Adventure Park attractions include The Twister, The Frog Hopper, Sky Trail Ropes Course, Clip ‘N Climb, Ballocity, Bumper Cars, Laser Maze Challenge and Face Place Photo Studio.

Climb Bright Lights is on one of the attractions at the new Indoor Adventure Park at Wahooz Family Fun Zone. Photo courtesy of Wahooz Family Fun Zone.
Climb Bright Lights is on one of the attractions at the new Indoor Adventure Park at Wahooz Family Fun Zone. Photo courtesy of Wahooz Family Fun Zone.

The indoor park idea dates from 2010, two years after Roaring Springs owners the Tom Nicholson Family and CEO/partner Pat Morandi bought Boondocks and renamed it Wahooz.

Pinz and the Indoor Adventure Park originally were planned to be built at the same time, as the facilities are joined together, but the recession put a hold on the indoor park, though the 24-alley bowling center opened in 2012.

The Indoor Adventure Park cost more than $3 million and was designed by BRS Architects of Boise. The Russell Corp. of Meridian was the general contractor.

My Place Hotel breaks ground near Eagle/Fairview in Meridian

My Place is a new extended stay hotel chain that falls between Super 8 and Hampton Inn. Image courtesy of MP Meridian LLC.
My Place is a new extended stay hotel chain that falls between Super 8 and Hampton Inn. Image courtesy of MP Meridian LLC.

A pair of Atlanta hoteliers found Meridian to build their first joint-venture hotel, a franchise of the new Aberdeen, S.D.-based My Place hotel chain.

Daniel Pretorius and Aaron Lawson, both involved in the non-franchise Savannah Suites hotel chain, had been scouting Meridian property since 2003 before putting a Jewel Street property near Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue under contract in December 2015.

“We are tracking data from emerging markets across the country,” Pretorius said. “Meridian outperforms Nashville, Savannah and Birmingham. We definitely see the Meridian area as an emerging market.”

Aaron Lawson and Daniel Pretorius
Aaron Lawson and Daniel Pretorius

Pretorius and Lawson, who will co-own the Meridian hotel through MP Meridian LLC, broke ground Aug. 26 on a four-story, 85-room My Place that will be the first hotel near the busiest intersection in Idaho since 2005. My Place will be near the opposite corner from The Village at Meridian.

“It’s time,” said Anne Little Roberts, CEO of the Meridian Chamber of Commerce. “I know others have looked at it in conjunction with The Village. We have wondered (why no hotels have been built at Fairview and Eagle), to be honest with you.”

A second Idaho My Place Hotel is in the building permit phase for 64 rooms on North Haven Drive near St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center in Twin Falls under a different ownership group, MPI Investment Group LLC.

These are the first Idaho entries for the four-year-old South Dakota hotel chain that so far has franchised 25 hotels in 12 states, including Idaho neighbors Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana and Wyoming.

My Place is in the Pacific Northwest and upper Plains states, with one each in Texas, Pennsylvania and Alaska. It has 40 more hotels in 18 additional states under construction or in pre-planning, said Terry Kline, executive vice president of franchise development at My Place.

My Place was co-founded in 2012 by Ron Rivett, who co-founded the Super 8 motel chain in 1974. My Place is an extended-stay hotel but also offers daily and weekly rates.

“This brand was created to fill that space in the middle, an underserved market between the aging economy brands and upper mid-scale brands,” Kline said, defining aging economy as Super 8, Days Inn and Travelodge and upper mid-scale as Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express. “The majority of developers today are developing upper mid-scale properties.”

Pretorius anticipates a March 1 opening for the $7 million Meridian project. He and Lawson are building My Place with their in-house Celtic Services construction company.

Savannah Suites, where Lawson is a partner and Pretorius a contractor, has hotels in Atlanta; Arvada, Colo.; and Pleasanton, Texas, but Pretorius said the Lawson family has developed 22 hotels over the years.

“We are not absentee owners,” said Pretorius, who has often made the Atlanta-to-Denver-to-Boise flight. “We embed ourselves in our projects.”

Pretorius and Lawson have never been involved in a franchise hotel, but they were impressed with the Rivett family’s direct involvement with them as they scoped out My Place. Pretorius said they would rather tap into the My Place information technology system than hire their own IT person.

“It’s great to be with a growing company,” he said. “We are entering in at the ground level.”

Northbound Eagle Road will be widened to The Village at Meridian

The Idaho Transportation Department started construction Aug. 23 on a third northbound lane for Eagle Road from Franklin Road to Fairview Avenue, the department reported.

The work will extend the three-lane northbound stretch already in place from Interstate 84 to just before Franklin, where the outer lane becomes a dedicated right-turn lane.

Eagle Road will remain open at all times with lane restrictions during the overnight road work from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year, ITD spokeswoman Jennifer Gonzalez said.

The project will also add right-turn lanes on northbound Eagle at Franklin Road, Pine Avenue, Fairview Avenue, Lanark Drive and Presidential Drive. The project is funded by The Village at Meridian, she said.

Idaho Materials & Construction is the contractor for the project. Construction updates can be obtained by texting EAGLEROAD to 22828 or calling 334-8938.

Bish’s RV plans to move from Nampa to Meridian

Bish's RV will build its biggest dealership in Meridian. Image courtesy of Bish's RV.
Bish’s RV will build its biggest dealership in Meridian. Image courtesy of Bish’s RV.

Idaho Falls-based Bish’s RV plans to get a bigger bite of the Treasure Valley recreational vehicle market with the new dealership it is building on 17.3 acres in Meridian alongside Interstate 84 just west of Meridian Road.

Construction started in mid-August on the 53,000-square foot dealership that will have 22 service bays. It will cost between $10 million and $12 million.

Scheduled to open in April, it will be Bish’s largest dealership and will follow a new design the company intends to use at future new dealership and remodels of its existing dealerships in Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Twin Falls, said Megan Walker, Bish’s marketing director.

“This is a milestone for us,” she said.

Bateman-Hall of Idaho Falls is the general contractor and the Boise office of CTA Architects Engineers designed the facility.

Bish’s will close its Nampa dealership and move the inventory and 55 employees to the new Meridian store. Walker expects the Meridian dealership to open with 90 to 100 employees.

Bish’s is the only RV dealer with four locations in Idaho. Nelson’s RV has three locations in the Treasure Valley.

“We know our market share is going to go up,” Walker said. “We are confident it will grow by 20 to 25 percent in the first two or three years.”

Bish’s this year expects to sell 500 to 600 RVs in Nampa. The company believes Meridian will sell 800 to 1,000 out of the gate and more in coming years.

“Our Nampa store has grown so much (in sales) over the last six years,” Walker said. “It was time to find a new piece of property and build a new facility. We were trying to find property with good visibility from the freeway.”

Bish’s expanded to Nampa in 2010 by acquiring Seventh Heaven Recreation and Marine and converted it to the present-day Bish’s.

Bish’s RV was founded in 1992 with “no intention of evolving into the largest RV dealer in the state of Idaho,” according to the company’s website. The company first expanded to Pocatello with a new structure in 2005 and then built a dealership in Twin Falls in 2006.

Bish’s acquired Brockman’s RV in Jerome in February to acquire its Jayco product line. Brockman’s was immediately closed and the Jayco inventory and employees moved to the Twin Falls store, Walker said.

Bish’s now covers the Snake River basin. Though there are no plans to expand to northern Idaho, Walker said the company is looking at dealerships for sale in other states.

“At this point, it will be acquisitions to get the brands we want,” she said. “We have our feelers out.”

Bish’s has 147 employees at all its dealerships and annual revenue exceeding $50 million, Walker said.

Walker said Bish’s Nampa facility has 10 service bays and Idaho Falls only eight. The Meridian dealership also will have an indoor showroom, an expanded RV parts department, and a body collision repair shop.

Downtown revivals are in play in communities across the Treasure Valley

Pedestrians in downtown Boise.
Pedestrians in downtown Boise. In the last seven months, construction has started on three new downtown hotels with a combined 449 rooms. Photo by Pete Grady.

Boise’s downtown is buzzing with hotel, housing and office construction

Downtown revitalization in Boise has matured in phases for the past 30 years. A new phase started with the rise of the Eighth and Main Tower, a phase that is focused largely on sleeping: housing and hotels.

“Eighth and Main reminded people that anything is possible,” said John Brunelle, executive director of the Capital City Development Corp., Boise’s urban renewal agency. “It gave more belief in the future of downtown Boise.”

People living in cities’ downtowns are nationally acknowledged as a key component to downtown revivals and one that had eluded Boise’s renaissance until now.

Just in the past seven months, construction has started on three new downtown hotels with a combined 449 rooms, and three condo/apartment projects with 212 units also have crews at work with at least two more residential units likely to start construction this year.

“Without people, you have nothing,” Brunelle said. “You need people to have vibrancy and energy. It’s going to be an 18-hour city (with people living downtown). With the new hotels, we will have an ever-changing profile of people downtown.”

Office construction continues, too, with the J.R. Simplot Co. world headquarters heading toward its closing stages. Just across 11th Street from Simplot, the same team behind Eighth and Main now propose a six-story, 125,000-square-foot office building between Front and Myrtle streets.

City planners also are trying to change the definition of “downtown” to stretch from St. Luke’s Medical Center and Boise State University to Whitewater Boulevard (the former 30th Street), which city leaders are calling the West End.

“We want to make sure we make the most with the good times we’re having,” Mayor David Bieter said. “We want 1,000 more housing units by 2020. We want especially the West End to come along. That’s our housing opportunity.”

The Nampa Library.
The Nampa Library is part of a plaza that includes office space. It was completed in 2015 with urban renewal funding. Photo by Pete Grady.

Once abandoned, Nampa’s downtown is now busy

Nampa has invested the past dozen years reviving a downtown that had largely been abandoned for Karcher Mall and Boise Towne Square in the closing decades of the 20th Century.

The four cornerstones of the new downtown Nampa are a mix of new and historic. The city built the Hugh Nichols Public Safety Building in 2012 and added the Nampa Library Plaza with accompanying office space in 2015.

Since 2004, Nampa’s façade improvement program is dressed up  historic buildings with a mix of public and private funding.

The two signature historic restoration projects have been the Boise Fry Company reinvention of a former car showroom and the First Street Marketplace buildings, now home to Pre-Funk Beer Bar and Messenger Pizza & Brewery.

Downtown Nampa
Downtown Nampa. The Nampa Business Improvement District has worked with the National Main Street Center to attract shoppers and business owners back to the city center. Photo by Pete Grady.

“We did it with First Street Marketplace. Let’s do it some more times,” said Morgan Treasure, coordinator of the Nampa Business Improvement District.

The city is shopping more historic downtown buildings for investors to restore for new business ventures.

“The most important thing is the city and community came to an agreement for what worked and what is realistic for our downtown,” said Treasure, also director of Nampa’s Main Street programs in conjunction with the National Main Street Center. “We want downtown Nampa to be a hub for locals and entrepreneurs.”

Nampa in May unveiled a new life for Lloyd Square after converting a parking lot into a grassy field fed by new bicycle and pedestrian pathways that follow the railroad tracks.

The next step is to make downtown a hub for events drawing large crowds of people.

“Historically, people went to Boise and Meridian for restaurants and nightlife activities,” Treasure said. “If a different band played in the plaza every week, people will come back frequently.”

Downtown Meridian.
Downtown Meridian. The city put up signs highlighting the city’s historic downtown in April as part of a branding campaign. Photo by Pete Grady.

Meridian seeks a downtown for entrepreneurs

As Meridian awaits private sector interest in large-scale downtown redevelopment projects, the city and Meridian Development Corp. are sprucing up streets and buildings and attracting people downtown to set the table for a future revitalized historic downtown.

“We are working hard to put the infrastructure and bones in place in order to encourage private investment into downtown,” said Ashley Squyres, MDC’s administrator.  “I think we’re there.”

Meridian has upgraded its downtown the past decade by rerouting Main Street through-traffic onto Meridian Road; building a new city hall downtown; and bringing new headquarters downtown for Valley Regional Transit and the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho.

More recently, two long-vacant MDC-owned buildings were leased to the Treasure Valley Children’s Theater and unBound – a makerspace collaboration with the Meridian Library. Sitting vacant for a number of years, MDC bought the children’s theater and unBound buildings in 2008-09 to lease or sell, but a 2012 request for proposals did not receive any proposals.

“Both tenants are creating a dynamic energy,” Squyres said.

UnBound and the New Ventures Lab, a business incubator occupying the former city hall building, are the passions of Mayor Tammy de Weerd’s tenure since 2004, which spans nearly the entire life of the MDC that was launched in 2002.

“We are focusing on entrepreneurship and creating a sense of place,” de Weerd said.  “It is really supporting the entrepreneurial spirit.”

But so far, grand private sector projects haven’t taken hold in downtown Meridian.

“We have not had anyone interested in (major) development,” Squyres said. “We have not seen any major new construction (other than city hall and COMPASS/VRT) … . My vision for downtown is a larger version of Hyde Park you find in north Boise with a civic and cultural presence.”

Downtown Kuna.
Downtown Kuna. The city is using a Community Development Block Grant for downtown improvements that includes new sidewalks, pedestrian lighting, benches, trees and corner bulb-outs. Photo by Pete Grady.

Kuna readies downtown for the city’s growth

The idea with Kuna’s downtown revitalization is to serve as the destination for a recently emerging string of commercial activity centers from the Ridley’s Family Market at Deer Flat Road, around the Kuna Curve, where 46 acres of farmland await commercial development, and past the former Paul’s Market that is now Albertsons.

“They are providing a commercial trail that leads right into the heart of downtown,” said Troy Behunin, Kuna’s senior planner.

As Idaho’s No. 14 biggest city anticipates potential growth into the Top 10, Kuna is swiftly maturing from a bedroom community to a full-fledged city with downtown an integral part of its new connect-the-dots commercial district.

The first phase of downtown improvements include new sidewalks, pedestrian lighting, benches, trees and corner bulb-outs on Main Street from Avenue E to Avenue C  and on Avenue E from Main to Fourth Street, City Clerk Chris Engels said.

Kuna has the budgeted $1,080,000 in place with funding from a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, a $200,000 COMPASS grant and up to $200,000 in reimbursements from the Ada County Highway District.

A second phase will extend these Main Street streetscape improvements from Avenue C to the new roundabout at Main and Linder Avenue that was completed in May.

Safety plays a large role Kuna’s downtown revitalization as Main Street’s sidewalks are not ADA accessible.

“The roundabout makes it a much safer intersection,” Engels said. “We have many sidewalk deficiencies. We are putting in bulb outs at the pedestrian crossing to shorten the crossing of the street. Plus it serves as a traffic slower.”

Kuna launched its downtown improvements with 2014 downtown revitalization stakeholder assessment. The first revitalization project in 2014 was realigning a portion of Bridge Avenue and improving the pedestrian path on Bridge Avenue including having the sidewalk go across the railroad track.

Caldwell is banking on Trolley Square and The Plaza at Indian Creek

Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas has shepherded his downtown through transformation from ghost town to public focal point since taking office in 1998.

“When I became mayor, downtown was literally a ghost image of what it was when I was a child,” the mayor recalled. “The buildings were there but half of them were empty. We used to have throngs of people. Then it became just a few.”

The site of the
The site of the Indian Creek Plaza, a project expected to start in the fall that will include an ice skating rink, splash pad and sound stage. Photo by Pete Grady.

Downtown revitalization got a kickstart in 2006 with community buy-in to reveal three blocks of Indian Creek that had flowed under asphalt parking lots and buildings for decades.

“It has become a sense of place,” Nancolas said. “People take family pictures there.”

With the creek the anchor for Caldwell’s emerging downtown, the city now is gearing up for two of the defining projects for its future downtown: The Indian Creek Plaza and Trolley Square.

The city bought and tore down a former King’s Variety Store three years ago and since then envisioned the Indian Creek Plaza for the one-acre property. Construction should start in fall on an ice skating rink, splash pad and sound stage. Nancolas wants programming scheduled for the plaza at least 250 days a year.

Trolley Square is a partnership with Gardner Co., which proposes building an 11-screen Reel Theatres and two retail buildings at Main and Ninth streets.

Nancolas expects both Indian Creek Plaza and Trolley Square to be completed in fall 2017.

“I believe the plaza will be the center of activity and the cornerstone of downtown revitalization,” Nancolas said. “We believe these two projects will drastically change downtown Caldwell for the better.”

Downtown Eagle.
Downtown Eagle. The Eagle Urban Renewal Agency paid the owners of a long-vacant gas station to demolish it. EURA chairman Jeff Kunz, who is also city council president, said the best use of the area would be a mix of retail, office and residential.  Photo by Pete Grady.

Eagle’s half-vacant intersection awaits revival

Since late 2015, Eagle has had a blank slate on the south side of its main downtown intersection at State and Eagle to showcase whatever its emerging downtown revitalization produces. Mayor Stan Ridgeway even sees potential redevelopment for the block east stopping at the Eagle Hotel building.

“That entire block is prime for new development, except the hotel,” Ridgeway said, adding that the city owns the Eagle Historical Museum building in the middle of that block.

Across Eagle Road, the Eagle Urban Renewal Agency paid Rick and Sandy Smith $33,750 to demolish the long-vacant gasoline station, which happened in August, and offered an additional $33,750 if they start development of a new project or sell the property by Dec. 31. The property to the west of that has already been vacant.

“This area should focus on corner entry buildings, third story plazas and gardens that create a unique skyline and streetscapes should include retail, office and residential uses,” said City Council President Jeff Kunz, who is also EURA chairman.

Ridgeway sees mixed-use with retail on the ground floor.

“Above those you could have residential or office and they could have a terraced second floor with patios so it’s not just a straight wall,” the mayor said. “The overall goal is to preserve Eagle so it continues to have the quaint feel it has always had.”

Ridgeway hopes developers step forward with proposals so that some construction could start in 2017.

Just south of Main Street, the city in 2017 plans to connect two stubs of Plaza Drive to create a continuous route to link Eagle and Hill Roads. The undeveloped land is zoned commercial and used by the Eagle Rodeo.

“We haven’t discussed as a city what the best use would be,” Ridgeway said. “One of the ideas a developer has is to put some apartments in there.”


Starting gun fires for development at Ten Mile Road and I-84

The empty fields at Ten Mile Road and Interstate 84 could one day have as many as 20,000 jobs and 6,000 homes. Photo by Pete Grady.
The empty fields at Ten Mile Road and Interstate 84 could one day be the site of as many as 20,000 jobs and 6,000 homes. Photo by Pete Grady.

Boise-based Brighton Corp. and the Boise office of Gardner Co. plan to break ground this summer on the first 75 acres of 800 acres at the Ten Mile Road/I-84 interchange, considered the most expansive, undeveloped, urban freeway interchange acreage between Portland and Salt Lake City.

The city of Meridian has been contemplating development at the pastureland for a decade, and described it as “not just another freeway interchange” in its 2007 Ten Mile Interchange Specific Area Plan.

Meridian envisions something other than the usual fast food establishments and service stations that routinely greet freeway travelers across America. The city has been planning something closer to all the components of live-work-play in the immediate surroundings, said Bruce Chatterton, the city’s community development director.

First comes work.

Brighton and Gardner are co-developers of the first two office buildings. Other proposed projects include a hotel right off the freeway and apartments, possibly in the multi-story retail-office-residential configuration.

The conceptual plan for Ten Mile Crossing walls for office buildings and residential built close to roads. Image courtesy of Brighton Corp. and Gardner Co.
The conceptual plan for Ten Mile Crossing shows residential development and office buildings close to roads. Image courtesy of Brighton Corp. and Gardner Co.

Construction is set to start in August on a two-story, 70,000- square-foot office building that will house benefits administrator AmeriBen/IEC Group. A second construction start follows in September on a four-story, 60,000-square-foot office building, where Brighton will relocate its headquarters to fill 15,000 square.  Horrocks Engineers will take another 15,000 square feet. Both buildings are expected to be completed in May.

David Turnbull
David Turnbull

“We like to be where the action is,” said Brighton CEO David Turnbull, who has had his headquarters at the Boise Research Center for all the 25 years since he developed the 1.25 million-square-foot office park off Chinden Boulevard near Hewlett Packard.

Turnbull in 2006 bought two parcels adding up to 130 acres at Ten Mile Road just north of the freeway bridge before there was any certainty that a freeway interchange would be built. Meridian in collaboration with many agencies and private stakeholder – including Turnbull – wrote the specific area plan four years before the interchange opened – and before any of the 800 acres were within the Meridian city limits.

Tommy Ahlquist
Tommy Ahlquist

“This is kind of legacy stuff,” said Gardner Chief Operating Officer Tommy Ahlquist, whose company landed AmeriBen as the first tenant for the interchange.

Brighton/Gardner are the first developers to give a physical interpretation to Meridian’s specific area plan, which anticipates as many as 20,000 jobs in the four quadrants surrounding the Ten Mile interchange and as many as 6,000 homes.

“I see no reasons not to accomplish that,” Chatterton said. “It certainly is an urban village expected to have everything you’d have in a neighborhood. It would have employment, multi-family housing, single family housing, retail.”

A professional soccer stadium could also come into the conversation for Ten Mile Road.

So far, all the development interest is in the northeast quadrant, owned by Brighton and Treasure Valley Investments. TVI, managed by Mirazim Shakoori, owns 122 acres between the two Brighton properties. Retail West Properties is the Boise development partner with Treasure Valley Investments, and hasn’t started a development plan.

“We don’t have anything to announce,” said Retail West president Eric Davis. ” I can’t even guess what will come our way.”

Davis, however, recognizes the development potential.

“If you go from Salt Lake to Portland or Seattle, I don’t think you will find a large site that size that is zoned and ready to go,” Davis said.

Turnbull bought land at Ten Mile Road when 100,000 fewer people lived in Treasure Valley.

“There is nothing like this in Idaho,” Turnbull said. “Between here and Portland, this is it.”

No man’s land between Meridian and Nampa will become center of the valley

The city of Meridian annexed the Brighton and Treasure Valley Investments properties in 2014. A parcel of about 263 acres north of I-84 and east of Ten Mile Road became Meridian’s second urban renewal district on June 30. The other three quadrants remain unincorporated.

The city of Meridian envisions an urban village for Ten Mile Road near I-84. Image courtesy of city of Meridian.
The city of Meridian envisions an urban village for Ten Mile Road near I-84. Image courtesy of city of Meridian.

Brighton will install infrastructure in the urban renewal district, and the district will repay Brighton, Chatterton said.

The estimated cost of constructing the public infrastructure for the Ten Mile URD is $23.4 million, said Phil Kushlan, urban renewal consultant for the Ten Mile Road Urban Renewal District.

Chatterton anticipates the district will generate $48 million for the city over its 20-year life through increased property values with development. He believes it will take 16 years or less to pay off URD debt. Once the debt is cleared, Chatterton predicts Meridian will clear $5 million a year in tax revenue from Ten Mile Road.

The parcel still occupies a no-man’s land between Meridian and Nampa, but, everybody acknowledges the gap between Idaho’s second and third biggest cities will eventually close in, as the gap between Boise and Meridian evaporated in the 2000s.

One mile north of the Ten Mile/I-84 interchange, housing has already expanded a little more than 1 mile west of Ten Mile.

Within two miles of Ten Mile and Ustick Road, the population has soared from 16,000 to 36,000 since 2000 with a projected increase to 52,000 by 2040, by which time 104,000 people could be within three miles of Ustick and Ten Mile, according to projections calculated by Carl Miller, principal planner at the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho.

The Ten Mile Road interchange sits almost equidistant from downtown Boise and downtown Caldwell – with population growth projections trending westward.

“It is in center of the valley, literally,” Ahlquist said.

Brighton and Gardner are big players with big plans

Brighton is the Treasure Valley’s second largest homebuilder in the Treasure Valley, and developer of the second largest office park, Boise Research Center. Gardner built the tallest office building in Idaho, Eighth and Main, along with City Center Plaza, which is nearing completion; the Nampa Library Plaza; The Portico at Meridian; Eagle Island Crossing; St. Luke’s Nampa Medical Plaza; St. Luke’s Meridian Ambulatory Care Center and the West Valley Medical Complex in Caldwell.

David Turnbull (left) and Tommy Ahlquist, two of the largest commercial and residential developers in Treasure Valley, have teamed up to development the Ten Mile Road interchange area. Photo by Pete Grady.
David Turnbull (left) and Tommy Ahlquist, two of the largest commercial and residential developers in Treasure Valley, have teamed up to develop the Ten Mile Road interchange area. Photo by Pete Grady.

Brighton has created several housing developments including Paramount, Syringa, Tuscany, SpurWing Greens, River Heights at Barber Valley and Park Place at Barber Station. Brighton also built the C.W. Moore Plaza tower and Idaho Independent Bank building, both in downtown Boise.

At Ten Mile Road, Brighton and Gardner are developing two properties. They are starting with the 75 acres at the freeway that Turnbull is calling Ten Mile Crossing.

The project architect is Babcock Design Group, which has worked with Gardner on most of its Treasure Valley Projects. The general contractor is ESI Construction.

The second 55 acres at Ten Mile and Franklin Road, which the duo is calling Ten Mile Creek, will have retail and some apartments. Gardner is in discussions with five retail users for Ten Mile Creek, Ahlquist said.

Brighton and Gardner are doing preliminary work on a combined 500 multi-family units for Ten Mile Crossing and Ten Mile Creek. They are considering a retail-office-apartment structure that planners tout as the most sought-after arrangement.

“We’re going to see if we can make it work,” Turnbull said.

Turnbull and Ahlquist anticipate adding 1.3 million square feet of office space at Ten Mile Crossing, with the first phase adding up to 130,000 square feet.

“We have a lot of great office tenants were talking with in the early stages,” Ahlquist said.

The project was initially mostly retail; now it’s mostly office with some retail.  Turnbull predicts more service-oriented retail, such as child care and health care providers, both of which could be the tenants of the second wave of buildings that Brighton/Gardner erect.

“We are creating a campus that corporate headquarters will want to locate at,” Turnbull said. “This will be the easiest access for any corporate campus in the Treasure Valley.”

Incorporating lifestyle into commercial development

With the Meridian specific area plan in mind, Ten Mile Crossing will not just be sterile buildings and parking. The developers said they seek to create a pedestrian-friendly layout with walking paths, a common gym, an outdoor activities center and day care.

Ahlquist also is working closely with AmeriBen to tap into the company’s corporate culture to design a building specific to company and employee needs. Daylight will dominate with open work areas and offices in the interior rather than along outer walls; parking will be behind the building.

The Brighton building will have parking all around the building – “that’s the nature of office buildings,” Turnbull said – but the design seeks to live up to the specific area plan. The Brighton building and future Ten Mile Crossing buildings will be closer to streets and sidewalks, with larger parking areas positioned away from streets, Turnbull said.

The shared corporate culture between Gardner and AmeriBen drew AmeriBen to Ten Mile Road, along with the ability to consolidate its offices in a single building. AmeriBen, which primarily handles health care benefits and also retirement benefits for more than 600 clients, now occupies four buildings at the Silverstone Corporate Center on Overland Road off Eagle Road.

Bryan Hall
Bryan Hall

“(Gardner’s design offers) those things that tend to foster an engaged workforce with accessible managers and supervisors with a collegial feel,” AmeriBen legal counsel Bryan Hall said.

Founded in 1958 and always located in the Boise area, AmeriBen has about 600 employees with plans to grow.

Making streets and parking user-friendly

Ten Mile Crossing will have a number of interior streets with limited vehicle access points to Ten Mile Road.

“Traffic will be distributed throughout the site and not to the perimeter,” Turnbull said.

Ada County Highway District designated just two mid-block, vehicle full-access points between Franklin and the freeway with two others limited to right-in, right-out turns. Ten Mile Road was widened from Overland Road to Franklin Road and the Overland/Ten Mile intersection was rerouted  a half mile to the south, ACHD spokeswoman Nicole Du Bois said.

“Limiting the number of access points and restricting turning movements for driveways near the signals should improve efficiency and reduce the potential for crashes on Ten Mile,” Du Bois said.

Underpasses beneath Ten Mile Road on either side of the freeway allow vehicles to travel from one commercial quadrant to another without impeding traffic on Ten Mile.

“As a result, the nearest access points (from the properties to Ten Mile Road) are about 1,500 feet north and south of the (freeway) interchange,” Du Bois said.

That means cars coming off or entering the freeway encounter minimal points of merging traffic from the commercial properties.

The Ten Mile Road Interchange opened in 2011 with the Idaho’s second single-point urban interchange, or SPUI, just one year after the first SPUI was built at Vista Road in Boise. Now, all four Idaho SPUIs are in the Treasure Valley, including the Broadway and Meridian Road interchanges.

“The SPUI is a more efficient way to move large amounts of traffic,” Idaho Transportation Department spokesman Reed Hollinshead said. “Have one set of traffic lights, there’s less conflict points, less starting and stopping. You don’t have to look different ways to see if it’s clear to go.”

Brighton, Gardner, Meridian, ACHD and the ITD sought to design a Ten Mile Road commercial area that did not repeat the traffic quagmire of Eagle Road.

The Ten Mile vision seeks live-work-play on the same acreage

Chatterton predict it will take about 10 years to “achieve the values shown in the specific plan” and 20 years for the full 800 acres to be developed.

“There are ways to take these buildings and create an urbanscape,” he said. “Another piece is taming the big box. Take the mass and break it up and make it look like a set of smaller buildings.”

The zoning for the northeast quadrant is mostly general commercial, where developers can seek conditional use permits for a wide variety of endeavors. Meridian specifically seeks mixed-use residential/commercial in a single structure, Chatterton said.

The specific area plan has a precise vision for the area, and that includes creating a place that stays busy and vital after the workday.

“For many employees, home will be upstairs, around the corner or down the street,” the plan says. “The area allows a range of land uses – from industrial to residential to commercial – in close proximity to each other.”

“We would encourage entertainment, themed restaurants,” Chatterton said. “It can’t be all service economy. We don’t encourage food manufacturing. We really want the buildings not to look like suburban development. We don’t want to look like every other interchange.”


Jump Time will build a new trampoline park in Meridian

Jump Time owner Chad Babcock and General Manager Joey Zintel can play on the job at Jump Time. Photo by Teya Vitu.
Jump Time owner Chad Babcock (left) and General Manager Joey Zintel can play dodgeball on the job at Jump Time. Photo by Teya Vitu.

Jump Time indoor trampoline park owner Chad Babcock is building a Meridian facility with a roof high enough for a zip line and ropes course.

Babcock opened his first Jump Time trampoline facility in Meridian in 2010. He opened another in Boise in 2012 and then another in Twin Falls in 2013. He also has an indoor Soccer Time in Twin Falls.

In October, Babcock purchased 3.7 acres on Franklin Road just west of Eagle Road to build a new, 35,0000-square-foot trampoline facility  with a 35-foot-high roof. This contrasts with the 18-foot-high roof in the 22,000-square-foot space he has leased at Meridian’s Stonehenge Plaza since launching Jump Time six years ago. The 12,000-square-foot Boise Jump Time takes up part of a warehouse building between 10th and 11th streets downtown. Babcock will close the leased Meridian Jump Time and replace it with the new facility.

Jump Time will build a new Meridian facility on Franklin Road. Photo courtesy of Jump Time.
Jump Time will build a new Meridian facility on Franklin Road. Photo courtesy of Jump Time.

Babcock plans to break ground in October, with the $3 million new Jump Time expected to be ready for big jumps in September 2017. ALC Architecture designed the building and Wright Brothers, The Building Company is the general contractor.

The new Jump Time will also be the first with a ninja obstacle course. Babcock is also expanding the junior jumping area to 8,000 square feet.

Babcock a former gymnast and ski aerialist, said he is a trampoline pioneer, opening  the 25th documented facility in the world. The International Association of Trampoline Parks, founded in 2012, now has more than 600 members.


Pawn 1 expands to Ammon

Pawn 1 opened its sixth Treasure Valley store in Meridian on July 11. Photo courtesy of Pawn 1.
Pawn 1 opened its sixth Treasure Valley store in Meridian on July 11. Photo courtesy of Pawn 1.

The march across Idaho continues for Spokane-based Pawn 1, which plans to open its 13th Idaho store in October in Ammon.

The venture into eastern Idaho will give Pawn 1 a presence in all of Idaho’s larger population centers. The Ammon store will be on 17th Street, three blocks east of the Grand Teton Mall.

The Idaho Falls area store works strategically for Pawn 1 owner Mark Lax  because the same manager can oversee the Pawn 1 stores in Twin Falls and Pocatello, which opened in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Pawn 1 also has two stores in Boise and others in Nampa, Caldwell, Garden City, Lewiston, Post Falls, Hayden Lake and Coeur d’Alene. A sixth Pawn 1 store in the Treasure Valley opened July 11 at Ustick and Ten Mile roads in Meridian. Lax anticipates a seventh Boise area store in the Broadway/Vista Avenue area.

Lax has five stores in Spokane but is in the process of opening his first new Spokane store in 20 years. He has a single Pawn 1 in Bremerton, in western Washington,  but anticipates having as many as 20 stores in the Seattle area in the next 10 years.

Lax launched Pawn 1 in 1994 with his first Idaho store in Lewiston in 2004. He entered the Treasure Valley with a Caldwell store in 2006.