Mayor: Nampa is a ‘community of potential’

photo of debbie kling
Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling didn’t drop any bombshells at her State of the City address. Photo by Sharon Fisher.

Amid a skirl of bagpipes, Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling, now in her second year in office, said, “I am happy to report that the state of the city is strong and moving forward in the right direction.”

The annual speech didn’t feature any bombshells, such as the hoped-for announcement of an Amazon distribution center, which Kling referred to by the code name Project Bronco. The project is slated to be a $180 million investment that will bring 2,000 new, full-time jobs to Nampa, she said. Recently, an unspecified delay was announced, so the timing is unclear.

On the infrastructure side, Nampa is working on an airport management plan, and is considering forming an auditorium district, like Boise’s, Kling said. The city projects a 10 percent increase in building permits this year, and recently sharply increased impact fees.

“Growth needs to fund growth,” Kling said.

The city received $12 million in grants for public works projects over the next five years, and has $20 million in projects underway, Kling said.

Unlike Ada County cities such as Boise and Meridian, Nampa manages its own 800 miles of roads, making it “Idaho’s largest full-service city,” Kling said.

By population, the city is now third in size in the state, having been recently leapfrogged by Meridian.

Like many other Treasure Valley cities, Nampa is updating its comprehensive plan. With the population in the region projected to double by 2040, residents are concerned about retaining the character of the community, Kling said.

Kling also promoted several Nampa companies, including The Pacific Companies, which produces modular housing using robotics and automation. The company employs 360 people and is developing a 410,000-square-foot building to construct 2,000 housing units a year, Kling said.

Other companies spotlighted included U.S. Night Vision, a laser scope manufacturer that is moving to Nampa from Roseville, California; House of Design, a robotics integration company; and Cordova Outdoors, a cooler manufacturer.

In addition to the mysterious Project Bronco, Nampa is home to “Project Widget” — recently revealed as NxEdge, which currently manufactures semiconductor machinery in Boise — and the still unannounced “Project Vault,” Kling said.

That said, four out of five of the companies in Nampa are small businesses with 20 or fewer employees, Kling said. “We want to maintain our existing businesses,” she added.

The city is also working on its downtown after a major street rebuild this past year, which was tough on a lot of businesses.

“Downtown redevelopment is imperative,” Kling said, noting that the Nampa Downtown Association now has all its positions filled. The city is working on a new strategic plan for the downtown, using the Main Street model, she said.

Several downtown projects are underway, with three recently opened restaurants, the redevelopment of the former library into offices and development of a “town plaza” in a half block that used to hold a fast-food restaurant, Kling said.

“Nampa is a ‘community of potential,’” Kling said.

Caldwell, a smaller neighboring city with some similar features, has brought a burst of redevelopment efforts since the construction of Indian Creek Plaza, Kling said.

Nampa is also working on two affordable housing projects, Mercy Creek and Colorado Gardens. Colorado Gardens, a $6 million project that recently opened, consists of 50 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with rent starting at $650. Mercy Creek, still under construction, is a $9 million project located on the site of the former Mercy Hospital.

The city is also working with the Boise Rescue Mission to develop a “recovery lodge” to help people in transition.

Nampa will expand city hall into First Interstate Bank building

Nampa is leasing, then buying the First Interstate Bank building. Photo courtesy of city of Nampa.

The city of Nampa will move several city departments into the First Interstate Bank building at 500 12th Ave. S. as Idaho’s third largest city will now have two principal municipal offices.

The Nampa City Council entered into an agreement Oct. 2 with First Interstate to first lease 8,000 square feet in the historic Home Federal Bank building, and ultimately close June 30 on the $2.5 million purchase of the entire 34,500 square feet.

The city engineering and geographic information system (GIS) departments will be the first to move into the bank space, likely in October. The building department, planning and zoning, public works, economic development and code compliance eventually are expected to relocate into the bank, Bowman said.

“We are spread out,” city spokeswoman Amy Bowman said. “We are looking to consolidate departments. The building inspector is in the basement of the Family Justice Center. Code Compliance is in Fire Station 4.”

Economic development has a street-front office downtown.

First Interstate will remain in the building for now, Bowman said.

Home Federal Bank occupied the building from 1920 to 2014 until it was acquired by Bank of the Cascades, which itself was acquired in 2017 by First Interstate Bank.

RE/MAX Executives builds office in Nampa

The future RE/MAX Executives office in Nampa is still under construction. Photo courtesy of Yuri Blanco.

The Treasure Valley’s largest RE/MAX franchise is transitioning from leasing office space in Nampa to owning a newly built office on Idaho Center Boulevard.

RE/MAX Executives, based in Eagle, expects to move into the new, $1.1 million, 4,500-square-foot office in mid-October. Construction on the land across from Idaho Center started in May, franchise owner Yuri Blanco said.

RE/MAX had leased 3,500 square feet around the corner on Franklin Road since about 2000.

“We are in real estate; we might as well own,” Blanco said.

RE/MAX Executives, with 43 agents in offices in Eagle and Nampa, is the second largest RE/MAX franchise in Idaho behind RE/MAX Country Real Estate in Pocatello with 46 agents.

Blanco established RE/MAX Executives in 2012 in Eagle and acquired the RE/MAX office in Nampa in 2013, at which time it had about five agents. The Nampa office has since grown to 23 agents, Blanco said.

“Thousands of cars pass by (the Idaho Center Boulevard location) every day,” Blanco said about the move. “We are close to the interstate. We can serve the whole community.”

Blanco acknowledged that many real estate agents now work remotely, but quite a number still like to get out of the house and come to work. The new RE/MAX office will have a large conference room and “cafe-style” lounge with printer and other equipment agents in the field can use, Blanco said.

Blanco joined RE/MAX advantage in 2004, bought out the franchise in 2012 and rebranded it as RE/MAX Executives, which does residential and commercial real estate.

“My belief is Canyon County is doing great,” Blanco said. “There is a lot of business looking to Canyon County.”

RE/MAX has 17 offices in Idaho, including RE/MAX Executives in Eagle and Nampa, RE/MAX Capital City in Boise, RE/MAX Advisors in Meridian and RE/MAX Elite Properties in Boise. Other offices are located in Pocatello, Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, Ketchum, McCall, Lewiston, Sandpoint, Montpelier and Moscow.

Nampa Town Square will emerge from Old Brethren Church renovation

The former Church of the Brethren building (left) and former Nampa Chamber of Commerce building (right) will become part of a new Nampa Town Square redevelopment. Photo courtesy of Mike Mussell.

Mike Mussell is about to get going on his next downtown Nampa historic renovation project with the Church of the Brethren structure and former Nampa Chamber of Commerce building on the same half block on 11th Avenue South.

The $640,000 sale to Mussel closes Sept. 18 on the Nampa Development Corp. property that was originally pegged as the site for the new main library.

Mussell, owner of Mussell Construction, expects to start work Oct. 1 on a $3-million creation that he’s calling Nampa Town Square.

Mussell intends to keep five of the six buildings on the block, including the 1930s church, and freshen up the other building facades in a French village style. He will lay small pathways between the buildings on the property to create a more pedestrian-friendly setting.

In addition, the Nampa Town Square plan includes a new structure with drive-thru for Taco Time, which has been at its current location on the same block for 50 years. Mussell will renovate the current Taco Time for another restaurant user.

One corner of Nampa Town Square will feature a “Welcome to Nampa” sign supplied by the city of Nampa and possibly a fountain.

“It is the first (stop) light you come to to go left into downtown,” said Mussell.

Mussell is also the developer behind the major renovations of the 1922 Masonic Lodge building that he acquired in 2007, where Brick 29 Bistro is, and the 1919 Nampa Library building, which is the new home of the Nampa Chamber of Commerce.

Nampa Town Square is at the same intersection as the new library and its public garage, where Mussell will encourage Nampa Town Square visitors to park.

Mayor Debbie Kling, before taking office, was the CEO of the Nampa Chamber of Commerce and had her office in the building that Mussell is renovating.

“Mike Mussell is so creative, and he has an amazing vision for how to maintain and restore historic integrity,” Kling said. “The work he did with the old library building is absolutely beautiful. We are very fortunate to have Mike Mussell in our community.”

Mussel does not have tenants nailed down for the church or chamber buildings yet.

“I’m just feeling it out,” he said.

Three options are in play for the church: another church, a performance arts center or a brewery/pizza establishment. The chamber building and neighboring building could have a bicycle shop, candy store or floral shop.

Mussell owns five-eighths of the block bounded by 11th and 10th avenues and Third and Fourth streets, and the Cornerstone Worship Center owns the other three-eighths and is also doing façade renovations. Mussell sees the entire block as Nampa Town Square.

“We try to save a few historic buildings,” he said.

The Old Brethren Church is the third downtown Nampa historic restoration within a block or two of each other for Mussell.

Mussell was awarded the old library building for $1 in 2015 from the Nampa Development Corp., the city’s redevelopment agency, and finished $2.5 million in renovations in October 2017. The building is now 95 percent occupied by the chamber, Chatterbox Pediatric Therapy Center, One11 Press, Edward Jones and the Dickerson Land Group.

For Mussell, renovating the Old Brethren Church building comes full circle for him and his wife, Patty.

“I got married in that building 30 years ago,” he said.

I-84 will be widened between Franklin Boulevard and Karcher Road in Nampa

A third lane in each direction will be added to Interstate 84 in Nampa. Photo courtesy of Idaho Transportation Department.

Construction to widen Interstate 84 in Nampa to three lanes between Franklin Boulevard and Karcher Road should start sometime in October after an Aug. 29 confirmation of a $90.2 million federal grant.

This $150 million projects widens another 2.8 miles in a 10-year campaign that has widened 18.7 miles of I-84 between Gowen Road in eastern Boise and Franklin Boulevard.

Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS) rates widening the Franklin-Karcher stretch as the region’s No. 1 transportation priority.

The existing two-lane configuration in each direction will actually have four lanes. Idaho Transportation Department is also adding an auxiliary lane that starts at Franklin/Karcher and ends at Karcher/Franklin to enable drivers to go from interchange to interchange without having to merge into the main travel lane, ITD spokesman Jake Melder said.

ITD competed for the $90.2 million grant from the $1.5 billion Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) program established by President Donald Trump.

Completion is estimated for 2012, Melder said.

The project also includes building a new Karcher Road overpass, which will require an eight-to-10-month closure of that crossing.

Temporary lanes will be paved on existing shoulders to maintain two lanes in each direction during peak hours. These temporary lanes will be the first phase of work starting in the October timeframe, Melder said, with lane work starting in summer 2019.

The new lanes will be added in the center median in two phases. The first phase will address both directions between Franklin and Northside Boulevard.

COMPASS, ITD, the city of Caldwell and Canyon County each added $125,000 in matching funds with state funding cover the remaining costs from Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation, the general fund surplus, and a portion of the cigarette tax dedicated to transportation, according to an ITD news release.

Developer still quiet on rumored Amazon warehouse

The 853,000-square-foot warehouse Panattoni Development proposes for Nampa. Image courtesy of city of Nampa.

A Newport Beach, California developer remains mum on whether Amazon is the intended tenant of a proposed 857,397-square-foot warehouse in Nampa.

Panattoni Development Co. received a conditional-use permit in June to build a two-story structure for a “possible warehouse, distribution and wholesale use“ on 62 acres at Franklin and Star roads, just east of the Ford Idaho Center and southwest of Sorrento Lactalis.

Panattoni  and Nampa city officials routinely refer to the proposal as Project Bronco but Panattoni makes a single mention of PREDEV – Amazon BTS on the receipt for the conditional use permit filing. Panattoni has built several Amazon facilities, many in Europe.

“I can’t comment on that at all,” said Brent Collins, senior development manager at Panattoni’s Sacramento office. “We have a non-disclosure agreement with our client.”

An Amazon spokeswoman also declined to comment on the company’s plans.

Amazon has more than 100 distribution or fulfillment centers in 30 states. The closest to Idaho is in the Seattle metro, where Amazon is based. A couple  ofAmazon centers are in the works in the Portland area, and one is planned for Salt Lake City. Amazon on July 20 announced a 600,000-square-foot-plus fulfillment center for Spokane, Washington.

Amazon apparently has no fulfillment centers in the northern tier of states between the coast and Minnesota.

Paperwork for Project Bronco in Nampa is not final.  A construction start date hasn’t been determined, with government approvals still pending and “our client’s ever changing needs,” Collins said.

“We would like to start this fall and be done in 12 months,” he said.

The architect is Ware Malcomb of Irvine, California and the general contractor is Clayco of Chicago.


Affordable apartment projects are few and far between

photo of kuna multifamily affordable housing
Construction is underway on a single affordable multifamily housing project in Kuna. Photo by Sharon Fisher.

With Idaho simultaneously the nation’s fastest-growing state, but stuck at No. 36 for housing affordability, there is an increasing need for affordable multifamily housing, particularly in the fast-growing Treasure Valley and resort communities such as McCall.

“Affordable multifamily housing” means something different in each city. (See box.) Boise, though Treasure Valley’s largest and arguably most expensive city, has one advantage. It owns and operates its own rental housing portfolio of more than 300 units in 48 locations, said AnaMarie Guiles, housing & community development manager. It tends to serve households earning 50 percent or less of the median income, currently $64,300, she said.

Owning land or bringing money to the table also gives Boise more leverage with developers, Guiles said. “Boise was a partner, so we were able to say to the developer, ‘We will be a partner, but some of it has to be subsidized,’” she said. Funding for affordable housing is always an issue. (See box.)

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Jenah Thornborrow

With improvements in the economy, Garden City  – home to several trailer parks, some of which have been displaced by new construction  – hasn’t had an affordable multifamily project since Trailwinds in 2015, said Jenah Thornborrow, director of development services. “Garden City has traditionally had a larger share, proportionally, of affordable housing stock within the Treasure Valley,” she said. “I would suspect that that is still fairly constant, but it’s not meeting everyone’s needs.”

Similarly, while Nampa has eight multifamily housing projects underway, only two – intended for senior citizens – are technically “affordable,” said Karla Nelson, community planner.

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Michelle Groenevelt

Housing projects in McCall tend to be created for workforce. Eighty-two percent of McCall employees live outside the city and commute, because only 27 percent of housing units in McCall are owner-occupied, with 73 percent vacant due to second homes and vacation rentals, said Michelle Groenevelt, community and economic development director.

“The city lacks at least 700 units for the local workforce based on current household incomes,” she said. “There are even more units needed when commuters are considered.” The last housing development with an income qualification, the 72-unit The Springs, was built in 2016, she said.

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Andrew Mentzer

“A never-ending question in mountain communities is how you provide affordable workforce housing,” said Andrew Mentzer, executive director of the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council.

Mentzer is collaborating with partners to pull together resources in this area – starting with landowners who might have a tract of land they’d be willing to develop but don’t know how, he said. This would be for deed-restricted housing – in other words, some legal instrument requiring occupants who live and work in the area. The type of help available could include aid to someone needing help finishing a studio above the garage for an accessory dwelling unit, all the way to multiple-acre, multiple-unit developments, he said.

“The challenge is a lot of the silos that exist in the development space scare people off,” Mentzer said. “Whether you’re a seasoned or a ‘shade tree’ developer, there are places in the process where you get dissuaded from doing a project.”

Idaho’s more expensive areas include the city of Boise, Blaine, Teton, and Gem counties and Coeur d’Alene. The largest gaps between the housing wage and average renter wage exist in smaller communities such as Bear Lake, Boise, Fremont, Latah, Lemhi, Valley, and Washington counties, according to a report from the Idaho Asset Building Network. The school district in Blaine County is now considering a proposal to build housing geared to teachers.

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The Vineyard at Sycamore Place, a Caldwell affordable housing project scheduled to open in July. Photo courtesy of New Beginnings Housing.

Several cities are changing zoning codes to encourage multifamily affordable housing. Caldwell amended its codes in 2005 to allow for mixed-use development with commercial on the ground floor and residential above, particularly downtown, said Brian Billingsley, planning & zoning director for Caldwell. His challenge at this point is setting up a quiet zone to keep the hourly trains from blowing their horns. “It’s taking forever to get that accomplished,” he said. “Developers are hesitant to build a project downtown until that’s a reality.”

In Melba, where the Canyon County city changed its zoning in 2016 to allow for housing in its commercial area, developers have been looking downtown for possible multifamily projects, said Noni Stapleton, city clerk/treasurer. She doesn’t know if any are considering affordable housing.

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Adare Manor, an affordable multifamily housing project planned for Boise. Rendering courtesy of city of Boise.

Other cities are looking at incentives to encourage developers to construct affordable multifamily housing.

“We don’t have a lot of tools to deal specifically with affordability, but we have tools to build higher-density housing,” said Hal Simmons, Boise’s planning director. The city is considering adding density bonuses for affordable housing in the future, but density runs into community opposition. “We have some pretty heated public hearings about density,” he said, though he pointed out, “There’s nobody who hasn’t lived in an apartment project sometime and needed housing on the affordable side.”

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Caleb Hood

Meridian is looking at incentives for more dense, infill projects to provide affordable workforce housing, said Caleb Hood, planning division manager. But there are no specific affordable housing projects underway, he said.

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Wendy Howell. Photo by Sharon Fisher.

And some cities, such as Kuna and Caldwell, are just getting off the ground with multifamily housing. “We didn’t issue a single multifamily dwelling unit permit from 2008 until 2016,” said Troy Behunin, senior planner.  While the city now has several multifamily projects underway, only one is affordable, a five-building, 10-unit project. Two existing projects – White Barn, and Leisure Village, intended for senior citizens – are affordable, said Wendy Howell, planning and zoning director.

“Our busiest year for permits was 2006,” when Caldwell had 1,100, Billingsley said. “Every single one was for a single-family dwelling.”

When is “affordable” not “affordable?”

Part of the problem with talking about “affordable housing” is defining “affordable.”

Certainly, due to land prices and demographic factors, an apartment in Kuna or Melba or Middleton might cost less than a similar apartment in downtown Boise. “Even if apartments are the same money per month, they don’t have to worry about maintenance, upkeep, insurance, and, and, and,” said Troy Behunin, senior planner for Kuna.

“Market-rate rents in Nampa have tended to be more affordable than in many of our neighboring communities,” said Karla Nelson, community planner.

But that doesn’t technically make it “affordable housing.”

Affordable housing is defined by the federal government as housing geared toward people earning 80 percent of less of median income, as defined each year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said AnaMarie Guiles, housing & community development manager for Boise. “For us, a median income is $64,300 for a four-person household,” meaning $51,440 as the threshold for subsidies by the federal government or a municipality.

But due to stigma around the term “affordable housing,” over the past couple of years cities have started using the term “housing affordability” for all demographics, Guiles said. And that can cause confusion.

“We don’t have anything actually called ‘affordable housing,’” said Noni Stapleton, city clerk/treasurer for Melba, in Canyon County. “We’re really small, with only a population of 500. The city limits are very small – 6 blocks wide and 12 blocks long.” The city has two triplexes downtown, built in the late 1990s, that aren’t deemed affordable housing, most rented by dairy farmers for their workers.  There are also eight Section 8 units run by Southwestern Idaho Cooperative Housing Authority that date from 1995.

Similarly, Middleton has five apartment complexes “that are always full,” said Mayor Darin Taylor. The city has approved 12 fourplexes, six of which are under construction to open in 2018, but none built with government subsidies,

“We need to break down what we mean by ‘affordable housing,’” said Wyatt Schroeder, executive director of Catch Inc., with offices in Boise and Nampa. “Workforce housing for our firefighters and teachers? Senior developments so people can age in place where it’s safe?” Disabled people who need services also deserve housing, he said. “Too often, we talk very broadly, without defining what those mean and what they look like.”

Alejandra Cerna Rios, policy analyst at the Idaho Asset Building Network, said that in seven of eight metropolitan areas in Idaho and in 36 of its 44 counties, the ‘housing wage’ – or the hourly wage needed to spend no more than 30 percent of household income on rent and utilities on a two-bedroom unit at fair market rent- exceeds typical renter earnings.

In Idaho, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $803 per month, Cerna Rios said. To cover rent and utilities for a two-bedroom rental without spending more than 30 percent of income on housing costs, an Idaho household must earn $32,122 annually, or $15.44 per hour, she said.  On average, Idaho renters earn $12.19 per hour, she said. Occupations that earn less than the wage needed to pay for housing include ambulance drivers, bank tellers, child care workers, servers, home health aides, preschool teachers, nursing assistants, customer service representatives, and bus drivers.


No local funding tools for affordable multifamily housing

Compared with other states, Idaho lacks tools to develop affordable multifamily housing, said AnaMarie Guiles, housing and community development manager for Boise.

For example, the Federal Housing Trust Fund was created by Congress in 2008 to support the development and operations of housing for households earning up to 30 percent of the Area Median Income. However, those trust funds are funded by the individual states. Idaho is one of three states, along with Alabama and Rhode Island, that has not yet appropriated any money for the fund, let alone identified a continuing revenue source, according to the Center for Community Change’s Housing Trust Fund project.

Similarly, while some cities had enacted affordable housing ordinances that charged developers fees to help fund affordable housing, lawsuits in McCall and Sun Valley in 2008 ruled them an illegal tax. A similar ordinance in Ketchum is in litigation.

As one of Idaho’s resort cities with a population under 10,000, McCall has the advantage of local option taxing authority. Voters recently passed a local option tax that includes local housing as an eligible option for funding, said Michelle Groenevelt, community and economic development director.

Affordable projects in the Treasure Valley

New Path Community Housing
Address: 2200 W. Fairview Avenue
41 Units (including one manager unit)
Developer: Thomas Development Co., The Pacific Companies, and Northwest Integrity Housing Co. (NIHC)
Architect: Erstad Architects
Cost: $7.5 million

Adare Manor
Address: 2403-2419 W. Fairview Avenue
134 Units (including one manager unit)
Mix of incomes and bedroom-types (121 affordable units)
Developer: Thomas Development Co. and Northwest Integrity Housing (NIHC)
Architect: Erstad Architects
Cost: $28.5 million

Vineyard at Eagle Promenade
Address: 10482 W. Utahna Road
30 Units (including one manager unit)
Affordable Senior (55+)
Developer: New Beginnings Housing, LLC
Architect: The Architects Office
Cost: $5.9 million

Vineyard at Sycamore Place
Address: 817 Fillmore Street
Senior community of 35,000 square feet, including community areas, with one-bedroom and two-bedroom units from $340-$775 monthly, to be available July 1
Developer: New Beginnings Housing
Architect: Mark Sanders, The Architects Office
Builder: Wright Brothers The Building Co., Eagle
Cost: $6.5 million

rendering of linder duplexes
Linder Duplexes. Rendering courtesy of Idaho Housing and Finance Association.

Linder Duplexes
Address: 20-35 W. Flyline Lane
10 units
Developer: The Housing Company
Architect: The Architects Office
Cost: Unavailable.

rendering of mercy creek
Mercy Creek. Rendering courtesy of Chance Hobbs.

Vineyard Suites on the Boulevard
Address: 888 W. Corporate
50 units restricted to senior households. Available by summer 2019.
Developer: Wright Brothers The Building Company
Architect: Mark Sanders with The Architects Office
Cost: $10 million

Mercy Creek
Address: 1615 8th
All rents at or below 55 percent of area median income. Start construction early July 2018, first units coming online July of 2019.
Builder: CSDI Construction, Inc
Architect: Hutchinson Smith Architects
Cost: Declined to state

Nampa’s Integrated Biological Systems buys its Texas supplier

A Nampa distributor of fertilizer alternatives and soil enhancement products has acquired the primary manufacturer of its bio-stimulant products in Texas.

Integrated Biological Systems in 1986 in Nampa acquired BioPlus Manufacturing (pictured) in Texas. Photo courtesy of Integrated Biological Systems.

Family-owned Integrated Biological Systems, founded in 1986 in Nampa, bought BioPlus Manufacturing in Hawkins, Texas, east of Dallas, for $409,000, said Angela Miller, who owns IBS with her husband Marvin and son Aaron.

BioPlus supplies about 90 percent of IBS’s merchandise and IBS was the primary customer for BioPlus, but expanding into manufacturing was more a necessity than part of the Miller family’s game plan. BioPlus was for sale.

“Somebody else could buy it and not supply us,” Angela Miller said. “This way we could maintain our sustainability. For us it was just a natural transition. Now that we are vested in it, we have flexibility and authority to go into other areas and develop other products.”

Integrated Biological Systems distributes to more than 200 farm customers, primarily in Idaho and Oregon and also  Nevada, Utah, Washington and Colorado. The BioPlus acquisition could lead to broader distribution to other states, she said.

“We’ll go wherever we want,” Miller said. “We’re open to anything and everything.”

She said they may go to more agricultural shows in the off-season to broaden the customer and geographic base.

The three Millers and one other person run IBS, while three people work at BioPlus, she said.

The purchase was financed by a loan from Missoula-based MoFi, formerly Mountain & Idaho Community Development Corp., which specializes in loans to viable businesses unable to get traditional bank loans. In the Millers’ case, a tradition bank could not issue a loan fast enough.

“MoFi is a good bridge if you need to have something fast,” Miller said.

Idaho may get $90 million to widen I-84 in Nampa

A $90.24 million federal grant may come Idaho’s way to fund a large share of widening Interstate 84 in Nampa.

The Idaho Transportation Department and Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho were notified that the region was in line for the federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant to widen a 2.8 section of I-4 between the Karcher Interchange and Franklin Boulevard in Nampa.

COMPASS rates this section of highway as the region’s No. 1 transportation priority. ITD and COMPASS jointly applied for the gant.

The $90 million grant would offset about 60 percent of the projected $150 million project. No timeline is in place on when construction would start, as $60 million still needs to be raised and the grant still requires congressional approval, ITD spokesman Reid Hollinshead said.

“It’s not money in the bank,” Hollinshead said. “There is a 60-day review period in Congress before the award can be made… There is no set-aside or earmarked funding at this point in time (for the other $60 million).”

Canyon County and the city of Caldwell have each committed $125,000 in local matching funds. Caldwell isn’t even in the widening zone.

“I-84 carries over $80 billion of freight annually,” Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas said in a news release. “The impact of the project will extend well beyond construction zone to the rest of southwest Idaho and the state.”

“The importance of this project cannot be understated,” Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling said in a release.

ITD calculates nearly 100,000 vehicle trips per day on this Nampa stretch of I-84 with commercial trucks playing a large factor.

The project would widen I-84 to three lanes in each direction, add auxiliary lanes, and replace a number of bridges and an interchange.

Downtown roadwork multiplies in Nampa

Idaho Transportation Department will reconstruct all four sides of Library Square in downtown Nampa. Image courtesy of Idaho Transportation Department.

Traffic headaches will multiply in downtown Nampa as the Idaho Department of Transportation repaves or reconstructs several main arteries, including all four sides of Library Square.

This will add to the street reconstruction already underway by the city of Nampa for Second and Third streets east of Library Square from 12th to 16th streets that will continue through late summer.

ITD will repave Second and Third Streets from Library Square west to Northside Boulevard and also repave 11th Avenue from Third Street South to Garrity Boulevard and Garrity Boulevard from 11th Avenue to Grant Street, according to an ITD release.

The $4.75 million project will reconstruct all four streets around Library Square, an additional block of 11th Avenue between First and Second avenues South and the intersection of Northside and Second. This entails removing all layers of existing pavement.

The downtown Nampa streets that will be repaved (yellow) or reconstructed (green). Image courtesy of Idaho Transportation Department.

Sidewalk ramps will be replaced throughout the project with new ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The work will start in early June with expected completion in late summer.

ITD will work primarily between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. with varying lane restrictions during the night or day. ITD will maintain access to businesses along the roadways, the release said.

These streets serve as the Interstate 84 business loop in Nampa and fall under the jurisdiction of the Idaho Transportation Department.


Police and paramedics will get dedicated space at Saint Alphonsus in Nampa

St. Alphonsus Health System will build a warehouse including space for paramedics and a police station between its Nampa Hospital and the Holiday Inn Express. Photo courtesy of Saint Alphonsus Health System.

St. Alphonsus Health System is building a 19,000-square-foot structure in Nampa that will include stations for Nampa police and Canyon County paramedics.

Saint Alphonsus is setting aside about 1,100 square feet for Canyon County Paramedics Station 46 and about 600 square feet for a work station for the Nampa Police Department at its year-old Nampa medical center on Garrity Boulevard.

“It is not a police sub station, just a workstation,” Saint Alphonsus spokesman Mark Snider said. “There will be no public access.”

The structure will offer kitchen and sleeping quarters for paramedic crews. The paramedics will start with a 12-hour shift at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Nampa I-84/Garrity, and might eventually staff the facility full-time, according to a Saint Alphonsus news release.

The Nampa Police Department and Canyon County Ambulance District will not be charged rent, the release noted.

Construction on the nearly $1 million project started at the end of May with completion expected in fall. LCA Architects of Boise is the architect and Kreizenbeck Constructors of Boise is the general contractor.


Orchard Lofts in Nampa readies 36 apartments for August opening

Orchard Lofts in Nampa will have direct access via pedestrian bridge to Lions Park. Photo by Teya Vitu.

Orchard Lofts, one of the few three-story apartment complexes in Nampa, is expected to open in August with pre-leasing starting in the second half of June, owner Dean Anderson said.

Anderson three years ago bought the 1.7-acre Orchard Avenue property just off Caldwell Boulevard and he has been working it ever since, first demolishing an existing house, then cleaning up the site, and ultimately building the 36-unit, two-structure complex.

“We bought the land to flip the house and it flipped into 36 apartments instead,” said Anderson, citing the sudden spurt in Treasure Valley apartment construction in the past couple years. “We were real fortunate, real lucky.”

Anderson built a pedestrian bridge across the adjacent Phyllis Canal to give residents direct access to Lions Park on the other side.

Orchard Lofts will have 18 one-bedroom units, 12 two-bed with one bath units and six two-bed with two-bath units. Rents will range from $950 to $1,200 per month, Anderson said.

The architect is JGT Architects of Nampa and the general contractor is Perryman Construction Management of Boise.

“I’ve been building apartments for 17 years,” owner Kelly Perryman said. “This is the craziest I have ever seen it.”