Stadium Dream

Catch up quick: Deal for Boise stadium is off. What's next?

BoiseDev has been tracking big changes to a proposal for a Boise stadium all week. Here's a quick read on what's happening:

  • Greenstone Properties, which owns the Boise Hawks was going to buy land at Americana & Shoreline from St. Luke's. Now that's not happening. BoiseDev broke word that the parcels would be instead sold to Agri Beef and an investment group.
  • The company says it now wants to build the ballpark on the other side of the Connector - in Boise's west downtown region.  
  • The possible site is at Whitewater Park Blvd. and Main St. on the southeast corner. This is NOT the CWI campus location where Mayor Bieter had suggested the stadium could go earlier this year (it's the opposite corner).
    • LocalConstruct, which owns that ground, has not made a deal to sell it to Greenstone just yet.
    • Hawkins Co., which was developing the commercial portion for the site, pulled out late last year.
    • There are other potential sites in the west end, which currently has several large tracts of undeveloped land.
  • The vocal Concerned Boise Taxpayers group says it's glad the Americana & Shoreline spot has been dropped, but still has concerns on how another site - particularly around how it would be paid for. "If they are planning on using the same financing process without a due process and a vote from the taxpayers, then we still have the same concerns," CBT's Bill Ilett said.
  • A new CCDC urban renewal district that would include the former Americana & Shoreline stadium site is still on track. CCDC Executive Director John Brunelle says the existing 30th Street district could be helpful for a stadium, but "CCDC would need to amend the 30th Street URD Master Plan if such a proposal materializes for that district."

Bottom line: There is no deal in place to build a downtown Boise baseball park, and no site is finalized.  Stay tuned...

St. Luke's Shoreline campus sold - but not to the stadium developer

UPDATE: News release from Greenstone Properties below

According to deeds recorded with Ada County this morning, two parcels that were to be sold by St. Luke's Health System to Greenstone Properties for a new stadium project have been sold to other parties.

 

The property along the Boise River at 1471 W. Shoreline Drive that was at one point earmarked for condos and commercial space has been instead been sold to RDT Real Estate, which is controlled by Agri Beef president Robert N. Rebholtz, Jr. according to filings with the Idaho Secretary of State.  A representative for Agri Beef said Rebholtz was out of town and unavailable to comment.

Agri Beef's headquarters sites along Americana Blvd., next to the newly-acquired chunk of land.

Earlier this week, Agri Beef filed plans with the City of Boise to demolish the former The Pantry restaurant to build a parking lot on the site. Rebholtz's RDT Properties acquired this parcel after The Pantry closed in 2016.

ALSO READ: 
Boise Sports Park won't happen at Americana and Shoreline, could rise elsewhere

The second, larger property at 1500 W. Shoreline, which is currently home to a variety of functions for St. Luke's Health System was sold to another group - Ameri Shore, LLC according to those deed records. Ameri Shore is controlled by Spokane attorney John D. Munding.  Munding was also unavailable for comment this morning.

Greenstone Properties, LLC president Chris Schoen confirmed today that the stadium project is "headed to another site," but would not elaborate further - citing a news release set for later today

As BoiseDev first reported yesterday, Greenstone is considering a site currently owned by LocalConstruct LLC at Fairview Ave. and Whitewater Park Blvd.

Greenstone News Release

(BOISE) — Greenstone Properties announced today that it has chosen a different location to
build its proposed Boise Sports Park.

Greenstone had been under contract with St. Luke’s Health System to purchase property near
the intersection of Shoreline Drive and Americana Boulevard since March of 2017 as a potential
site for the proposed Boise Sports Park. In recent months, however, Greenstone has also
considered Downtown Boise’s West End neighborhood as a possible location for the sports park
and has recently decided to put its full focus on that area for the project.

“There are more advantages for the sports park in the West End area, including better access
and visibility, with fewer residential buildings and more commercial space in close proximity,”
said Greenstone principal Chris Schoen.

The exact parcels that could ultimately be included in the proposed project have not yet been
finalized, but Schoen commented that “once the location is determined, we look forward to
working with the city and the neighborhood on next steps.”

As a result of this site change, Greenstone also announced today that it has assigned the
purchase contract for the St. Luke’s owned and managed Shoreline/Americana properties to
two other buyers.

The property located at 1471 W. Shoreline has been sold to RDT Real Estate LLC, which owns
property adjacent to this location. The remaining property was acquired by Ameri Shore LLC, an
investor group.

“The Boise Sports Park has engaged and excited many of our residents,” said Boise Mayor David
Bieter. “We’ve long believed that a venue like this would be a great new downtown amenity for
all Boiseans. This is a new opportunity for a part of our downtown that has great potential and
we look forward to seeing the concepts Mr. Schoen and his partners bring forward in the
coming weeks and months.”

Boise Sports Park won't happen at Americana and Shoreline, could rise elsewhere

A proposal by Greenstone Properties for a Downtown Boise stadium and multi-use development will not happen at a site at Americana and Shoreline, according to city councilor and CCDC board member Scot Ludwig.

Ludwig said the project could move to another site nearby.

So why the site change?

"I assume changing sites is a result of Greenstone listening to Boiseans' valid concerns about the Americana site," Ludwig said.

For its part, St. Luke's Health System, which owns the Americana and Shoreline site says it is still working with Greenstone, according to a spokesperson.

Whitewater Park Blvd. on deck?

 

Several sources who declined to be named on the record tell BoiseDev that new site could be land currently owned by LocalConstruct on the southeast corner of Whitewater Park Blvd. and Main St. This parcel of land isn't to be confused with a site earmarked for a future College of Western Idaho site on the northwest corner - which Boise's mayor had at one point suggested could be a better stadium spot.

"I'm afraid that any commentary on anything having to do with (the ballpark) would have to come from Chris Schoen's team," LocalConstruct president Mike Brown said. "I can just tell you that in everything we do we believe that what's good for Boise is good for us, so we try to be helpful, be good citizens and team players, and set a good example."

LocalConstruct traded the Spaulding Ranch in west Boise with the City in 2017 for the 6.3 acre parcel at Whitewater Park & Main. The plan was to construct a mixed-use development with residential and commercial.

Hawkins Companies principal Gary Hawkins said his company had been involved with the planned commercial part of the Whitewater Park & Main project, but ultimately decided to end participation late last year.

Ludwig did not confirm the west downtown concept - but said more should come out soon.

"I understand an announcement on this location is expected soon," Ludwig said. "Despite the slow process, getting the site right for this incredible amenity for Boise has always been Chris Schoen's goal."

A series of emails and calls this week to Schoen have gone unanswered. 

Project 'still a go'

Monday, Boise Hawks president Jeff Eiseman said the overall project was "still a go."

"When we are ready to make announcements we will," he said. "The project always evolves but still on the path." 

Eiseman did not respond to further questions around specifics.

Ludwig said a plan for funding the stadium at a new location isn't in place, but "the City, CCDC and/or GBAD will no doubt partner in some fashion to provide a good fiscal plan to be determined."

Bill Ilett with Concerned Boise Taxpayers says a potential change in venue for the ballpark helps allay some, but not all, of his group's concerns.

"I think we have always said 'wrong location and bad project,'" he said. "Well, they have solved the wrong location by moving it out of the Americana area. (But) if they are planning on using the same financing process without a due process and a vote from the taxpayers, then we still have the same concerns."

The City of Boise says, for now, it’s up to the developers to figure out the next steps  

 "We are aware of the conversations that have been happening among property owners that could involve a relocation of the sports park to a location in the west end," City of Boise spokesperson Mike Journee said. "It's their deal to be made."

Official plans for downtown stadium filed with City; see new renderings

Greenstone Properties took the first official step in making the Boise Sports Park a reality.

The development company's attorneys filed a rezoning request with the City of Boise this week, which outlines the project in detail and requests several parcels get new zoning designations to allow for the mixed-use project the group hopes to build.

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The total site is 11.65 acres in site, including the large former Kmart site (currently home to St. Luke's Health System back office functions) and several other locations nearby.

Boise Sports Park would be anchored by a multi-use stadium configured for both baseball and soccer as well as other events.  The venue could accommodate 7,500 fans for soccer and 5,000 for baseball

The project would also include 60,000 square feet of retail, 300 multi-family housing units, 700 parking spaces and 120,000 square feet of office space.

Two multi-family housing buildings are envisioned - the first would be located on Shoreline Drive and include 40,000 square feet of retail, 240 housing units and public plaza space. The second would be located along Americana in left field of the ballpark with 60 housing units.

A large office building would include 120,000 square feet of offices, plus "integrated event space on roof and balconies."

A parking deck would feature 700 stalls. The letter to the City of Boise emphasizes that many event-goers are expected to carpool to events, or park and ride to the site, and claims the on-site parking is sufficient to meet the venue's needs.

The project would also add a street-level festival-type area:

“Improvements to Shoreline between Americana and 14th to create a festival street, permitting its use for various public and private events connecting Multi-family 1, the Boise Sports Park and Greenbelt."

Geoff Wardle, the attorney who represented Greenstone at a contentious neighborhood meeting last week filed a large 29-page application letter. It goes into significant detail about how the project meets city goals and initiatives.

The document discusses the Blueprint Boise plan that governs growth in the capital city and devotes significant space noting how it complies with the principles and policies put forth.

“The redevelopment of a big box commercial site with a mixed-use project anchored by the Boise Sports Park and with ready alternative access to pedestrians and cyclists within the Downtown planning area satisfy all of these goals," the letter said.

Wardle also said the project meets the downtown-specific parts of Blueprint Boise

“Vibrant neighborhoods do not require cars to get everywhere. In the urban core of the Downtown planning district, Blueprint Boise recognizes that accessibility does not just mean parking; it means the ability to get to and from places by foot, by bike, by transit or by car. The site is unique in its location because it truly facilities the type of accessibility encouraged by Blueprint Boise.”

Both tax dollars and private contributions would fund the project. The Greater Boise Auditorium District, Capital City Development Corporation and City of Boise have all been involved in the project and could each contribute cash or bonding capacity.

The zoning request will head next to Boise's Planning and Zoning Commission, with a date not yet set.

Analysis: Ugly scene at first stadium meeting shows rift over Boise’s growth

 NEWS ANALYSIS

I didn’t recognize Boise last night.

Neighborhood meetings are usually small affairs with just a few people showing up. But due to widespread media attention and at the urging of several groups opposed to a downtown Boise stadium project at Americana and Shoreline, this one had a crowd.  

And the whole scene was ugly.  

Dozens of citizens shouted and hollered and interrupted.  

The developer did not show up - and sent one attorney with no microphone to address the throng.  

Citizens were upset about just about everything. Worried about parking. Concerned about crowd noise. Leery of traffic. Unhappy the mayor didn’t show up.  

Geoff Wardle with Spink Butler tried to stay calm as he was being yelled at. His answers fell on deaf ears. But the disaster was one of Greenstone Properties’ making. Last year I was critical of the handling of the stadium project for being too calculated by city leaders. This went in the opposite direction.  

Wardle told KTVB they only expected those invited neighbors to show up. That’s a very bad misread of the situation. Two vocal groups of Boise citizens are not keen on a stadium in that location and have shown the ability to organize in the past. Concerned Boise Taxpayers is well-organized and Vanishing Boise is passionate. 

Greenstone had a chance to showcase the project and control the chaos. A few displays, a small riser for speakers and a microphone would have gone a long way. Sending just a single attorney and not having anyone from the development team looked disrespectful and dismissive. The crowd couldn’t hear Wardle speak which contributed to the atmosphere. 

The crowd looked like something out of the show Parks and Rec. It made for great video for the media throng in attendance, but the lack of civility seems to be giving people pause.

Boise is changing and people are worried. The quality of life the area is known for seems under threat and is stirring passion. Leaders have been pro-growth and pro-developer for quite some time, in search of a healthy vibrant economy. The stadium project is at the eye of this storm and the months ahead will show a lot about how leaders and citizens want to forge ahead.

Just as the developers have the right to pitch a project, citizens have a right to make their voices heard. Neither did so in the most effective way last night. 

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Angry crowd meets Boise Sports Park rep at neighborhood meeting

Baseball games are usually calm, deliberative affairs.  

The first step in the process to build a stadium in Downtown Boise was anything but.

A crowd of several dozen people met with a single representative of Greenstone Properties Tuesday night, stirred up by Concerned Boise Taxpayers and others.

They weren't happy.

According to video posted by the Idaho Statesman, the crowd was heated and fired up - going many-on-one with Geoff Wardle of Spink Butler which is representing Greenstone.

(Editor's note: I wasn't able to attend since I'm currently working at Stanford. The account below is based upon the Statesman video).

One man shouted his frustration from just a few feet away.

"They've got a library that is waiting on $20 million of philanthropic funds to build it. You're going to build a stinking baseball stadium before you build a library? You don't give a damn!"

"I'd like to make the point that the traffic is already -- herr -- I can't even describe what it's like. You're going to get people going up Americana..." one woman yelled, while another woman drowned her out "in a single lane!"

The Greenstone rep responded calmly.

"First of all, there are multiple access points out of this neighborhood..." which was quickly drowned out by boos and jeers from the crowd.

Many in the crowd asked why Boise Mayor Dave Bieter was not in attendance, which may show a misunderstanding of the meeting from those in attendance. Wardle again responded by noting this is just a neighborhood meeting. The mayor isn't traditionally present at these types of meetings.

Many questions went unanswered as the crowd shouted over Wardle.  One resident calmly asked why the College of Western Idaho site that was considered for a time couldn't be used. Wardle wasn't able to answer more than a few words before being shouted down.

"CWI owns it and controls it. We explored..." And that's where it ended before Wardle was yelled at.

Resident: "Are you able to answer the question of why here. Why in the middle of the city?

Wardle: "Why not?" 

Another resident: "Congestion, traffic... "

Wardle: "Why don't we want a vibrant city?"

Third resident: "It's not a big enough city!"

And then, again the crowd devolved into boos and groans.

Wardle tried to press on.

"Why don't we want a vibrant downtown with proximity to the Greenbelt."

Fourth resident: "We have a vibrant downtown."

The crowd asked a laundry list of questions. Wanting to know why other sites were not considered. Worried about folks parking on the rim. And more.

"Baseball attendance is dropping like a rock. And no one cares about soccer."

Wardle: “Hawks baseball attendance is up 25% over the past five years. USL soccer is drawing between five- and ten-thousand fans for each site it currently has."

"How much money are you going to be making personally off of our property tax dollars being increased for a project that no one wants here.

Wardle: "Zero. I'm the attorney for the developer..." 

The crowd again shouted him down.

When folks asked about the lack of transit options, Wardle said he hoped residents in attendance would advocate for better bus and transit options.

"I'm not fighting city hall for you," a woman replied.

And on it went.

The next step for Greenstone if it decides to move forward will be to appear in front of Boise's Planning and Zoning Commission. 

First formal stadium step faces multi-pronged opposition

After a surprise detour suggested by Boise's mayor to look at an alternative site, the focus for a Boise stadium proposal funded in part by taxpayers has refocused on a spot at Americana Blvd. and Shoreline Drive.

Google Earth view of the proposed stadium site. Summit Dental is located adjacent to the parcel but not part of the stadium project.

Google Earth view of the proposed stadium site. Summit Dental is located adjacent to the parcel but not part of the stadium project.

A neighborhood meeting is set for tonight, the required first step ahead of submitting plans to the City of Boise.  Many building projects go through this pro forma process, but few see as much scrutiny as this one.

Two groups have worked to rally folks to show up for the meeting with developers.

The first is Summit Dental, which owns an office immediately adjacent to the proposed stadium site. The doctor-owned practice sent an email blast to patients today:

Our goal at Summit Dental, from the time we built our building, was to provide a convenient, comfortable and easily accessible place for our patients to come for their dental care. As the illustrations stand right now, the proposed building plans for the new baseball stadium could threaten those conveniences we have worked so hard to provide to our patients; mainly accessibility and parking.

KTVB reported in October that the doctors were worried about the impact a stadium could have on their practice.

The other group working to get citizens to show up is Concerned Boise Taxpayers - a coalition of business interests and citizens who say they are worried about the public money and tax implications of the project. Some members also own homes near the proposed site.

A sponsored Facebook post has attracted more than 100 comments both for and against the project.

The Vanishing Boise group also shared the CBT invite and prompted its followers: " Let’s find out why - if this is such a great commercial venture - that a subsidy of our hard-earned tax dollars is necessary?? "

The Capital City Development Corporation, which could have an as-yet-unannounced role in the stadium project, expressed enthusiasm for the developer in Executive Director John Brunelle's monthly report to the agency's board of directors:

(C)heck out this beautiful new stadium in North Augusta, South Carolina, home of the Augusta Greenjackets. They broke ground on the stadium less than one year ago, and opening day is this week. Congratulations to Chris Schoen, Greenstone Properties, and Agon Sports & Entertainment on this success!

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Later in the report, Brunelle says his agency continues to work with Greenstone on the project

Agency staff continues working others to determine a critical path for this project, development budget, schedule and financing plan.

The neighborhood meeting is set for tonight, April 17th, at 6:30pm a the site on Americana and Shoreline.

BoiseDev Stadium Dream coverage

New stadium site idea not a go with stakeholders

The former Bob Rice Ford site is reported to be a new spot for a Downtown Boise stadium project that has faced fierce opposition. Google Maps image.

The former Bob Rice Ford site is reported to be a new spot for a Downtown Boise stadium project that has faced fierce opposition. Google Maps image.

Tuesday, the Idaho Statesman reported a different site was being considered for a downtown Boise stadium, despite years of time, effort and money spent on the so-called Shoreline site.

BoiseDev worked to confirm this story Monday, but did not get responses from City of Boise officials or an official with the Boise Hawks ownership group. Those officials did speak on the record Tuesday to the Statesman after BoiseDev inquired Monday.

Mayor Dave Bieter said Tuesday that he is evaluating a proposal to relocate the stadium from the site of a former Kmart now occupied by St. Luke’s Health System to land about half a mile to the northwest — possibly the same parcel where College of Western Idaho plans to build its Boise campus.

CWI could go into the former Kmart where St. Luke’s has offices at Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive, allowing it to open in Boise sooner than it could on a riverfront parcel it owns on the northwest corner of Whitewater Park Boulevard and West Main Street, Bieter told the Idaho Statesman.

What was not included in the initial story was reaction from other parties involved.

St. Luke's Health System, which owns the land Greenstone Properties had been working to acquire for the stadium, says it is still working on a deal.

"There continue to be conversations in the community about the proposed sports park development," St. Luke's Communication Manager Anita Kissee said. "What I can tell you is that the Shoreline property is under contract with Greenstone and we are working to conclude the transaction."

CWI board member Emily Walton said her group does not have any type of deal in place to swap land.

"I know people have lots of ideas about how we should move forward and of course we’re happy to have conversations with anyone.," she said in a comment. "We’re talking in every board meeting about how to meet our students’ needs."

The City of Boise has not responded to requests for comment from BoiseDev on a wide variety of stories in recent weeks. They will also not comment on wether it is policy to not respond to specific reporters.

UPDATE: Statement from Concerned Boise Taxpayers:  

 “This new pivot from the mayor only raises more questions. Now, more than ever, the city needs to slow down, be transparent and show some fiscal responsibility. While we strongly support any effort to help CWI, we also want to make sure that Boise taxpayers are protected from poor decisions about a baseball stadium.”

Complaint: Agency skirted Idaho law over stadium meetings

Via Greenstone Properties

Via Greenstone Properties

A group of connected Boiseans hopes to stop a downtown baseball and soccer stadium in its tracks, and is willing to press their case with the county prosecutor to do it.

A complaint filed late last month with the Ada County Prosecutor alleges the Greater Boise Auditorium District worked to circumvent Idaho's open meetings law in order to conceal dealings with the developer of a proposed downtown Boise stadium.

The five-page complaint includes a string of email messages involving GBAD executive director Pat Rice and Greenstone Properties principal Chris Schoen.  Greenstone is hoping to build a stadium on land currently owned by St. Luke's Health System near the Boise River in a complex deal that would include tax dollars, public bonds and private funding.

The Concerned Boise Taxpayers group led by former Albersons CEO Gary Michael and former Idaho Stampede lead investor Bill Ilett sent the letter to the Ada County Prosecutor on October 24th. BoiseDev was provided a copy of the letter and supporting documents from CBT. 

READ THE COMPLAINT

"Since I have 5 board members and a quorum requires a public meeting, I’d recommend an hour each in groups of 2+1," Rice wrote to Schoen in September of 2014. 

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That e-mail, with carbon copies to John Brunelle with the Capital City Development Corporation and Jade Riley in Mayor Dave Bieter's office among others, is the central piece of evidence in the CBT complaint.

I can’t have more than two at a time otherwise it is a quorum
— Pat Rice in en email to LeAnn Hume on October 2, 2014

In a follow up message to LeAnn Hume of Cushman & Wakefield Alliance, Rice again reiterated the importance of keeping his board in small group meetings.

"2 board members can meet. Then if we can tentatively plan for another meeting at 5 for 2 more board members that could work. As I mentioned previously, I can’t have more than two at a time otherwise it is a quorum."

The Michael & Ilett group requested thousands of documents from the City of Boise, CCDC and GBAD via public records requests, and provided many of those documents to media outlets including BoiseDev.

"As we searched through the documents provided in response to our public records requests, it was clear to us that the Idaho Open Meeting law was ignored," Michael said. "We want it investigated and, if the law was violated, we want it brought to light."

ALSO READ: 
Packaging a narrative: Inside the Boise Stadium push

When contacted, the Ada County Prosecutor would not comment on the existence of the letter. 

“Disclosure of such records would compromise any ongoing investigation that might be taking place by disclosing complaining witnesses and the details of any statutory default that might have taken place," Ada County Prosecutor Jan M. Bennetts wrote.

Rice had not seen the complaint when contacted last week by BoiseDev. After review, he was unable to comment fully on the record.

"This is a complaint in progress," Rice said. "If the county prosecutor contacts us, we are going to cooperate fully. "

He emphasized that though the City of Boise is working to move the project forward, his agency has had no formal involvement to this point.

"We are not committed to the project at this stage and the board has not seen any type of formal proposal."

It’s clearly a violation of the Idaho Open Meeting Law
— Betsy Russell, Idaho Press Club president

After reviewing the complaint, Idaho Press Club president Betsy Russell expressed concern over the meetings as outlined.

"It's clearly a violation of the Idaho Open Meeting Law," she said.  "The point of the law is to ensure that the public's business is done openly and that the public can observe it."

Russell also serves with Idahoans for Openness in Government and says that group holds seminars on this very topic.

"It appears to me to be a classic case of what we call a 'serial meeting'," she said.  "Elaborate subterfuges designed to avoid a quorum and allow a series of smaller meetings to substitute for an open public one as a public agency deliberates on a topic not only would defeat the whole purpose of the open meeting law - they also clearly violate it."

Ilett says that's the central argument behind their complaint.

"The documents show that City Hall and GBAD have been very devious in the way they have pushed the project forward, working with the out-of-town developer for the past two-plus years without public disclosure," he said.

Michael said this tactic is about one thing: stopping public dollars for a stadium.

"Our overall goal is simple. We do not want the baseball stadium built with public funds. It is the wrong project in the wrong place. "

News release: BSU won’t be part of stadium

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Boise State University issued this news release saying they will not be part of a hoped-for downtown stadium being built in part with tax money, and instead will focus on a stadium near campus. 

First, read the Boise State release. Then below read the City of Boise reaction.  

RELEASE from Boise State: 

 

  • BOISE STATE WILL NOT JOIN PROPOSED DOWNTOWN STADIUM PROJECT

    Boise State University will not be a part of the proposed downtown stadium project.

    Instead, university officials plan to construct a collegiate baseball stadium on or near campus.

    The university has been open about its interest in the idea of a shared downtown stadium since 2015, but Boise State President Bob Kustra said that in the end the question came down to the most efficient use of public dollars: It became clear that a long-term lease would be less financially prudent than a project that Boise State could either build or lease to own.

    “As a baseball fan, I support efforts that boost baseball in Boise and give our community a chance to enjoy the sport for years to come,” Kustra said. “I wish the Hawks and the City of Boise the best in moving forward. But my primary responsibility as university president is to make the best choices for the future of Boise State.”

    All along, Boise State officials have been clear that they have been open to the idea of a downtown stadium because of the opportunities it could provide for collegiate baseball — but that no arrangements had been finalized. The downtown stadium project remained one of the options the university was pursuing until this week. University officials called city leaders and others to tell them personally of the decision.

  • “We are in the middle of the hiring process for our baseball head coach, and an on-campus stadium will be a major selling point — both to the individual we ultimately hire, and to the future student-athletes that will be recruited to Boise State,” Athletic Director Curt Apsey said.

RELEASE FROM CITY OF BOISE: 

  •  Boise State would have been a natural tenant for the Boise Sports Park, so we are disappointed to hear that Agon Sports and Entertainment and Boise State were not able to reach an agreement. However, our independent analysis shows that the Boise Sports Park could be highly successful without Boise State as a tenant.  We are excited by the continued interest of the Boise School District and the other possible users of the sports park and will move ahead with the process to ensure that the project is a good fit for its neighbors and for the city has a whole. We wish Boise State baseball and women’s soccer a successful future.

     

Boise Hawks no more? City leaders push for name change

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A pair of city leaders hope the Boise Hawks will change its feathers.

BoiseDev was provided with a large trove of documents from Concerned Boise Taxpayers, obtained by the group under public records requests.

Correspondence this summer between Boise City Council member and CCDC board member Scot Ludwig and Greenstone Properties CEO Chris Schoen indicates the idea to "rebrand" the team is in the works.

Ludwig pitched names like the Boise Chukars, Boise Rapids, Boise Rocks -- and even Boise Sheepherders.  

Ludwig and Boise Mayor Dave Bieter spent time brainstorming ideas, according to an email from Ludwig to Schoen.

"Oh there were about 30 that the Mayor and I came up with. As you can imagine he liked the Sheepherders.....lol"

Ludwig quickly realized a conflict with nearby Idaho Falls on one name.

"There is already an Idaho Falls Chuckars (sic). Rapids!!!!!"

Schoen appeared to acknowledge the rebranding process and liked one of Ludwig's ideas.

"Rapids will be in the running!," he wrote. "The Boise Rocks is pretty good too (we're the Rockies affiliate). Keep thinking!"

Jeff Eiseman, president and partner at Agon Sports & Entertainment, a co-owner of the Hawks told BoiseDev a name change is a big if.

"We have had minimal discussion on that but it's been a few years," he said. "If and that's IF the club rebrands it would involve our fans involvement and not through an email. Those names don't seem like strong candidates."

Eiseman said a new soccer team could make it more challenging to also rename and revamp the Hawks.

"Ultimately the soccer team needs to be named and colors chosen. That's a lot of new branding if you throw in the Hawks."

"Any and all branding will include the most important voices: the fans/supporters."

A request for comment from the City of Boise went unreturned.  

Packaging a narrative: Inside the Boise Stadium push

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NEWS ANALYSIS

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter hopes a stadium will be built in his downtown.

In the past ten days, in coordination with public agencies in which he has control or large influence, a carefully laid out plan has rolled out to sell it to the public.

First, a carefully pitched story in the Statesman.

Next, a jolly public hearing.

Then, a Facebook post on the City’s public page (followed by misleading information, more on that in a moment).

On Thursday, a quick window of public feedback.

Precise. Tight. Simple.

It follows a pattern I've observed over the past year for projects that include the City of Boise, Capital City Development Corporation, Greater Boise Auditorium District and others.

Leaders toil very quietly for months - working hard to keep their work from public view.  When the time is right, they uncork the plan and move as swiftly as possible. Public feedback is generally nominal - and sometimes later presented in a misleading way. 

In a diminished media era with little to no scrutiny on City Hall and related agencies - it’s more straightforward than ever to move forward a preset agenda.

Public leaders do everything they can to avoid scrutiny before they are ready.

As readers of BoiseDev know, many stories and scoops are borne from public records. In fact, most are.

That doesn’t mean we don’t engage with spokespeople, business leaders and others - but good stories are more often found in public meetings and records than in “access journalism,” which comes from writing positive stories in order to get more tips and scoops  

I don't get a ton of access. In fact, I get the distinct impression some folks wish they didn't have to deal with the scrutiny. Sometimes emails go without response. I've been derisively called "our friend Don" in interagency emails, and had emails go back and forth with code like "DD" and "a local journalist" so the public records are harder to find. I've also observed evidence that officials are using their private emails to conduct public business.

That's all a bit agitating at times - but it's an easy reminder that journalists work for their readers and not for public officials whose salaries are paid with tax dollars.

After our initial story on the stadium last February, a member of the CCDC board and Boise City Council, Scot Ludwig, went to a another news outlet with full details on the stadium. 

The move startled folks with both of those agencies - with a flurry of emails traded back-and-forth essentially saying "it wasn't us." It also surprised the developer - who told me at the time he wasn't expecting the story.

I had inquired about the stadium, requested documents and been given very little information - due in part perhaps to coverage of the Boise streetcar and other municipal issues that took a more critical look than is often found elsewhere.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation say the story was rushed to another reporter because they were fearful of a more critical dig into the issue.

Extensive public records requests this year show public officials work to shield things from view, or decide how to frame them. When I began looking at a hush hush closed-door meeting with top business leaders on the stadium last month, I was not provided with documents but instead had to ask for them in a formal request. The City, by state law, can delay handing them out for up to ten days.

As soon as the request was made - a note went from the folks who handle the public records request to city spokespeople - cc’ed up to and including the mayor - noting the request came in and that they would “have to turn it over after ten days.”

The document existed and would have been an easy email forward.  But by working the mechanics of the process, they were able to keep the public in the dark until they were ready to run their plan.  

Back to that Facebook post.

Several commentors noted they weren't happy that tax dollars were being used.

The City of Boise official account noted "there will be zero impact on personal taxes."

This is untrue.

After I commented pointing this out -- noting that the $3 million comes from the City of Boise General Fund - an account which is made up of tax collections, the City backtracked.

"Don and David, our apologies if we came across misleading. Yes, the $3 million is from the general fund which does come from tax payer dollars, however, your taxes will not see an increase for this project."

Citizens will have to make up their own mind if public tax dollars should be used for a private development. But the only way this can happen is if leaders are forthcoming and honest.  

There are many additional angles to the Boise Stadium story that deserve public scrutiny.  There is a significant opposition group that is forming - and though its motives aren't fully clear, they appear ready to dig in and fight at a level perhaps unseen in local government in a while.

I'll keep digging. (And if you know something, I always appreciate your tips - don@boisedev.com is easy-to-remember!)

Edited to remove a couple of paragraphs that may have caused confusion.

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CCDC to consider new Shoreline renewal district near proposed stadium

The Capital City Development Corporation is moving forward with plans to form a fifth urban renewal district - which would include the land around a proposed Downtown Boise stadium project.

The new area would include portions of the current 30th Street district and River Myrtle Old Boise districts, as well as additional land. It would also, for the first time, move CCDC's urban renewal efforts south of the Boise River by including an area around Lusk St.

BoiseDev first reported the agency was looking at options for an additional urban renewal district in April.

An urban renewal district works by capping property tax collections to agencies like schools, police, fire and roads at the level they stand at the time the district is created.  Then, when and if urban renewal efforts and natural property value increase the tax collection amounts of the properties inside that district - the "extra" tax money is funneled to CCDC for a period of up to twenty years.

CCDC often secures bonds on the so-called "tax increment," allowing it to fund projects upfront and pay for them over the life of the district.

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The newly created area would include 128 parcels according to consultant SB Friedman - with about 100 buildings. It would total 191 acres, including 26 acres of the Boise River and 49 acres of road and other public property.

The consultant group studied the area and found that less than one in four buildings were deemed to be "deteriorating." It also said the road grid in the area was "defective or inadequate."

The report also says crime has been increasing in the proposed district - with  the crime rate increasing in each of the past five years.

CCDC officials tell BoiseDev the findings will next be presented to the City Council, which would consider creation of the new urban renewal district.

Stay tuned to BoiseDev for additional exclusive reporting on the stadium story this week.  

Fmr. Albertsons CEO, Stampede owner to BoiseDev: Downtown stadium isn't the right fit

EXCLUSIVE

Gary Michael addresses members of the GBAD board before the formal start of their meeting Wednesday

Gary Michael addresses members of the GBAD board before the formal start of their meeting Wednesday

A group of prominent Boise business people is concerned about a stadium proposed for Americana Blvd. in Boise - and they are speaking up.

Greenstone Properties is proposing to build a stadium and mixed-use project on land currently owned by St. Luke's Health System. It would host the Boise Hawks, a possible soccer team and other uses if the project comes to fruition.

Former Albertsons CEO Gary Michael sent a letter to the Greater Boise Auditorium District this month - and along with members of his group Concerned Boise Taxpayers - he attended a Wednesday meeting of the group.

GBAD officials acknowledged the letter and assembled group, but said it was too early to take comments.

"We haven’t considered a project or been asked to," GBAD chair Jim C. Walker said. "If we are, we will have a formal comment period. Right now it is a bit premature as there is nothing on the table formally."

Michael spoke to BoiseDev outside the meeting.

He says he and his group have major concerns about the project - including the tax impact and fit of the stadium for the neighborhood.

"It is absolutely the wrong project for that space," he said. "We’ve got neighborhoods, the best parks, the best Greenbelt. The (neighborhood is) redeveloping privately. It doesn’t need a redevelopment process to do it."

READ MORE: 
CCDC weighs options for new district to help fund stadium

Michael was joined by several Boise community leaders - including former Idaho Stampede owner Bill Ilett.  Ilett's experience with the Stampede gives him a unique outlook on minor league sports projects.  Ilett was the managing investor in the Stampede before selling it to the Utah Jazz - which ultimately moved the team to Salt Lake.

"Major league sports make money and has a huge economic impact," he said. But on the other hand:  "Minor league does not - whether it's baseball or hockey or basketball - it's a non-revenue producer.  The owners of these teams do a public service to the community. The return on investment is zero."

He also says community interest isn't what stadium backers make it out to be.

"The interest from the communities is basically zero.  Take this area of 600,000 people: there are probably 3,000 that might have a sincere interest in (baseball, hockey or soccer)," he said. 

Michael notes stadium backers point out that the Americana property is already off the tax rolls since it is owned by non-profit St. Luke's Health System.  But St. Luke's is moving those people to the Washington Group Plaza, which would come off the tax rolls - leading to a net decrease in property tax collections.

Update, July 28, 2017: A St. Luke's Health System representative notes the 1500 Shoreline property is currently taxed - which filings with the Ada County Assesor confirm.  The hospital group paid $171,618 in taxes in for 2016 based upon a valuation of about $10.4 million - about 1.6%. Additionally, SLHS also notes the WGI complex will stay on the tax rolls due to the nature of the tax structure of the deal.  The "central plaza" portion of that complex was taxed $720,192 in 2016 on a valuation of $43.9 million - also about 1.6%.

"The City of Hartford is headed for bankruptcy," he said. "People really need to do their homework."

Hartford is mulling a chapter nine bankruptcy after it ran into problems with nearly half its parcels carrying tax exempt status, according to Fox News.

"You make these decisions in isolation and pretty soon you have a problem," Michael said. "We've got most of Boise paying no property taxes. Who is going to pay for fire and police protection?"

The Idaho Statesman reported in 2016 that 54% of land in Ada County does not contribute property taxes of any kind.

READ MORE:
How would a stadium be paid for?

Ilett, who owns property near the proposed stadium as well as a stake in the Inn at 500 Capitol says he is concerned about a model that would have the GBAD group commit hotel tax revenues for a stadium.

"Baseball or soccer isn't going to put more heads in beds. Why should they tap hotel money?"

He thinks the project's developers - Greenstone Properties - should try to make the project work without tax dollars - just like the Idaho Steelheads did with CenturyLink Arena.

"Build it and see if they can make it an economic return - but don’t rely on public money," Ilett said. " There are too many things we need to do with that money (for all residents)."

Michael hopes people will take a close look at any deal before it is pushed through.

"We love Boise. Do your homework. See what they're doing. We think it is absolutely the wrong place for a baseball stadium."

Former Albertsons CEO comes out swinging against Boise ballpark

Gary G. Michael spent a decade at the top of Boise-based grocer Albertsons - seeing it grow to the top of the industry before leaving in 2001.

Now he is back in the spotlight for a very different reason - he's demanding accountability for a planned public/private partnership for a new ballpark planned for Americana Blvd. near the Boise River.

Michael sent a letter to the Greater Boise Auditorium asking for a number of specific measures before any ballpark project is approved. The letter was first reported by the Boise Guardian

In short, the letter asks the GBAD board and/or the City of Boise to conduct analysis and studies on:

  • Traffic generated by the project
  • Noise impact
  • Lighting impact
  • Environmental impact, especially as it pertains to Kathryn Albertson and Ann Morrison Parks. Michael notes Albertson park was donated by JA & Kathryn Albertson - founders of the company he used to lead.
  • Impact on businesses in the area and "loss in property value."

The letter asserts that the studies should take "3-6 months," and ask results to be shared with citizens.

Michael's group has not filed with the State of Idaho.

The GBAD is scheduled to take up the issue at a Wednesday board meeting.

How will a Boise Stadium be paid for?

Field of money dreams. BoiseDev.com photo illustration

Field of money dreams. BoiseDev.com photo illustration

The machinery of various agencies in the City of Trees is working to help make a stadium a reality. But one detail has largely been papered over: How will it be paid for?

During Thursay's State of Downtown Boise event, a short panel discussion was held on the stadium idea - and BoiseDev.com has obtained new documents that help illustrate the possible path forward.

Top line: Greenstone Properties buys the land from St. Luke's. Greenstone donates the land for the stadium. CCDC/GBAD/City of Boise pay for the stadium, and some public agency owns it. Greenstone builds offices/hotels/retail around it. Tax values go up and it pays for the stadium.  That's the idea, at least.

The details:

  • It pays for itself: Boise Mayor Dave Bieter turns a phrase to say the stadium funds... itself: "The stadium is the catalyst for the development that helps pay for the stadium. That really is the magic that makes it happen."  
  • Say what now? The mayor claims that public funds would be used - "We anticipate some city capital and some auditorium district capital in the mix."  In addition, the Capital City Development Corporation is working to create a new urban renewal district in the area around the stadium.  The hope is that the stadium will anchor a development and attract additional investment in the area - raising property values and bringing more tax dollars in.
  • CCDC in the mix: CCDC would create a fifth urban renewal district downtown around the stadium. A February 1st draft term sheet obtained by BoiseDev shows for the first time how this thing could get paid for: "CCDC will support the project and will participate financially– including the ability to provide taxable or tax-exempt bonds to assist in the financing. The Bonds will be based on the projected increment generated by the project."
    • Shorter: CCDC creates a district and collects the increased taxes that could come from increased property taxes around the stadium.  In anticpation, they take out a bond so the cash can be put up right away.
  • Who owns this deal? A public agency. But which one? Unclear.  CCDC says the stadium has to be owned by some public agency -- but the draft term sheet says it would "not be responsible for any operations, management or programming." CCDC says the developer would have to donate the land under the stadium for the project.
  • Is GBAD good for this? That seems to be the idea.  Bieter mentioned that agency Thursday - and the CCDC doc mentions that the auditorium district could contribute $5 million of its funds to the stadium.  In a Tuesday election, Bieter helped replace a foe with a friend on the GBAD board.
  • Timeline: The CCDC district could get finalized this year. GBAD would also have to figure out how to fund the piece it is expected to contribute. Chris Schoen with Greenstone Properties, which is the developer on the project, said he wants to move fast. "The goal is to be able to break ground 12-18 months from today. It would take another 16 months to build. We could be ready for soccer in the 2020 season. 

 

CCDC weighs options for new district to help fund stadium

EXCLUSIVE

In support of a project to build a new multi-use stadium near the Boise River, the Capital City Development Corporation in connection with the City of Boise has been weighing the creation of a fifth urban renewal district to help fund the project.

An urban renewal district works by capping property tax collections to agencies like schools, police, fire and roads at the level they stand at the time the district is created.  Then, when and if urban renewal efforts and natural property value increase the tax collection amounts of the properties inside that district - the "extra" tax money is funneled to CCDC for a period of up to twenty years.

ALSO READ: Quiet effort could bring urban renewal to Boise's bench

CCDC often secures bonds on the so-called "tax increment," allowing it to fund projects upfront and pay for them over the life of the district.

It isn't clear how much of the funds from a new urban renewal district would be used for a stadium.  In a draft term sheet from February, CCDC notes that it "does not prefer to use 100% of the increment generated for a single project unless there are undue circumstance."

In an April 6th document obtained by BoiseDev via a public records request, CCDC outlines five options for a new district within an are it is studying in the general vicinity of the proposed stadium.

OPTION A

The largest proposed area pulls in the entire area the agency studied - which includes a large swath of land south of the Interstate 184 Connector, south of the river near Royal Blvd., and an area adjacent to Kathryn Albertson Park.

This proposal would include removing chunks of two current CCDC districts - the "River-Myrtle/Old Boise" area and the "30th Street" area, as well as adding more land area not currently in an urban renewal district.

According to the agency, this would fund $1.33 million in annual increment dollars.  CCDC says the pros of this plan would enable flexibility with any future plans.  It outlines the cons as taking flexibility away from the River-Myrtle area, and including "residential areas that are usually 'high cost' areas to include in a URD."

This option is also said to be "politically sensitive" because it includes residential areas.

OPTION B

The second plan outlined is the smallest area - it includes just 11 acres, which consists of the land that St. Luke's Health System plans to sell for a stadium project as well as some right of way in the area.  It would generate $92,644 in annual increment.

CCDC says the pros of this plan would be low impact to the River-Myrtle funding picture. It lists cons as creating less flexibility and makes the district entirely dependent on the stadium project for its success. 

OPTION C

 

This grows the district size from option B, by adding parcels that are right next to the 11-acre stadium area.  CCDC estimates it would crank out $149,130 in annual increment.

The pros are said to be "low impact to existing (River-Myrtle area) and ability to continue assistance in the area pre-Stadium." The report also says it would include few residential parcels.

The cons are noted as continuing to have low flexibility in the future and being based highly on the stadium project. It also says it would limit CCDC's ability to help improve roads and the Boise River Greenbelt. 

OPTION D

 

This idea again grows from option C, and throws in both sides of the riverbank that contain the Greenbelt, plus adding the office parks along the Boise River on River Street and a portion of the Lusk St. neighborhood south of the Boise River.

Despite the significantly larger area, CCDC says this would only generate $20,000 more in funds from option C - a total of about $169,853.

The plus side of this scenario according to the agency are similar to the option above, and adds the ability to decrease surface parking on River St., plus helping with plans for a future Library! expansion and the area near BSU.

Boise State is also listed as a con of this option - and "unclear whether Lusk District needs (urban renewal). 

OPTION E

The final option builds on option D, but adds chunks of land across Americana on both sides of the Boise River.  

This concept would generate a total of $276,950 in estimated increment funds. The pros and cons here are similar to option D.

The timeline

In a February document, CCDC said it would present an initial plan for the district during its April 6th meeting. BoiseDev attended that meeting and the plans were not submitted - which would likely impact the rest of the timeline document.  It initially noted a target date of June 6th for approval by Boise City Council.

Stadium or not, tenant expansion for iVinci Health

One of the questions we couldn't find an answer to was whether the AgriBeef building at the corner of Shoreline and Americana would be part of a proposed stadium complex in Downtown Boise.  The owner of the building, AgriBeef's CEO, didn't respond to request for comment, as did owners of the group that hopes to build the stadium.

But current tenant iVinci Health has filed with the City of Boise to expand its space in the building, according to filings.

iVinci calls itself an "entrepreneurial healthcare financial technology company" and has filed to add 1,300 square feet to its existing first-floor space.

Answers to stadium questions: the sun, taxes, dentists, Broncos and soccer

Monday's announcement that Greenstone Properties has a letter of intent to acquire 11-acres of land from St. Luke's Health System has set social media ablaze (after BoiseDev first posted the story, the site saw a record traffic day).

What, exactly, would Greenstone buy from St. Luke's? What about the dentist?

According to SLHS spokesperson Anita Kissée, they are selling five separate parcels (see map below):

  • The old Kmart site
  • A portion of the old Kmart parking lot that housed an auto center
  • The former Total Woman Fitness parcel across Spa St
  • The old Beehive Salon spot
  • The current Shoreline Center location that sits on the Greenbelt

That leaves several parcels in question - most prominently the current Summit Dental and Agri-Beef buildings.  Of note, both buildings are shown in the aerial rendering provided by Greenstone. BoiseDev has reached out to the property owners, and have not yet heard back.

Greenstone gave this statement to BoiseDev:

We are not in a position to identify any other parcels that are part of our acquisition at this time. We have enough land through the St. Luke's Acquisition to execute the stadium and parcels that we will need to deliver to effect the financial plan to fund the required revenue to fund the bond payments for the public pieces. Understanding that the process to get to ground breaking will be significant and time consuming, we will look for additional parcels that complement the St. Luke's parcels and can make for projects that will work financially and contribute to the mixed use environment that we are seeking to create.

The Agri-Beef building is owned by RDT Real Estate which lists Agri-Beef CEO Robert Rebholtz as its primary owner. Request for comment from Rebholtz has not yet been returned.

The Summit Dental plot is owned by Shoreline Properties, which lists the doctors in the dental practice as its owners.  Request for comment has not yet been returned.

Another building at the corner of River St. and 15th St. carries St. Luke's branding but is currently owned by a coalition of doctors operating under the "OSCI" operating entity.  This parcel is not part of the stadium deal.

The sun! My eyes!

Many folks have looked at the released renderings and expressed concern about the hot summer sun during the Boise Hawks' summer season.

This is already an issue at Memorial Stadium in Garden City - with the sun beating down on spectators on the first baseline, causing a less-than-pleasant experience. 

Jeff Eiseman, Agon Sports President and Partner says though design details aren't fully worked out, they are working to keep the sun at bay.

"The stadium is stacked with club seats and suites on 3rd base side which will provide ample shading," he told BoiseDev.com. "In addition, this does not account for the mass of buildings from the development or the lightpole structures for when the sun is higher. "

Eiseman says they have designed the stadium so that no seats face directly west, and the first baseline looks toward the northwest.

"The sun will not be nearly the issue it is at Memorial Stadium."

Tell me more about the design!

Eiseman tells BoiseDev the field could actually sink down below grade. "We don't know how deep we can go due to the water table.  The field may be lowered and the design will be augmented as we get further along," he said.

He notes that the renderings are just conceptual right now - and will likely change as the process goes along.

In an interview on ESPN Boise Monday, Eiseman teased some other key design elements.

“It’s clearly a thoroughly modern venue, very different than what we have at Memorial Stadium," he told The Drive hosts Alex Gold & Joey Jenikins. "(It will have a) 360-degree wraparound concourse, indoor club space as well as suites. Plus, millions of dollars of LED display technology - and we are going to bring you right on top of the action.”

Yeah, where am I gonna park?

"As part of this there's going to be a $200-million plus ballpark village with a live-work-play environment," Eiseman said on ESPN Boise. "There's also multiple parking structures that will be part of this project."

That looks like a soccer field to me. What about baseball?

Jeff Eiseman told ESPN Boise that renderings for baseball configurations are still being worked on - and they hope to release those in the future.

Could the Hawks move up from short season A?

Eiseman told ESPN Boise that isn't in the plans right now - they need the available dates for other things like soccer, concerts and the like. The Hawks currently play about 36 home games per year, and the USL schedules roughly 12 games at home.

I'm really more into soccer, bub. What's the deal?

"We've probably gotten more questions about soccer than we have baseball," Eiseman told ESPN Boise. "We're going to showcase soccer and the USL like no one else." 

Eiseman said on Twitter that they would cover the dirt infield with "lots of sod" and would employ "a hydraulic mound" to switch between a pitch and a field.

He says they hope to be able to accommodate 7,500 fans in the configuration for soccer. Things like a brand for the team haven't been worked out yet, but Eiseman told ESPN Boise that would be a process that involves the community.

Yeah, OK, when?

Eiseman told ESPN Boise there's still a chance this could be open by the 2019 season if several factors line up. He says 2020 is more likely.

Greenstone's other stadium project in N. Augusta, GA has been in the works since 2012 and is currently set to open by 2018.

What about Boise State?

Greenstone officials as well as Boise City Councilor Scot Ludwig have teased that Boise State could be part of the stadium project.

For now, nothing is set in stone according to Boise State Associate Vice President for Communication and Marketing Greg Hahn. 

"Boise State officials have been in on some discussions about the possibilities of a downtown sports facility," Hahn told BoiseDev. "The university has long considered adding baseball as a potential future sport and we have a women's soccer team — university leaders are always interested in expanding opportunities and experiences for students."

But for now, no announcement about the blue & orange playing on the new green field of dreams is imminent.

"We aren't at any decision point on changes in athletics, and haven't been party to any agreements on the facility."

Are my taxes going to go up?

Last month, Ludwig told Jeff Caves "In this case, we're not anticipating any tax increase to pay for this project."

A portion of the stadium project would be financed through public funds.  This potentially would be done through the creation of an urban renewal district and tax increment financing.

TIF "freezes" the tax collection going to the usual entities - like schools, police, fire, roads and the like. They would get the same cash every year that they get now - but any additional funds gathered through increased property values from the project would be diverted to the urban renewal district.

This does mean taxpayers in the rest of the city could pay more. For instance, Boise Schools spokesperson Dan Hollar tells BoiseDev that when another CCDC project - the Central District - sunsets next year, they expect to get nearly a million dollars per year that currently gets funneled to CCDC. 

A new stadium could increase the demand for some services - like, for instance, police protection. Because BPD would get the same amount of funds from the area now as it does in the future, the bill for those extra services would be spread across citizens throughout the city.

What would this new CCDC district look like?

Talk of a new district for the stadium from the Capital City Development Corporation to draw TIF funds and purchase bonds has been talked about, but CCDC Executive Director John Brunelle said nothing is set in stone, yet.

"Early CCDC work has been brief meetings to discuss and take some uninformed attempts at drawing boundaries," he said. "Nothing is ready for board or council review yet, might be a few weeks."

Is a stadium an auditorium?

In yesterday's news release, Greenstone said the Greater Boise Auditorium District could be part of the project.  How that might take place or what form isn't fully baked yet, according to GBAD Executive Director Pat Rice.

"Operating a sports facility is within the District’s statutory mandate," he said - it it can be tricky due to a 2010 Idaho Supreme Court decision. 

"Operating a sports facility is within the District’s statutory mandate, but in 2010 the Idaho Supreme Court decision in the Pocatello case held that an auditorium district is one to build, operate. maintain, market and manage one of the statutorily listed facilities.  The Supreme Court said the use of the word “and” meant a district must do all of those things.  Through the joint powers statute, the District might be able to cooperate with other public entities in doing these things."

Rice says no proposal has been put in front of the GBAD board. 

"There has been over time the suggestion/question as to the District participation at a cash level, but that hasn’t been determined either," he said.

What will become of Memorial Stadium in Garden City?

If the Hawks make this deal and leave their current location along the river in Garden City - what will happen to their current 1980s-era stadium? The ground underneath that facility is owned by Ada County as part of its Expo Idaho complex.

In a statement provided by Ada County Public Information Officer Kate McGwire - the county commissioners say, essentially, it is too soon to tell.

"The Boise Hawks have not included the county in their plans and have not notified us of their intent to vacate their lease. Decisions will be made if and when that happens."

St. Luke's agrees to sell land for downtown stadium

Soccer configuration for soccer stadium at Americana & Shorline

Soccer configuration for soccer stadium at Americana & Shorline

FIRST ON BOISEDEV.COM

 

St. Luke's Health System has agreed to sell a parcel of land it owns at Americana Blvd. and Shoreline Drive in Boise to Greenstone Properties - to be used as a new mixed-use project anchored by a baseball stadium.

The stadium would house the Boise Hawks - currently playing in Memorial Stadium in Garden City, and a potential future soccer team.

ALSO READ: Q&A on what's next for Boise's stadium dream

Terms of the deal to purchase the 11-acre parcel were not immediately disclosed. St. Luke's spokesperson Anita Kissee tells BoiseDev that the parties have signed a non-binding letter of intent and will now work to negotiate the details.

BoiseDev first noted progress on a stadium project in February when we reported Boise's redevelopment agency had budgeted $150,000 in taxpayer dollars to study a stadium downtown. 

“This was a critical piece in putting the stadium and development puzzle together.  We are grateful for the continued friendship and support of St. Luke’s and are excited about working with the city in earnest on the redevelopment of this new urban renewal district," Boise Hakws president Jeff Eiseman said in a prepared statement.

The deal with St. Luke's helps the project clear a major hurdle on its way to becoming a reality. The deal is predicated on the creation of a new urban renewal district to be administered by the Capital City Development Corp. That would allow CCDC to collect taxpayer dollars to make improvements and help fund portions of the stadium project.  The dollars would be taken in through a mechanism known as tax increment financing - allowing any tax dollars drawn from increased property values to be diverted from schools, police and other agencies and funneled to CCDC. 

Greenstone would potentially have to purchase some adjoining properties, and told the Idaho Business Review it was working to do so.

BoiseDev email alert subscribers learned of this story before anyone else. Are you on the list?

Greenstone says it expects investment of $200 million in private funds.

"The Boise Hawks, Greenstone Properties, and St. Luke's Health System have stepped-up in their own respective and important way to make this Multi-Use Stadium closer to reality," Boise City Councilor Scot Ludwig said in a prepared statement. "Now it is time for the City of Boise, CCDC, and GBAD to do the same in keeping with our commitment to preserve and enhance the quality of life Boisean’s (sic) cherish as we grow and seek new economic development opportunities.”  

St. Luke's will move staff and services currently housed at the complex to other properties it owns - including the Washington Group Plaza on Park Blvd. in Boise, near the health system's downtown medical center.

The Boise Hawks currently play in Memorial Stadium in Garden City - an aging stadium on land owned by Ada County.  Agon Sports purchased the team two seasons ago with the intent to move it to a newer, updated stadium.

Rendering of Greenstone's The Ballpark at Hammonds Ferry - planned for N. August, GA

Rendering of Greenstone's The Ballpark at Hammonds Ferry - planned for N. August, GA

Greenstone anticipates the project would also include multi-family housing, office, retail space, parking and a potential future hotel.

Greenstone is also working to build a riverfront stadium in North Augusta, Georgia to house the Augusta Green Jackets. That project has been beset by delays - and has been in the works since 2012. The latest targeted opening for the August project is 2018.

Stadium design

Tod Schultz with Stadia Design describes the project:

“The 14th Street elevation of the ballpark is the Hawk’s Nest, anchored by the central, multi-level tower and dynamic “nest” structure.  It is centered in the soccer pitch.  An open viewing terrace runs from the nest down the first base line and is conceived as flex space.  Pavilions, floating bars, sponsorship zones…fantastic views to the field.  The home plate entrance is designed as a new Boise piazza…it’s a living room for the city to hold concerts, events, and festivals.  When the stadium is used for soccer, the left field wall pads are removed to expose an open-air Club Lounge at field elevation.  It will be filled with passionate fans as players pass through on their exit from the locker room to the pitch…directly on axis with the Hawks nest tower across the park.  Operable glass walls, rooftop experiences akin to Coors Field in Denver and terrace views of the river will make the stadium one of the best in the country.”