Room Boom

Grove Hotel plans to revamp lobby

GroveHotel.com screenshot

GroveHotel.com screenshot

With competition for hotel-goers heating up, the Grove Hotel plans a revamp of its lobby.

"We plan to update the hotel's first level, including our restaurant, lobby, bar and front desk," Grove Hotel Managing Partner John Cunningham said.

A building permit has been filed with the City of Boise for $1.18 million in work to give the area a complete cosmetic upgrade. A new wrap-around bar and lobby library are planned in addition to upgrading the overall look.

"Updating the hotel is an ongoing, never-ending process," Cunningham said. "We felt it was time to reinvest for our guests, to keep our product fresh and current."

The Downtown Boise hotel market has boomed in recent years, with the addition of the Hyatt Place, Residence Inn by Mariott, Inn at 500 Capitol, the pending opening of a new Hilton Garden Inn and plans for a Home2 Suites underway. In all, more than 700 rooms have been or will be added to the market

The Grove is working to keep its place in an expanding market.

"Our guests have high expectations when they visit our hotels and CenturyLink Arena. As a result, we plan to keep reinvesting in these properties to meet those high expectations."

The project should start in late July and be wrapped up in September.

Latest downtown hotel gets name, park, CCDC funding

The room boom in Downtown Boise continues - with new milestones on a hotel project at 5th St. and Front St.

The project, put together by local developer Clay Carley and Madison, Wisc. based Raymond Group, will include a 140 room hotel and 600 space parking garage on a large parcel bound by Front St., 5th St, and 6th St.

The hotel will carry the Home2 Suites by Hilton brand Carley confirms. The Home2 brand is an all-suite hotel concept aimed at travelers who need to make extended stays.

The Capital City Development Corporation approved $1.478 million in funding for a raft of improvements surrounding the hotel - including utility work, pavers, street lights, benches, bike racks and the like. 

The project is expected to cost $43.25 million, and is on track for a late 2019 or early 2020 opening.  Carley will own and operate the parking garage while Raymond will do the same for the hotel portion of the project. The nearby Hampton Inn and Suites is also operated by the Raymond Group.

The hotel will feature an indoor pool area with features like geysers and a basketball hoop. A bar and lounge is also planned, with patio space along Front & 6th, with an indoor/outdoor fireplace.

A public plaza is set for the corner of Front and 6th, with a lawn area, brick pavers and trees.

The joint venture of Carley and Raymond is acquiring a so-called "remnant parcel" owned by CCDC that used to be the roadbed for Front St. before it was realigned more than 30 years ago. 

  • The group will pay the public agency a discounted rate of $300,000 - with the agreement that the hotel and garage must be built within three years. 
  • CCDC will then provide the $1.478 million in public dollars for the public improvements.
  • CCDC agrees to lease 200 spaces in the garage for $150 each per month - or a total of $360,000 per year.  CCDC will then resell those spaces.
Project Location Rooms Floors Announced opening Type
Inn at 500 Capitol Capitol & Myrtle 104 7 Open Boutique
Residence Inn by Marriott Capitol & Myrtle 186 10 Open Extended stay
Hyatt Place 10th & Bannock 152 5 Open Business
Hilton Garden Inn 13th & Front 132 5 Under Construction Business
Home2 Suites 5th & Front 140 6 Late 2019 Extended Stay

Meridian Press: Room boom expands to Meridian

Rendering via Tru by Hilton

Rendering via Tru by Hilton

Even more hotel rooms are coming to SW Idaho. Try by Hilton broke ground on a new hotel on Eagle Rd. near I-84, according to Meridian Press.

The hotel will have 92 rooms on four floors and be adjacent to a Townplace Suites by Marriott. 

The hotel is across the street from The Farmstead site, which BoiseDev reported is for sale and the possible site of a future mixed-use development

Tru joins a raft of hotel projects - including five in downtown Boise and two near the Boise Airport.

New skyline conference room for Downtown Boise

Courtesy Hampton Inn & Suites

Courtesy Hampton Inn & Suites

The Hampton Inn & Suites in Downtown Boise is giving up a hotel room on the top guest floor - and will flip it into a meeting room.

The hotel's owner, Penbridge Lodging, has applied to convert 760 square feet for the new meeting room on the 10th floor with close-up views of the Boise skyline. The remodel will also modify the windows on the exterior of the building for the new conference room and add a pair of restrooms.

The hotel currently has 186 rooms and eight meeting rooms.

This new room adds a recent trend toward downtown conference rooms with a view - with JUMP, 8th & Main and the new Boise Centre expansion all adding gathering spaces with large windows overlooking the downtown core.

Room boom continues: Plans for Carley hotel revealed

As first reported by BoiseDev.com this fall, Clay Carley is leading a group that plans a hotel and parking garage for a site adjacent to the CW Moore Plaza Building at 5th & Front in downtown Boise.

Carley and Raymond Management Corporation hope to build the eight floor hotel with an as-yet-unnamed brand on the site of the former Boise Rescue Mission and Loma's Import Car Service.

The hotel would feature a large patio along 5th Street attached to a restaurant and bar, plus pool, meeting rooms and fitness center.  It would add 140 hotel rooms to the downtown market.

Parking garage as seen from the alley off 5th St.

Parking garage as seen from the alley off 5th St.

The hotel would wrap around a parking garage with space for nearly 700 cars and 50 bicycles. The garage could be funded in part by tax funds from the Capital City Development Corporation through its River/Myrtle/Old Boise district, if agency leaders are asked to and decide to participate.

The design features a charcoal and grey look with nickel & zinc accents.  The garage is screened with metal panels and blocks along the alley side of the project.

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

Carley initially had hoped to build a 23-story building on a portion of the site - with approval coming in 2007.  A separate 2009 proposal would have redeveloped another part of the same block at Main & 5th. The economic crater stalled those endeavors, like so many others of the era.It is the latest in an unprecedented spate of hotel projects in the downtown core.

The project joins a crowded field - with more than 700 new hotel rooms in some phase of construction or planning just in the core area.

Project Location Rooms Floors Announced opening Type
Inn at 500 Capitol Capitol & Myrtle 104 7 December 31, 2016 Boutique
Residence Inn by Marriott Capitol & Myrtle 186 10 Spring, 2017 Extended stay
Hyatt Place 10th & Bannock 152 5 Early 2017 Business
Hilton Garden Inn (proposed) 13th & Front 132 5 2018 Business
Front St. project (proposed) 5th & Front 140 8 TBA TBA

Inn at 500 Capitol latest downtown project to miss deadline

Developer Brian Obie signs the final beam before it is hoisted into place

Developer Brian Obie signs the final beam before it is hoisted into place

Following on the heels of City Center Plaza's construction delays and Simplot HQ's construction delays/water damage, another high-profile project will miss its projected opening.

The Inn at 500 Capitol put up signs earlier this year promising a New Year's Eve opening - 12/31/16.  That won't be happening, according to Boise Weekly. Instead, the hotel is "planning on" opening restaurant Richard's by that date - and then open up the rooms in time for the weekend of January 17th. 

Boise's Grove, Hotel 43 & Courtyard hotels under one roof

Three hotels with one common owner. Hotel 43 courtesy photo, Grove Hotel art BoiseDev file, Courtyard by Mariott courtesy photo 

Three hotels with one common owner. Hotel 43 courtesy photo, Grove Hotel art BoiseDev file, Courtyard by Mariott courtesy photo 

Block 22, LLC - which has long owned the Grove Hotel in Downtown Boise, is bulking up. The owners have purchased the boutique Hotel 43 and business class hotel Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Boise.

Hotel 43 & Courtyard are being sold by Cameron S-Sixteen - a group fronted by the Simplot family. 

The move will put a total of 524 rooms in Block 22's hands - as it works to compete in a rapidly changing hotel environment downtown.  

Late this month, Inn at 500 Capitol will start the room boom with a 7-floor hotel with 104 rooms.  In at 500 competes in Hotel 43's boutique space.  Next year, Residence Inn by Marriott will open and add 186 rooms to the inventory picture - while Hyatt Place will bring another 152 rooms to the party.  A Hilton Garden Inn and unspecified hotel on Front St. are also in the works.  It all adds up to a changing, and more competitive market for hotel rooms.

For now, Block 22 doesn't plan any big changes at Hotel 43 or the Courtyard.

“The names and brand affiliates will remain the same and we are excited to continue a long, mutually beneficial relationship with Chandlers Steakhouse," Block 22's John Cunningham said in a prepared statement.  “Both properties perform well financially, have been renovated within the last few years."

Rendering of the revised Chandlers at Hotel 43

Rendering of the revised Chandlers at Hotel 43

A remodel of the entry and dining area at Chandlers is planned, as BoiseDev exclusively reported earlier this year. Cunningham confirms that plan will continue - and says preliminary work is already under way.

The Greater Boise Auditorium District, which collects a tax on all room nights in its boundaries - including each of these properties, says the move is a positive one.

“Being able to access over 500 rooms with one call is definitely a plus for any meeting planner that would consider Boise,” GBAD Executive Director Pat Rice said in a prepared statement. “I’m excited about this strategic move.”

GBAD has long wanted to be able to book a large block of rooms together for large conferences.  Gardner Co. had originally planned to build a pair of hotels at Parcel B that would have gotten to that goal - but retrenched and decided to build an office building and a smaller hotel instead.

In addition to the Grove, Block 22 also owns the attached CenturyLink Arena and minor-pro hockey franchise Idaho Steelheads.

It's a sign: Downtown buildings battle for signage

Don Day
BoiseDev.com

It didn't catch much notice. By itself, it wasn't really a big deal. But it was the latest milestone in a long program that's been grinding away since the late 1980s.

The sign at Elmers on Capitol Boulevard came down from its 20 foot pole earlier this year. In its place, a new, shorter monument sign that stood no more than about eight feet tall.

The change comes at the tail end of a long process to cut down on visual clutter along Capitol Blvd. Just 30 years ago, the area from the Boise Depot to the Boise River along Capitol was jammed with billboards, spinning signs, flashing lights and more.  Over time, most of that faded away - and the Elmers sign is one of the last holdouts of an earlier era.

Capitol Boulevard is unique in Boise. The road swings around from Vista Avenue - and provides folks entering Boise from the Depot a view of Boise and the Capitol. A 1910s story from the Idaho Statesman heaps high praise on the short two-mile stretch:

"The bridge and the boulevard form an approach to the city which is unequaled in its stark beauty and simple grandeur by any bit of man-made highway in the west."

That 1980s plan from the City of Boise hoped to cut back on visual clutter and enhance the short drive. But, much to the chagrin of many, the boulevard has gone the other way.

This grainy image from that plan shows what the boulevard once looked like from the Depot:

Courtesy City of Boise

Courtesy City of Boise

At the time, while signs for Elmers, Red Lobster, Pizza Hut, University Inn and even BSU stand in the foreground - the Capitol is still a main focus of the view corridor.

 The area has drastically changed in 30 years - and perhaps not in the way that big plan had hoped.

In 1998, The Grove Hotel opened at Main and Front, crowed right up to the sidewalk, cutting into the view from the Depot. Other buildings followed, including the Chase Bank building and Hampton Inn & Suites.

Two new buildings will soon open. The Inn at 500 Capitol and Residence Inn by Marriott are going up on the opposite side of the street from The Grove,  further framing the view of the Capitol.

This month - a trio of those aforementioned hotels are hoping to add new, large signs high atop their buildings.

The Inn at 500 Capitol hopes to place a large "500" sign atop its green roof facing toward the Depot roughly five stories up. The sign would be larger than a rule outlined in Boise's Capitol Boulevard Gateway District guidelines limiting signs to a total of 65 square feet (measured by drawing a virtual box around the logo).

Residence Inn by Mariott also hopes to place a large logo atop its building at about the nine story level - with the full name of the hotel.

Both signs have the preliminary OK from Boise's design review committee.

But it's a third sign that's causing some consternation - and its on the building that is the closest to the Capitol in that visual view from the Depot: The Grove Hotel.

Proposed new tower signs would be visible from long distances

Proposed new tower signs would be visible from long distances

Proposed wall signs at street level

Proposed wall signs at street level

The hotel and its attached CenturyLink Arena currently have 20 signs hanging from the structure - including flags, wall signs and an electronic billboard-like sign.  But as BoiseDev.com was first to report in June, the hotel wants to add three more signs that are much larger than any currently on the building.

One would sit atop the south elevation facing the Depot and would be more than two stories tall. It would include the hotel's "G" icon and the words "The Grove Hotel."

In all, The Grove hopes to gain approval for 742 square feet of signage - far more than the 65 feet granted in current city code for buildings on Capitol Blvd.

"Our businesses struggle with visitors and local residents alike complaining that they are unable to locate the businesses and/or differentiate the buildings from others in the area," Block 22 president John Cunningham wrote in a letter to Boise's Planning and Zoning Commission.

While the hotel's internal sales are of course private, a check of its online reservation system shows that in just the next two weeks - six separate nights are fully sold out. The hotel's hopes for new signs may be in response to the city's room boom - and new hotels coming online, and with them increased competition

Each of the signs have to go through extra approvals since the buildings they advertise are all within the Capitol Boulevard Gateway.

In a lengthy Design Review hearing last month, the signs left committee members with heartburn.  City staff had recommended approving the Grove Hotel signs - but only with many restrictions.

If adopted, a suggestion by Boise City planning staff would force building owners to remove the CenturyLink Arena sign and the two banners hanging off the face of the building among others. The electronic media center and flag hanging off the side would remain

If adopted, a suggestion by Boise City planning staff would force building owners to remove the CenturyLink Arena sign and the two banners hanging off the face of the building among others. The electronic media center and flag hanging off the side would remain

First, the Hotel would have to remove all other signs along Front St., with the exception of the electronic billboard. This includes smaller signs for the hotel and CenturyLink Arena - as well as flags hanging from the building.

"It is in conflict with the Capitol Boulevard Sign Overlay District and it’s also in conflict with our Downtown Design Review Guidelines which want us to limit the amount of signage and visual clutter," design review planner Andrea Tuning said during a hearing last month. "We felt it was a fair exchange if they were to remove the existing signage with the exception of the electronic message center."

Second, for the sign high on the tower of the hotel - they would be required to remove the "The Grove Hotel" lettering and strip it down to just the "G" icon.

"Ain't nothin' but a G thang, baby" - Snoop Dogg

"Ain't nothin' but a G thang, baby" - Snoop Dogg

City staff calls the "G" the property's logo - which is perhaps a misnomer. Most logos include text of some sort (save big well-known brands like Nike or Starbucks).  What they propose - to remove the letters, would leave just a funny "G" that isn't well-known to almost anyone.

Other examples were brought up. The US Bank sign was added before the sign ordinance came into effect in about 1998, according to city planning staff. The city OK'ed the "Chase" icon to replace an earlier Washington Mutual logo - but wouldn't allow the word "CHASE" to appear, despite its inclusion in nearly every version of the logo you can find online.

From the Grove, you can see the CenturyLink, Wells Fargo, Zions Bank, Holland & Hart, Clearwater, Boise State and US Bank signs

From the Grove, you can see the CenturyLink, Wells Fargo, Zions Bank, Holland & Hart, Clearwater, Boise State and US Bank signs

Inn at 500 and Residence Inn pass muster because the signs they propose are just their logo or icon and are asking for more modest sign variances.

But the Grove Hotel is different because of the size of the sign they propose and inclusion of both a so-called "logo" (or icon) and lettering.  Make sense? Not really.

You might be thinking - what about the new 8th & Main Building?  This structure, opened in 2015, is adorned with a dozen signs - including very large building-spanning "ZIONS BANK" and "HOLLAND & HART" lettering on the side of the building that faces the Depot.  What makes it different from The Grove?

One block.

Because that building is at 8th and Main and not Capitol and Main - it doesn't have to submit to the special Capitol Blvd. gateway guidelines.

My informal polling of folks on Twitter shows that people actually like the increase of building signs downtown.

One member of Boise's volunteer design review committee expressed angst at the visually shrinking Capitol building.

"I’m looking at this picture and poor Capitol gets smaller and smaller as the year goes by," Jessica Aguilar said. "Maybe we all agree in concept that the current ordinance doesn’t work for everyone but, supersize doesn’t work either."

Now, all three sign proposals will be rolled up and heard together at a hearing in early October.

"Staff plans to put together a proposal for what seemed like an appropriate sign for The Grove. They are going to reccomend a reduction in signs most likely.

With different rules for different tall buildings - where does the City of Boise go from here?

"Going forward beyond those three, staff will be looking at what our code should say for those type of signs," Boise City Communications Director Mike Journee told BoiseDev.com.

The goal, Journee said, is "getting some type of ordinance for council to review. If a variance is needed, (the City should) have a more cohesive policy that makes sense in that corridor."

Inn at 500 Capitol, Grove Hotel and Residence Inn by Marriott will learn if the time is right for their signs October 3rd at Boise City Hall.

Another week, another hotel: room boom continues in Boise

Don Day
BoiseDev.com

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BOISE - A hotel on every block?

Just last week, BoiseDev.com broke news of a new hotel planned for Parcel B at Front and 13th.

Now comes word of another hotel project winding its way through the permitting process -- this one at Front and 5th.

The new hotel is still in the preliminary stages - and is seeking initial design review approval from the City of Boise for a streetscape setback variance. Simply: Lots of details still are not public. 

The property, next to the CW Moore Plaza building, is currently a parking lot. It is owned by prolific local developer Clay Carley - who has teamed up with other groups for the proposed project - including Wisconsin-based The Raymond Group, which developed the nearby Hampton Inn at Capitol & Myrtle. Carley wouldn't comment - but noted more details are likely in the next few months.

 

According to application documents, a hotel and parking garage are planned. The hotel would include a bar/lounge, restaurant and an unknown number of hotel rooms.  The hotel would wrap around the garage on Front and 6th streets - screening the parking structure from view on the busy Front St. corridor.

A rendering that shows the massing of the building seems to indicate it will be somewhat shorter than the neighboring CW Moore which is nine stories tall.

The block is the former home of the Boise Rescue Mission and an auto service business -- both of which have been demolished. Since 2014, the parcel has served as a surface parking lot.

The block is not fully rectangular - an oddity for downtown. The Front St. site sits on an angle, part of a reworking of the downtown grid related to the Broadway-Chinden Connector project in the 1980s (you can still see the road fragment).

The downtown Boise core is in the middle of a hotel boom A 2015 study concluded Boise needs 580 new rooms over six years.  As we speak, there are 442 rooms currently under construction (table below), and another 132 proposed -- plus additional inventory from today's news. That would put downtown Boise well ahead of the rooms needed in the study, though it indicated the city really needs a 300-room hotel for large conventions - which none of the current projects would accommodate.

Carley is behind the Old Boise neighborhood project - and is also in the building permit phase for a project up 5th street at Idaho that would include apartments, retail and a pocket park. He also spearheaded the recent redevelopment of The Owyhee.

Carley initially had hoped to build a 23-story building on a portion of the site - with approval coming in 2007.  A separate 2009 proposal would have redeveloped another part of the same block at Main & 5th. The economic crater stalled those endeavors, like so many others of the era.

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Project Location Rooms Floors Announced opening Type
Inn at 500 Capitol Capitol & Myrtle 104 7 December 31, 2016 Boutique
Residence Inn by Marriott Capitol & Myrtle 186 10 Spring, 2017 Extended stay
Hyatt Place 10th & Bannock 152 5 Early 2017 Business
Hilton Garden Inn (proposed) 13th & Front 132 5 TBA Business
Front St. project (proposed) 5th & Front TBA TBA TBA TBA