Boise E/SE

Scandinavian Designs plans furniture store in old OfficeMax

The former OfficeMax building on Broadway Ave. near Linden St. is about to get new life.

Scandinavian Designs currently has a small preview store open in the building - but is working to remodel the rest of the building for a full furniture store in the 31,000 square foot space. Crews will update both the inside and outside of the building, according to filings with the City of Boise.

OfficeMax closed the store after its merger with Office Depot, and pointed customers to a store on Broad St. in Downtown Boise.

Scandinavian Designs is part of a chain with locations across the Western United States. It features a broad range of furniture and home decor with a Scandinavian influence. The company also operates the Dania Furniture stores found in Oregon and Washington.

The Boise preview center is open Wednesday through Sunday - and the full store is set to open this fall.

Toast Bistro and retail face fight over parking in Bown Crossing

Last year, Toast Bistro announced it would be open in Bown Crossing by August, 2018.

With just less than a month to go, the lot at the corner of ParkCenter Blvd. and Bown Way is still vacant.

From an extensive review of public filings, it appears the delay hangs on parking.

Public filings show renderings of proposed Bown Crussing restaurant and retail space

Public filings show renderings of proposed Bown Crussing restaurant and retail space

The project would include a building along the corner with room for a 13-space parking lot behind. The building would total 6,903 square feet with space for a restaurant and retail.

Slichter-Urgin Architecture and site owner Boyd Yee are back with an updated attempt on the site, after revamping the overall look and layout of the project. But they still face a battle with neighbors over parking.

As part of the initial application, Boise's planning staff recommended one of three moves: Increase the number of parking spaces to 24, shrink the building by about 45% in size, or apply for a parking reduction conditional use permit.

Updated site plan

Updated site plan

Staff also recommended a change in the look and feel of the building - suggesting that the original idea of using corrugated metal and IPE wood wasn't compatible with the rest of Bown Crossing - asking developers to make it fit in by using stucco and ledgestone seen in other nearby buildings.

The developers tweaked the plan - changing the design to conform with the stucco and stones aesthetic, but increased parking by just a single space - from 13 to 14. They are now asking for that permit to allow for the decreased number of spaces.

But neighbors are still unhappy with the tweaked concept, particularly when it comes to the parking situation.


Saint Alphonsus Health System, which operates a clinic right next door, was one of those neighbors.

"Bown Crossing does not have enough on-street parking to justify the requested 24-space parking reduction," SAHS attorney Deborah E. Nelson wrote in opposition to the request. Her letter lists several reasons why the application should be denied, including say a parking study conducted by the applicant was "not conducted to meet industry standards."

The study looked at the total number of parking spaces across the Bown Crossing development for two days in late January in early February. The study, commissioned by project developer XX, looked at the number of empty spaces on a Wednesday and a Friday from 11am to noon, and 4pm-5pm. The study found an average of 46.6 empty stalls in the area during the four individual hours inspected.

Nearby resident Robert Lomas knocked the way the study was designed.

He noted the developer had mentioned the Toast breakfast bistro as a tenant, and found the traffic study to be inconsistent with that concept.

"I’m surprised there was no early day time period studied, or a weekend time studied, as breakfast restaurants in Boise certainly are exceptionally busy on weekend mornings."

Lomas also said the 4-5pm timeslot was questionable. "The evening time period they studied was a laughable choice if I’m being frank here. Nobody would, with a straight face, suggest that the traffic in an extremely popular evening dining and entertainment area would be correctly represented by a study at 4-5pm. If I were trying to design a study to best come to a conclusion of 'there’s plenty of room', I would have designed it very similarly to what they presented here. "

The Southeast Boise Neighborhood Association also came out in opposition to the plan.

“It is overwhelmingly clear from correspondence received from Bown Crossing neighbors that parking has become a serious problem in the neighborhood, one which jeopardizes the prosperity of those businesses already located there," SENA board member Fred Fritchman wrote.

The conditional use permit application is currently scheduled to be heard during the City of Boise's Planning and Zoning commission on July 16th at Boise City Hall at 6:00pm. If it is granted the parking reduction, it would go before design review in September.

Tavern at Bown Crossing looks to move across river, asks for increased parking

Former Gordman's space to be an Albertsons. But not for shopping


Sure, you hope a Target will open in SE Boise some day.

But it won't be at the Southshore Shopping Center.

Nor will anywhere else to shop - for now.

Albertsons Companies will fill the remainder of the former Kmart at Apple and Parkcenter, according to filings with the City of Boise.  The company already occupies a portion of the space - and until last year, discount retailer Gordmans took the rest.

When Gordmans closed, Albertsons stepped in and took over the full space.

But it won't be open to the public. Instead, according to filings, it will be used for storage to support the retailer's so-called set store. A spokesperson previously told BoiseDev this is used for prototyping and other activities that support the company's stores across the country. The store was moved up from California after the acquisition of Safeway in 2015.


Tavern at Bown owners apply to build new restaurant across Boise River

 The owners of Tavern at Bown Crossing have applied to build a new restaurant across the river.

Tavern Properties submitted a conditional use permit application with the City of Boise that requests to build a new 6,285 square foot restaurant building at the corner of Barber Valley Drive and ParkCenter Blvd. in the Barber Station development.


After publication of this story, a representative for the owner responded.

 “My client has not purchased any property for a new location, and is just doing some due diligence,” attorney Dean Sorensen said.

In late 2016, Tavern at Bown Crossing was sued for eviction as BoiseDev was first to report.  That lawsuit was later resolved. The new location is about 1,500 feet from the current Bown location as the crow files.

The restaurant parcel fronts an offshoot of the Boise River Greenbelt and a pond as well as the Boise River itself.

The new restaurant would feature seating for 235 restaurant goers, and feature an outdoor patio and firepits.

The parcel is in Boise's SP-02 zoning overlay area - part of the Barber Valley Specific Plan.  That 117-page document is one of two master plans in Baber Valley, and outlines many different elements of what can be built by landowners.  One of those items is parking.

The SP-02 allows a maximum number of car parking spaces of 3.5 per 1,000 square feet of a building. That would grant the new Tavern restaurant a total of 22 spaces.  Owners are instead asking for 79 parking spaces.  

In a letter to neighbors of the site, Tavern Properties defends the expanded parking request.

"Our proposed parking is close to the regular city parking requirements of 1 parking space for every 3 seats for a restaurant."

They also say they "expect about 15% of the patrons to arrive on bicycles and alternative transportation." Space for 18 bicycles would be provided.

Header photo: Proposed site of Tavern Properties restaurant in Barber Valley.  

Developer plans lots of houses on small chunk of land

In an area known for lots of houses close together, a new development will up the density ante.

Boise Hunter Homes plans to construct 61 two- and three-story homes on a 6-acre piece of land in Barber Valley at the corner of Barnside Way and Wolf Tree Street.

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The development will have a density of more than ten homes per acre - with garages located off of alleys and an internal driveway system.

The houses will range in size from 1,624 square feet up to as much as a whopping 6,419 square feet on three stories.

Here's how the developer describes the project:

"The Wolf Tree Square project will contain two distinct housing types that will complement the existing and future areas of development. The two housing types that have been designed for this parcel are a three-store elevated home (E-Home) and a motorcourt home."

The project was approved by the Boise City Council in February and is set to proceed.

The Harris Family and LeNir Ltd. have planned commercial across the street from the development abutting ParkCenter Blvd.

More: City of Boise documents | Plat (PDF) | Applicant's letter

Freddy’s freezes Broadway store, another location for lease

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers has closed its location on Broadway Ave. in Boise after just less than two years in business. 

The restaurant, serving ice cream, burgers and the like in a retro environment, opened next to Sonic Drive In in May of 2016.

Another location, on Cleveland Blvd. in Caldwell, is also for lease.


The chain tells BoiseDev locations in Meridian and Eagle will remain open, but didn't immediately answer a question about the Nampa or Caldwell eateries.

A question about the reason for the closure went unanswered.

The Broadway  building was listed for lease last week by Colliers Commercial Real Estate, and the business officially closed Sunday.  

Albertson family foundation to fund new Boise bike park

This field will soon be home to a bike skills park. Photo courtesy City of Boise.

This field will soon be home to a bike skills park. Photo courtesy City of Boise.

A new bike skills park is headed for the area near Fort Boise Park.

The City of Boise and the JA & Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation will team up on the new recreation site, to be located between Fort Boise Park & Military Reserve. A news release from the city says the park will feature "tracks, rollers and other skills elements for mountain bikes of all ages and abilities to learn and improve their skills."  The final design is still being worked out, but a plan like the McLaren Bike Park in San Francisco is envisioned.

McLaren Bike Park in San Francisco, CA

McLaren Bike Park in San Francisco, CA

“We are thrilled that the JA and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation is making a bike skills park a reality in Boise,” Boise Parks & Rec Director Doug Holloway said in a prepared statement. “Interest in mountain biking and recreational opportunities throughout our Ridge to Rivers Trail System continues to grow and our team will work to integrate this project into the surrounding neighborhood and reserve.”

The Boise City Council approved the agreement Tuesday, but a construction start date has not yet been set.

A public meeting is set for April 4 at 5:30pm at the senior center at Fort Boise to answer questions about the park.

New senior living community planned for Barber Valley

Rendering via Aspen Valley Senior Living

Rendering via Aspen Valley Senior Living

A new senior living community is planned for Barber Valley.

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The 66-unit senior living apartment complex is set to be built on E. Warm Springs Ave. near old Eckert Rd, adjacent to an existing Idaho Power substation. 

Aspen Valley Senior Living would feature 48,386 feet of space with parking behind the building.

Features include a bistro, dining hall, salon, library, theater, activity room, outdoor kitchen and more.

The project already has quietly worked its way through the City of Boise's approval process and is awaiting a building permit for construction.


Crunch time: Fitness chain revamping old SE Boise gym


A decaying gym building in SE Boise is slated to again host barbells and treadmills as part of the expansion of a national chain in the Treasure Valley.

Crunch Fitness plans to open at the corner of Beacon St. and Division Ave. near ParkCenter Blvd. in coming months - after crews finish work on more than $400,000 worth of construction.

The old indoor swimming pool and spa will be filled in and covered, the exterior will be revamped, skylights will be taken out and a flurry of other cosmetic and structural changes.

A portion of the building's second floor will be removed, shrinking the overall square footage.

The building has hosted a number of gyms on and off over the years, including a 24 Hour Fitness location, Park Center Health and Racquet Club and others.

Crunch Fitness entered the market when a franchisee purchased seven existing Idaho Athletic Club locations last year.

Barber Valley school: here's where and when it will be built

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A long-promised new elementary school in the Barber Valley is still on the drawing board, but young residents of the area won't be attending classes there just yet.

The school was funded as part of a 2017 bond election passed by Boise School District voters. The school is estimated to cost nearly $14 million in tax dollars - and is the only brand new school funded by the bond.

Boise Schools Public Affairs Administrator Dan Hollar says right now the school is slated to be built as part of the bond's second phase - sometime between 2020 and 2023.

The school site is currently an open field south of Parkcenter Blvd. and north of Warm Springs Ave. Construction of roads in a future phase of the Harris Ranch development must first be completed - Barnside Way will be extended to the south and connect with a future Thornapple Dr. 

The school will be surrounded by a village square plaza and potential commercial development, according to a plan document from the school district. 

In all, the 2017 bond will fund projects at 22 sites around the district.

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Plan for new Barber Valley park moves forward

Rendering Courtesy City of Boise

Rendering Courtesy City of Boise

A second large park in Boise’s Barber Valley is beginning to take shape. 

The Boise Department of Parks and Recreation is set to hold a neighborhood meeting on January 17th for the 20 acre park along the Boise River near Eckert Rd.

The park plan currently calls for baseball fields, basketball courts, volleyball nets, "picnic pods," and parking.  

Boise could see new riverside park if the "ifs" can be worked out

It is envisioned as a more sports-oriented park than the nearby Marianne Williams Park which is dedicated primarily to open space and trails.

The newest park would be named for Alta Harris.

A neighborhood meeting is set for January 17th at 5:30pm at the Library at Bown Crossing.

This story came from the BoiseDev Facebook group - join the community!

Albertsons re-enters Boise gas station market with SE Boise store

After selling local gas and convenience stations to Stinker in 2011 - Albertsons-branded gas stations are beginning to return to the market.

The first from-the-ground up new Albertsons Express in the area is now open at ParkCenter Blvd. and Apple St. on the site of a former Pizza Hut. 

Old Pizza Hut to become Albertsons fuel center

The fuel center has a variety of modern features, including a walk-in beer cooler, digital soda fountain and more.  It also includes a drive-through around the back of the store where items can be purchased without leaving a vehicle.

The pumps are the first in the state to use EMV chips, according to Albertsons officials. 

Albertsons also acquired a gas station at its former Paul's Market location on Lake Hazel - and plans at least one more at a forthcoming store in Barber Valley.

Controversial housing project development changes gears

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Developers have changed their plan for 126 apartment homes on Warm Springs Ave. in Barber Valley.

BoiseDev was the first to report on the planed Barber Hills Vistas project in April. The project met resistance of neighbors in the nearby Dallas Harris Estates subdivision (disclosure: I own a home here). 

The new plan replaces the apartment complex idea with 47 homes with alley-loaded garages, similar to the neighboring Harris Ranch development. It would also include a 50 foot wildlife corridor along the west side of the property, as well as a "wetland enhancement area" that would be adjacent to an existing pond an nature trail area owned separately. 


Zeppole upgrades space, Boise Juice Co. slides in


After moving its bakery offsite earlier this year to make room for Orange Theory Fitness - Zeppole Baking Co. will move its Southeast Boise cafe from the Southshore Shopping Center early next year.

The cafe will go into a larger space next to Blue Cow Yogurt on Apple St. after a remodel is completed. The new 2,034 square foot cafe will be about a third larger than the current space on ParkCenter, and have capacity for 83 people after it undergoes a $75,000 remodel.

As we previously noted, Boise Juice Co. is planning a new store in SE Boise - and will occupy the Zeppole space once the move is complete.

Boise could see new riverside park if the "ifs" can be worked out

Sue Howell Park plan via City of Boise.

Sue Howell Park plan via City of Boise.

The City of Boise's Parks & Recreation Department is working to annex a parcel of land in East Boise near Highway 21, which could add another park along the river.

Nothing is a done deal just yet, according to Parks & Rec chief Doug Holloway.

A potential donor has stepped up and said it would like to give a skinny strip of land near the Boise Greenbelt to the City of Boise.

But the land isn't actually a part of the city yet - instead hanging out in unincorporated Ada County.

Cart, meet horse.

"The first thing that has to occur that it had be annexed before they could consider taking it," Holloway said.

Officials have to get the land and some other parcels connected to it officially incorporated to consider the donation request.

And to do an annexation, a neighborhood meeting has to be held - and citizens have to be informed on what exactly the point of the annexation is for.

"We can’t recommend annexation without a purpose," he said. "You have to have a public meeting.  That’s hows some folks are familiar with this."

To help illustrate what the park might look like - staffers drew up a concept for the tentatively named Sue Howell Park. It includes concepts like a children's nature trail, environmental discovery playground, splash pad, open play areas and more.

The request would add about 20 acres to the City of Boise - with roughly eight of those dedicated the possible future park.

If everything goes well, it could make for another riverfront park named for prominent local women (Ann Morrison, Julia Davis, Kathryn Albertson and the like). But there are a slew of ifs still, according to Holloway.

If Planning & Zoning approves the annexation, and if the donor decides to finalize the donation and if Boise City Council accepts it and if money is found to develop it... some day east Boiseans may have a new spot to hang out and stroll.

Stay tuned.

Boise Juice Co. coming to SE Boise

Boise Juice Co. is set to open its second location in Boise.

Last fall, the cold-pressed juice and smoothie outlet opened its first store on State St.

The second location will be located in the Southshore Shopping Center at ParkCenter Blvd. and Apple St., next to Albertsons.

On Facebook, the juice outlet said they hope to have the new store open by January. "We have a remodel ahead of us but will get the doors open as soon as we can!"

No permits have been filed just yet.

This story came in on the BoiseDev Facebook group - join in to see what's going up around town!

Old Pizza Hut to become Albertsons fuel center

Find a new alibi: Jim's Alibi closed for now

Jim's Alibi on Broadway is closed, according to a tipster - with dumpsters out back.

The long-time Boise bar on Broadway Ave. across from Shopko has been slinging drinks for decades.

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The tavern's Facebook page says they are undergoing a remodel.

According to City of Boise public records, no building permit had been filed - but a complaint about the work was filed on September 11th.  Three days later, owners filed for a plumbing permit to remodel bathrooms in the bar.

New senior living complex planned in Barber Valley

Boise's Barber Valley will get another senior living facility if a plan by Brighton Corp. is approved by the City of Boise.

The Veranda at Barber Valley would be built on E. Barber Valley Drive near Marianne Williams Park. The 72,000 square foot complex would be split into two parts according to filings, including an assisted living area and memory care facility.

"The building has been pushed towards E. Barber Valley Dr., as the owner wanted to bring in some feeling of Bown Crossing to the development," Chris Borders of Babbock Design wrote in the application. 

This will be the area's second Veranda Senior Living - after a location under construction in Meridian. It will also be the second senior facility in Barber Valley - including the nearby Terraces of Boise

The project will now go through Boise's design review process for approval.


Dance studio, retail under construction in Barber Valley

Boise's Barber Valley area is seeing a housing boom - but still has a relatively low amount of commercial retail space (save for Lucky 13, a gas station, the new Coffee Mill and a planned Albertsons complex). 

Many residents have been curious about a pair of buildings going up on Barber Valley Drive near Maryanne Williams Park.

One of the two structures will be home to Boise Dance Alliance and hopes to be open by August 1st. The dance school and studio is currently located on Apple St. near ParkCenter Blvd.

The other building is planned for multiple tenants, but no permits for just what might go into those spaces have yet been filed.   Developers describe potential uses for the 6,203 square foot building as "restaurant/office/retail." Construction has not yet started on the second structure.