Macy's to roll out "At Your Service" in Boise store

Macy's is retooling a portion of its last remaining Treasure Valley store to help ease online sales.

The company has applied to remodel a dressing room space on the lower level of its Boise Towne Square store for a large customer service area it is calling At Your Service.

“The At Your Service center consolidates guest experiences that lend towards fast and specific transactions," Jeremy Judd, VP Store Manager at Macy’s Boise Towne Square said.

Currently, behind plastic sheeting near the store's west entrance, a series of counters can be seen by shoppers.  Filings with the City of Boise show the retailer is adding a stock room and remodeling a total of 1900 square feet.

"The focus for the At Your Service center is servicing our customers by providing a separate line for fast, easy pick-up of their Buy Online, Pick-up in Store (purchases), providing expert associates to assist with the return and a quick location for payments on their Macy’s cards as well as Macy’s account inquiries," Judd said.

He noted that other registers will remain open, but this service center will allow "for the other purchasing counters and associates to focus on service and selling for our shoppers that would like more time and attention."

New Albertsons store gives McCall shoppers an upgrade

During the summer of 2017, visitors to the former Paul's Market might have felt like they were shopping in a construction zone. After being acquired by Albertsons Companies, a new store was built literally over the top of the old supermarket - and remained open for business nearly every day.

Related: Ridley's McCall gets total overhaul

Now complete, the new store features greatly expanded selection, as well as new bakery, produce, beer and fresh meat departments.  New fixtures and finishes are seen throughout the store.

The portion of the building that used to house a small amount of variety goods like clothing has been removed and replaced with an expanded two-story structure. New exterior architectural detailing matches the "log cabin" look of many buildings in the resort town.  

The store under construction last summer.

The store under construction last summer.

The expanded store feature a pharmacy for the first time, after Albertsons acquired McCall Drug and Blue Grouse Books on nearby 2nd Street. 

The store also has McCall's first Starbucks location (Shore Lodge serves a small selection of Starbucks products in its gift shop), as well as a second-floor mezzanine with outdoor seating.

"Boise Boys" showcases City of Trees to national audience with pricey home revamps

"I realized I've been saying Boise wrong"

As the PT dug into my shoulder, the conversation naturally went to the whole "boy-see, boy-zee" thing.

"Oh yeah," I asked?

"I watched that new HGTV show Boise Boys this weekend and realized it's boy-seeee."

Even on the Stanford campus, the City of Trees is getting noticed.  The limited run Fixer Upper-style show on HGTV is helping put the spotlight on the booming Boise area in yet another way.

The show premiered April 25th - and though ratings performance isn't known (none of the first four episodes this spring have ranked in the top 25 of all cable shows for the individuals days), it's a fair bet the program is exposing Boise to an audience in middle America that might not be as familiar.

In the first few episodes of the season, Clint Robertson and Luke Caldwell of the firm Timber+Love are seen scouting out homes in and around Boise in need of an upgrade. The concept is simple: the pair buy a house, make improvements (usually drastic) and work to resell the homes for a profit.

The show showcases the City of Trees as a cosmopolitan, growing place - but sprinkles in doses of rural feel from the surrounding areas.

Some homes slow to sell

Two of the homes on the show with the highest price tags have sat on the market unsold, despite a tidy wrap-up at the end of each episode.

A home along the rim at Kathryn Albertson Park was purchased for $350,000 - with another $350,000 into renovation costs. 

"Have we ever poured so much house into a house before?" Caldwell said on the show.

“It’s the most expensive house we’ve ever done!” noted Robertson.

Toward the end of the episode, Robertson tells the camera they have a deal in hand.

But the home didn't sell until well after the episode was produced and the show was aired.

The home was removed from the market just Sunday after a price reduction from $989,700 down to $974,900. 

Another home in Boise's North End was said to have sold "above asking" during the show, but is still listed for sale - listed since March 10th at $897,700.

One more, for now

The show has one episode to air, set for Wednesday night. Show producers give Garden City a hipster vibe:

"Luke and Clint expand their business into the hipster town of Garden City -- an up-and-coming area of Boise replete with coffee houses, breweries and man buns."

The fate of the show for additional episodes has not yet been announced.

Header photo courtesy HGTV.

Here is what’s up with the old Baldwin Lock & Key/Sav-on Cafe building

Demolition work is underway inside the former Sav-on Cafe/Baldwin Lock & Key building at 16th St. and Main St. in Downtown Boise.  

 Building permits show crews are working to combine the two spaces and remove all interior finishes (what’s known as a “vanilla shell”). 

Building owner Bill Snyder tells BoiseDev he is “entertaining a number of options” for the space, but doesn’t have anything to announce just yet.  

The Sav-on closed in 2013 after nearly 70 years in business. Baldwin moved to Garden City in December. 

Google Street View screenshot

Google Street View screenshot

Downtown warehouse torn down to make way for "zen" townhomes

We've had a flurry of tips and questions wondering what is up with the torn down building at 15th St. near Rhodes Park. Below, the original story on the project.

Developers had hoped to save exterior walls - but apparently could not and tore everything down. The Capital City Development Corp. has pledged money to the project to improve the streetscapes around it.

ORIGINAL STORY - DECEMBER 4, 2016: Project searches for 'zen' with homes in rundown warehouse

The area around Rhodes Park in downtown Boise is unique - with old industrial, some commercial, and often a gathering place for Boise's homeless.

One development group wants to add housing to that mix -- high-end housing at that.

Here is the narrative Envision Homes submitted for the so-called Verasso Downtown project:

"Verraso is an intriguing development consisting of eight high end apartments build around a large open veranda that creates a "zen" like atmosphere. The project repurposes an old dilapidated warehouse on the corner of 15th Street and Front Street. The architectural lines are articulated and varied. There are several appendages and colors creating unique, organic relief and symmetry. Each residence has a one car garage. The perimeter landscape will provide privacy and luxury. With careful, painstaking us of modulation the fresh new feel will be the new darling of downtown Boise.

The project would take the old warehouse building that was last home to Casa Nova consignment - which closed in 2006.

Many of the units would have garages along the alley off Front St.

The project is built in the literal shadow of the elevated I-184 Connector, and is just a few yards from where a motorcycle skidded off the freeway and landed below, killing the cyclist.

P&Z meeting set for early January.


Northgate Shopping Center to get façade makeover

Northgate Shopping Center, home to Albertsons, Idaho Youth Ranch, Rite Aid, Goodwill and the Northgate Reel Theater - is about to get a makeover.

The center at State St. and Glenwood will update with a blue, slate and tan look, with metal copper topping, metal panels and a dry stack stone cladding treatment, according to designs approved by the City of Boise. Stell trellises will also be added in sections. New "anchor tenant" type treatments will be added for the Youth Ranch and Liquour Store tenants among others.

The current look dates to the 1980s. The portion of the center which houses Albertsons is not currently slated for upgrades.  The retail chain recently revamped the front of its store.

The project is valued at $1.2 million and is in the building permit stage.




Plaza Seven to get revamp for hotel remodeling company

Colliers International Sales Flier Sscreenshot

Colliers International Sales Flier Sscreenshot

Boise's Plaza Seven has been purchased by Zelham, Inc. - a Garden City-based company which specializes in remodeling hotels across the country. 

The average hotel gets a revamp every seven years - and Zelham specializes in that process. The company moved to the area in 2004 "to take advantage of the quality of life and outdoor activities."  Projects the company has worked on locally include the Grove Hotel, Hampton Inn Boise Spectrum and Springhill Suites on Cloverdale Rd.

Located on Fairview Ave., Plaza Seven was constructed by KTVB Television in 1973 (hence the "7" name), and was sold by later owner Providence Journal in this 1990s, leading to a string of owners for the property.

Zelham purchased the building and will begin a renovation on the vacant first floor to house the company's corporate HQ.

The second floor is home to the studios of Scripps radio Boise (KRVB/94.9 The River, KTHI/107.1 K-Hits, KQXR/100.3 The X and KJOT/J-105), and the Idaho Nonprofit Center - both of which will remain.

The remodel is valued at $200,000.

Albertsons expands in McCall, buys popular drugstore


Albertsons continues to remodel the stores it acquired from Paul's Market - including the McCall store on Lake St.  

The location is undergoing a large expansion on the site, and the current building is seeing a significant remodel, with new fixtures, finishes and inventory. The portion of the building that used to house a small amount of variety goods like clothing has been removed and replaced with an expanded structure. New exterior architectural detailing matches the "log cabin" look of many buildings in the resort town.  

The expanded store will feature a pharmacy for the first time, as Albertsons has acquired McCall Drug and Blue Grouse Books on nearby 2nd Street. That location has been converted to a small Albertsons/Savon pharmacy, but will relocate to the former Paul's building later this year, according to employees with McCall Drug.  

The store will also have McCall's first Starbucks location (Shore Lodge serves a small selection of Starbucks products in its gift shop), as well as a second floor mezzanine and the usual Albertsons array of produce, meats and floral department features. 


Remodel war zone


Former McCall Drug

Remodel, close and move: Three stores shuffle at Boise Towne Square

Several changes at Boise Towne Square to note:

  • Jake's Dry Dock II has moved from its spot near Dillard's to a new space upstairs next to clothier Fuego. The clothing store features "Life is Good" products like shirts and hats.
  • Nakedology Cosmetics near Macy's has closed. It retains a location in the Village at Meridian.
  • Teen goods retailer Zumiez is in temporary space while a remodel of its main location is underway.

New BoxLunch store coming to Boise Towne Square

D&B Supply to add SE Boise store

D&B Supply, a locally-based provider of home, clothing, outdoor and animal supplies, plans to add a new location on Boise Ave. near Apple St.

The developer of the Eastgate Shopping Center has applied to remodel the former Hastings & Sports Authority spaces to accommodate the store.  Work began in March to remove a wall that divided the two closed retailers, and a design review application to remodel the facade was filed last week. The space will total about 35,000 square feet when recombined. The location is a one-time Albertsons store before that retailer moved down the street in the early 1990s.

D&B currently has 13 stores in Idaho and Oregon - including newer locations opened in recent years in Boise's Overland Park, and the conversion of a former King's store in Emmett. The retailer uses a western theme in its advertising and opened its first location in Caldwell nearly 60 years ago.

If the store is approved it will fill a retail gap in the SE Boise area. A Gordman's store closed last week and the Sports Authority store has been closed since 2014.

Boise's Garro Building set for makeover

Late last year, the State of Idaho sold a series of buildings and other properties it owned at auction.

One of those - a five-story office building on Bannock St. known as the Garro Building next to the Hoff Building was purchased by the O.L. Halsell Foundation. That foundation helps charities in the Orange County, CA area.

Now, a planned building remodel will spruce up the current brick red and blue exterior with a slate gray finish, new awning and a reconfiguration of the first floor, according to a pair of sales fliers being circulated by Thornton Oliver Keller. The building would also be renamed Garro Place

The ground floor would be reconfigured to accommodate a larger retail space by eliminating a large staircase in the front of the building and reconfiguring the lobby. The ground floor space would retail about 3,700 square feet in total.

TOK says it is seeking retail, coffee/cafe, salon, bakery, fitness or boutique type tenants.

The remaining floors would continue to be leased to office tenants.

The building is named for Adelia Garro Simplot - wife of JR Simplot's son Richard. Garro is also known for her role in the creation of Boise's Basque Block.

Historic Boise High gym to get overhaul

The Boise School District has started to work on projects funded in the recent $172.5 million bond election passage in Boise.

One of the first up is the original gym building at Boise High School - a historic Boise structure first built in 1936 - a New Deal project.

Boise School District

Boise School District

The building as it stands right now has six different floors, which aren't ADA accessible according to filings with the City of Boise - and the building only has two toilets for men and two toilets for women that are available for use by the public.

Plans call for consolidating the building down to just three levels - all accessed by a newly-installed elevator.  Crews would also add locker rooms in the basement, and public restrooms on the main level.

The school's "new" gym, which was built in 1997 - would be converted to a practice facility, with events being held primarily in the historic old gym.

Also in the plan:

  • Add seismic bracing to the brick structure from the inside
  • Clean and refinish the bricks
  • New windows added to bring in natural light
  • The existing music building will be demolished and replaced
  • The new building expansion would include architectural cues both from the original 1936 gym, as well as the more modern Frank Church Tech Center on campus
  • The newly revamped and expanded building would include
    • Basement: Wrestling room, weight room, equipment room, training room, offices, classroom, locker rooms, showers
    • First floor: 60-seat "micro theater," orchestra room, main gym, lobby, concessions
    • Second floor: band, choir, music classrooms, small practice rooms


New concourse at Boise Centre opens: see a tour, find out what's ahead

The second of three phases at Boise's convention center is complete - with the opening of an overhead walkway connecting the original building with a new facility in City Center Plaza. The project began in 2014 and is expected to wrap this summer.

Phase one: Opened last fall, bringing a new ballroom, and several additional meeting rooms on the fourth floor of a new set of buildings on the east side of the Grove Plaza.

Phase two: Wrapped up late last week and includes the construction of a semi-circular walkway that helps visitors get from the two buildings - while also connecting to the Grove Hotel and CenturyLink Arena.  The building features escalators from the first floor of the original Boise Centre and to the new fourth-floor Boise Centre East. The concourse also has an outdoor area that over looks The Grove Plaza.

See the new Boise Centre expansion - with a timelapse from the original building to the new Boise Centre East

Phase three: Slated to open this July, and will include a new 3,800 square foot junior ballroom in the area formerly housing an underutilized theater in the original building, plus a new second-floor board room, patio and additional office space.

Also coming: 

  • New, large video screens in the lobby
  • Adjacent to the second-floor patio, a new herb garden will be installed. Produce from it will be used by the Boise Centre's executive chef in some of the catered meals in the building.
  • Seventeen new restroom stalls for women, a few additional for men and the addition of a family restroom.
  • The entire convention center building will be repainted in "warm gray tones" to match the new Boise Centre East architecture.  
  • All the rooms in the existing building will be given numbers, moving away from their current named scheme.
  • New logo signage behind a portion of the outdoor concourse.

Largest... convention... ever: Mary-Michael Rodgers, Boise Centre Communications Manager says the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists will return to Boise for the second time - bringing a conference of 1,400 people - the largest ever at Boise Centre.  The group previously held its event at Boise Center in years past when it was much smaller.  The conference was originally slated to be held in North Carolina but was moved in the wake of that state's controversial bathroom law, Rodgers said. Participants will stay in thirteen local hotels - and nine hotels in the greater Downtown are already sold out for the June 4-8 event.  This event will be one of about a dozen conferences this year that will use both buildings.

PICS: Riverside's Sandbar revamps for summer 2017

Under local ownership, The Riverside Hotel has put in a number of upgrades - and has spent considerable effort building up its riverfront Sandbar.

The popular spot in the summer offers outdoor dining and drinking just a few feet from the Boise River on the Greenbelt in Garden City.

A new bar has been installed along with expanded seating adjacent to the existing area.

The Riverside has also put in a number of upgrades along the river, including reseeding the bank, adding steps so folks can get in and out, and a number of musical note-shaped bike racks.

Sandbar is set for a May seasonal opening.

Separately, the Riverside is revamping its entry - crews are at work overhauling the portico.

St. John's plans revamp of iconic entry

Courtesy Insight Architects

Courtesy Insight Architects

Insight Architects notes a project in its January newsletter - a rather major change to the entry stairs for St. John's Cathedral. 

Currently, stairs just start spilling off the side of the building in a straight descent. The new design would provide a larger landing at the top, with a set of curved L-shaped stairways on each side. 

Insight also says they will revamp a side staircase of the cathedral building at 8th & Hays.

"The utmost care will be taken to preserve the charm of the banisters, and there is a chance the steps will be heated as well," Insight wrote in its newsletter.

Rose Room to close, make way for Balsam Brands

The Rose Room events center in Boise's historic Union Block is set to close, BoiseDev exclusively confirmed. 

 "It will close as an event room next spring, and reopen as offices in the summer," building owner Ken Howell said.

Redwood City, CA-based Balsam Brands will take over 17,000 square feet of space in the building - including the event center, space currently used for small offices and an overflow dining room.

Balsam currently has space in Meridian in the Central Valley Corporate Park. The company says it will relocate to the new, high-profile space in the downtown core.

Fake Christmas trees and other holiday decor are Balsam's primary product - and Forbes featured it as a Small Giant startup last year. It was founded in 2006 and now earns more than $100 million in yearly revenue.

Completed in 1902 for just $35,000, the building is a cornerstone of Downtown Boise architecture. It houses retail tenants like Old Chicago along with a mix of small office tenants on the second floor. 

The Rose Room has hosted thousands of events over the years - primarily wedding receptions. 

Howell told me earlier this month that the new tenant would possibly impact some current tenants but it wasn't clear how. Balsam says a final remodel plan for the building will be finalized this spring. 

Ochos to say 'adios' to Boise mural


Ochos - a 'social dance venue' located in the historic Davies Reid building at 5th and Idaho wants to boost its branding on the building - and in the process will sweep a rug mural under... the rug.

The building's owner has filed with the City of Boise to paint over the existing mural on the east side of the building with a new one for Ochos.

The building, which features Queen Anne-style architecture and a gabled roof, is distinctive in the area. It has served as apartments, a law firm - and for decades, the Davies-Reid carpet store. D-R pulled out of Boise (the company still has a location in Ketchum), leading to a series of tenants - but the D-R mural has remained.

Ochos' request heads to Boise's design review group.

Meridian Press: Big & little yahoos say woo-hoo for bigger Wahooz

Wahooz Fun Center is about to take the wraps off a massive three-story expansion to its Meridian facility.  The three-story expansion will add eight new attractions and add 50 jobs.

The new attractions range from a new ropes course to an amusement park-style ride.  The new space will complement bowling, mini-golf and more at the park, which is co-owned with the adjacent Roaring Springs Water Park.

The expansion is set to open on November 3rd.

More from Meridian Press.