The Flicks gets special sign with hidden secret


Boise independent movie theater The Flicks opened in 1984 - and for most of its life had good visibility on Myrtle St. in Downtown Boise.  

But the new Inn at 500 Capitol built around the theater on two sides - blocking it from view of traffic and passersby.  

Hawkins Co., which owns the hotel property, applied last year with the City of Boise and Idaho Transportation Department for a waiver to add a sign outside the hotel along Myrtle St. Boise's guidelines generally don't allow "off premise" signs, but planning & zoning commissioners agreed to allow this one through.  


The sign has unique details that help it double as an art piece. It is styled like an old-school movie projector with  film strip featuring frames of Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire from their movie Swing Time. 

As I was taking pictures for this story, a nice woman walking by said "look in the lens!" I hadn't considered that the lens of the projector would show anything - but there's a hidden surprise of sorts:


Major upgrades planned for Bogus Basin's summer & winter operations

The new base area plan for summer

The new base area plan for summer


Bogus Basin marks 75 years in operation in 2017 - and big changes are on the horizon. obtained the master plan for the resort via publicly available records. It outlines dozens of changes set for coming years - with many focused on improving summer visitation, and giving new skiers a better experience when snow covers the ground. The project went before the Boise County Planning & Zoning commission last fall unnoticed. P&Z granted the resort's conditional use permit request unanimously without any member of the public offering comment, according to meeting minutes. 

Nearly every facet of the resort is mentioned for improvements - from better food to improved terrain to upgraded lifts to scores of new summer features and more.

ALSO READ: see pics of new Sandbar upgrade  

The changes - especially in the summer - are aimed at helping Bogus have more longterm financial stability, according to Bogus Basin Director of Development Susan Saad.

“We still have several millions of dollars in debt, however with the combination of strong season pass sale and strong winter season we just had - our board was able to approve $4.3 million of funding toward these activities this summer," Saad said. "Our hope is that this will generate new revenue that will help us when winter isn’t as phenomenal as this year.”

The summer improvements are slated to happen this season -- with new attractions opening in stages this year.

The master plan follows outreach by the resort in recent years to understand industry trends and what visitors hope to see. The project was conducted by SE Group - and new general manager Brad Wilson has been key in moving the project forward, according to Saad.

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The report is more than 100 pages. Here's the BoiseDev summary:


While the winter upgrades are significant,  summer additions are aimed at boosting the resort's nascent operation in the warm part of the year - which would give adventure seekers many new options.

"We’re pretty excited to be moving forward with these projects," Saad said. "We will begin working as soon as operations wind down this April and the snow melts. In fact, we may be moving snow out of the way."

  • A public hearing is slated for next week to grant a variance for a new ropes course.  The variance would allow Bogus to build the planned "aerial adventure course" which would operate on the lower slopes near the Deer Point and Showcase chairlifts. The course could travel up the hill in future phases. The ropes course is approved in principle by Boise County through the CUP process. 
  • A new canopy tour would be installed at the Pioneer base area and would zig-zag down to the base of the Bitterroot lift, and could expand to the Superior Express lift in the future.  The tour would be a series of zip lines and skybridges allowing visitors to experience sweeping views of the Treasure Valley.
  • An Alpine Coaster would be built on the lower slopes of the newly rerouted Morning Star lift near the Simplot Lodge. The coaster operates from three to twenty feet of the ground - and could be open during both the summer and winter months. It will open by August 1 according to Saad.
    • “Riding an alpine coaster involves traveling in a self-braking, two-person sled which travels on two tubular rails," the report notes. "This allows for a closed loop system so that participants begin and end their ride in the same location. The ride is exciting and varied, and may include curves, corkscrews, and downhill stretches. Centrifugal brakes control maximum speeds, and riders may control their speed at all times allowing for a unique hands-on experience for all ages”
    • I've ridden a mountain coaster in Park City. It's a blast - check out this video.
  • Summer tubing would use the same tubes used for the current Gold Rush snow tubing feature, but setting up a synthetic surface to allow for summer sliding. This is slated for July 1.
  • A new, larger amphitheater would be built below the current smaller ampitheater, allowing for larger events like concerts. A 200-seat facility is planned right in front of the Simplot lodge.
  • Upgrade mountain biking facilities and trails, including a bike skills and pump track area near the Simplot lodge with a focus on kids
  • A fun zone would be set up near the Simplot Lodge. The final configuration of attractions hasn't been determined, but could include climbing walls, water wars, panning for gold, a bungee trampoline and more.
    • "Activities that fit within the outdoor adventure and mining theme would be preferred," the report says.
  • Expanded summer programs including kids mountain day camps and mountain bike camps.
  • Improved landscaping and sod around the base area.
  • Disc golf would be moved to a different area to allow for the expanded amenities.


The winter plans will roll out over the next ten years.

"The other improvements are spaced out strategically over the course of the next several years," Saad said.

  • Reroute and upgrade the Morning Star lift: It currently can serve 900 skiers per hour. It's the primary way to get to several beginner runs as well as the main route between the upper and lower lodges which makes it a popular attraction. Upgrades would double capacity to 1,800 skiers and would move the bottom of the lift closer to the Simplot Lodge to make it easier to access from the base area. The lift will be upgraded to a high-speed quad according to Saad.
  • Snowmaking: Right now snowmaking is limited at Bogus.  The master plan would add much more manmade snow capacity to areas around the Coach, Deer Point and Morning Star lifts. “Snowmaking coverage has become a necessity," the report notes - and says it is found at 90% of resorts.  The project would happen in two phases - and at full buildout would give Bogus the ability to service 64 acres with man-made snow.
    • Future runs with top-to-bottom snowmaking: Upper Pioneer, Coach's Corner, Lower Ridge, Stewart's Bowl, Upper Ridge, Shaker Ridge, Lodge Cat Track, Morning Star, Silver Queen, Bogus Creek Trail, Showcase, Lulu, Sunshine and Pioneer Trail. Also, snowmaking would be added to the tubing hill (see below).
    • “This system will allow Bogus Basin to open the resort on those runs, and stay open for a guaranteed length of season," the report said.

    • The snowmaking system could also be used for fire suppression at Simplot Lodge and the communications facilities at Deer Point in the summer.  This capability was key in protecting facilities at Sun Valley from fires in recent years.

  • Coach lift upgrade and Coach's Corner changes: Currently only about 500 skiers can use this lift each hour. Upgrades would boost that to 1,200, and the lift would be shortened on the downslope side a bit to allow the base area to breathe. 
    • The area on the east side of the Coach lift could be regraded to add more beginner skiing terrain (Coach's Corner currently runs down the west side of the lift).
    • The existing magic carpets would be moved and a third carpet added to give more options to ski school students.
    • A portion of the area at the base would be regraded for better ski school use. 
  • Reconfigure runs: Make a series of changes to existing runs to improve skiing.
    • Silver Queen and Lulu would be regraded to allow for better novice skiing and use by the ski school.
    • Regrade the Lodge Cat Track. This is the only way down from some areas during night skiing - but it can be either steep or flat depending on the area. Regrading it will give it a consistent downhill slope. 
    • Make improvements off the Superior and Pine Creek runs
    • Add a connector ski route from Bitterroot to Superior. This could open Bitterroot area terrain when that lift isn't operating.
    • Undertake a large-scale brush clearing opeartion, especially focused on the backside. Some areas that used to be skiable are overgrown on all but the best (ahem, 2016-17) years.  
  • Revamp J. R. Simplot Lodge: The main lodge at the base area would get a revamp and slight expansion.  A new stair and elevator tower would be added on the west side (toward Bogus Basin Road). This will allow some of the other staircases to be removed, and free up space for a revamp of the rest of the lodge:
    • New patio off the main level facing the base area.
    • An expanded and upgraded kitchen which would allow for "higher quality food and beverage."
    • Expanded restrooms on the lower and main levels, as well as an added bathroom on the upper level.
    • Revamped seating including enclosing some of the "open to below" seating on the third level to add some space.
    • New retail/demo shop on the lower level.
  • Upgrades to the Pioneer Lodge: Though the changes aren't expected to be as large-scale as at the Simplot Lodge, this building will get added restrooms - and new interior and exterior finishes to make it more modern.  The bar and lounge area would be improved to make it a better special events venue.
  • Increase the density of lighting in some areas, especially around Deer Point. Bogus is also working on a continual project to improve lighting efficiency. 
  • Upgrade the Gold Rush tubing hill with snowmaking and a new carpet lift (replacing the handle tow). This will boost capacity here, and make sure the tubing hill can open even in poor snow years.
  • Replace the snack shack at Pine Creek with a warming yurt.
  • Parking: Parking is adequate according to the report - but some reconfiguration and improved shuttle service are in the plan. 
Main (middle) level of the expanded and revamped Pioneer Lodge

Main (middle) level of the expanded and revamped Pioneer Lodge


    St. John's plans revamp of iconic entry

    Courtesy Insight Architects

    Courtesy Insight Architects

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

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

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

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

    Another longtime downtown business pulls up stakes


    Brownfield's, a fixture at the corner of 5th and Idaho in downtown Boise has closed - consolidating with another location in Meridian.  

    The medical supply company sold prosthetics and orthotics from a building custom built for the business in 1960 - a span of 56 years. 

    It hails from an era where unique and specialty business were a key piece of downtown: musical instruments from Dunkley's, art supplies from Boise Blue and the like. All three of those businesses no longer call downtown home.  

    The building is currently for lease. It could soon get a high-profile new neighbor if plans for a five-story mixed-use retail and housing project from developer Clay Carley are realized across 5th Street. 

    ALSO READ: 5th, 6th streets set for conversion  


    CW Moore Penthouse to undergo revamp

    Rendering via Zee Christopher Facebook page

    Rendering via Zee Christopher Facebook page

    The Penthouse at the CW Moore Plaza is about to undergo a revamp.

    The 9th floor space serves two purposes -- during the workday as Zee's Rooftop Cafe, and on weekends and evenings as event space CW Penthouse.

    As an event space, the penthouse offers sweeping views of Downtown Boise and the foothills, and has hosted hundreds of wedding receptions and other events over the years.

    Both functions of the rooftop will close through mid-March for an $81,000 remodeling project.  Owner Christopher Zahn has contracted Ethos Design for the new look and reconfiguration.

    The new space is set to be open by March 15th.

    WestVet opens new, larger hospital

    Photo: WestVet Facebook

    Photo: WestVet Facebook

    WestVet chief of staff Dr. Jeff Brourman and friends cut the ribbon on the new WestVet. Photo: WestVet Facebook.

    WestVet chief of staff Dr. Jeff Brourman and friends cut the ribbon on the new WestVet. Photo: WestVet Facebook.

    If you've ever had a pet with an emergency outside of usual working hours - you've probably been to WestVet.

    The Garden City veterinary clinic cut the ribbon on its new 32,000 square foot building adjacent to its original clinic Saturday. KIVI reports the new building has five surgery suites, sixteen exam rooms and a new physical therapy area for animals.

    The new facility, like the old, is open 24 hours per day at Chinden Blvd. and 50th St.


    Zions Banks shutters Fairview branch

    Zions Bank has closed its branch on Fairview Ave. at Cole Rd. The location was a former Wells Fargo location, acquired as part of that bank's merger with First Interstate.

    Zions is left with only one branch in Boise city limits - in the 8th & Main building in Downtown Boise.  It also has locations in Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell and Wilder.


    First daycare planned for Downtown Boise

    A long-rumored daycare facility is planned for Boise's US Bank Building.

    Gardner Co. filed to build the 4,200 square ft. center last week - and would locate it on the first floor adjacent to the bank branch.

    Downtown is underserved for child care - outside of YMCA & WCA facilities along the northern fringe, and a trio of facilities at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center, there are no places for the kiddos to hang out while parents work.

    Gardner filed the conditional use permit last week.  The project had been in the works for a while - and could be open next year.

    No daycare down there

    No daycare down there

    Jacksons, Texaco again part ways in Boise


    Boise gas & convenience store giant Jacksons has rebranded its only Boise-area Texaco outlet.  

    The store at Ave. B & Main St. is now a Chevron outlet after gaining new signs Monday. 

    At at one point, all local Jacksons stores carries Texaco gas. As part of a complicated merger at the national level - Jacksons rebranded all stores under the Chevron or Shell banners.  

    The Ave B store by St. Luke's was an outlier, and picked up the Texaco star after previously being a 7-ELEVEN Location. 

    Boise-based Jacksons is a behemoth, with 234 stores across Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Seventy-six of those locations are in SW Idaho.  

    Land for popular corn maze The Farmstead on the block

    Don Day - EXCLUSIVE

    The popular local Farmstead saw national attention this year - when it carved its signature corn maze into a pattern featuring NBC's Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon.  That caught the attention of the late night host - who sent his Hashtag The Panda character out to Idaho to skydive into the maze.

    But will the Farmstead hold down the fort at its prime Eagle & I-84 location much longer?

    The land under the corn field and agri-entertainment business is on the block. The large, 51-acre parcel, is surrounded by explosive development - and sits at one of the area's largest interchanges.

    Immediately south of the property, Norco plans to anchor a new commercial development, and a new road connecting Overland Rd. with both properties is in the works.

    The Farmstead has already closed for the 2016 season - so will it return?  Owners are tight-lipped.


    "The land where we operate The Farmstead has been for sale for quite some time," Hilary Lowe of the Farmstead said by email. "There's no news beyond that."

    This is the Farmstead's second stint at Eagle and I-84. From 2006 until 2010, the business moved to Kuna before heading back to the freeway spot.

    The property is owned by Idaho Elks Rehab according to public records, and is listed at $12-million, but could be sold in pieces.  Agents with Thornton Oliver Keller note that more than 200,000 people live within a 5-mile radius of the site.

    Ochos to say 'adios' to Boise mural


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The expansion is set to open on November 3rd.

    More from Meridian Press.

    Boise gets Whole Foods hub for rural Idaho water product

    Whole Foods Market, the national grocer which focuses on organic and specialty items, is branching out in the Gem State.

    In 2013, the company bought Starkey Water - including rights to the Starkey Hot Springs in Adams County west of McCall.  Starkey is based in Council, about a two-hour drive from Boise.

    Last month, the company filed a permit for a facility south of the Boise Airport on Gowen Road.  The reason for the Boise facility? Council isn't exactly a dense urban hub.

    "There is a dearth of warehouses in Council, ID near our bottling facility," Jeff Teter with Whole Foods' Allegro Coffee division told BoiseDev. "We rent space from a local third party warehouse provider in Boise,  Air Van (AV)."

    The warehouse doesn't have any Whole Foods employees on site - but helps the company distribute the Idaho mountain product to stores around the country.

    "We store raw materials, empty glass and finished goods related to our Starkey Spring water business there and stage shipments to our Whole Foods distribution centers around the U.S.," he said. "AV has a related trucking company that shuttles our goods between Boise and Council. "

    Ambitious indoor cycling studio coming to 8th Street

    UpCycle Studio has applied to remodel the former Jos. A. Bank space on 8th Street in the BoDo development in downtown Boise.

    The $240,000 remodel will transform the former clothing store into a modern cycling studio with stadium-seated bikes with a "hi-def video and audio experience."  The ambitious project will feature locker rooms, a coffee & kombucha service and an iPad bar.  

    The studio will feature indoor cycling, TRX, barre and "yoga for cyclists," in addition to technology that will let folks visualize virtual routes as they cycle.

    The concept is the idea of a trio of Boiseans - whose short story lives here.

    Rendering via

    Rendering via

    Idaho Beach Sports to bring the sand indoors

    Despite this week's spell of 90 degree weather - it will soon cool down. And the winter months around Boise can be a little less exciting for outdoor lovers - especially if you don't like the cold.

    Idaho Beach Sports hopes to change that in time for winter of 2017.  The company has applied to build a 17,500 square foot building near Fred Meyer on Overland Rd. in Boise.  The concept would bring two large indoor sand volleyball courts and a fitness center to the area.  

    The venture's website already notes services like league volleyball, aerial skills and more.

    Filings with the City of Boise show the new building would also include space for outdoor courts on site as well.

    Boise's Planning & Zoning Commission is set to  hear the application in November.

    Umpqua Bank to add new downtown Boise branch

    Portland-based Umpqua Bank has filed to remodel the vacant Bank of America branch at Capitol & Front.  Umpqua entered the Idaho market with the purchase of Sterling Savings Bank in 2014.  The B of A branch has been vacant since the company sold its Boise-area branches to Washington Federal which already had a location a few blocks away downtown. Umpqua has an existing branch up the street in the Veltex Building at 4th & Main

    Bank musical chairs, if you will.