The bungling efforts of the Greater Boise Auditorium District have reached epic proportions as they announced Wednesday at least their fourth try to build a convention center in downtown Boise.
–Voters have turned them down twice. On the first go around they couldn’t even get 50% of the required 67% majority required by law.
–Round three was an exclusive deal with a private developer who didn’t even offer a plan because he “didn’t have time” to mess with it.
–Round four is a plan to not only build a convention center, but include an 11 story hotel on a block of publicly owned land downtown.
Their overzealous efforts included using public money to advertise in favor of their bond election and the Idaho Supreme Court declared that stunt illegal. Tens of thousands of dollars in public tax money was spent to defend the illegal ad campaign.
The latest deal is supposedly a flat out lease with no purchase option (we will believe that when we see the agreement). News reports say local developer Oppenheimer Corp. is planning a joint venture with John Q. Hammons Hotel Management to build the convention center and an Embassy Suites Hotel for $80 million on the G-BAD public land and lease it back to the G-BAD.
We wonder why the developers would want to lease it back to the G-BAD boys if it is a good business deal. Why bring in the G-BAD as a middleman if they have a profitable venture?
The GUARDIAN thinks a private venture with no lease back would make a lot more sense–even if G-BAD leased the land for $1 a year. They can’t sell the land without an auction to the highest bidder and they also have a buy back contract with the Simplot family-owned S-16 development company. The status of that deal is unknown at present.
Unfortunately, this smells like just another scheme to get around the voters. They are packing too much into too little space and potentially creating a terrible mess at the entrance/exit to the I-184 connector. The current Grove Hotel-Convention Center complex has already compromised our public sidewalk and intrudes daily into our public street, choking traffic with illegally parked cars, busses, vans, and delivery vehicles which cause traffic hazards. Capitol, Front, and 9th have lanes blocked daily.
Expect more of the same if this ill-conceived project is allowed to proceed without citizen approval.
They are also talking about using Capital City Development Corp. (Boise’s city urban renewal agency) public taxpayer funds to build a parking garage under the private developer’s structure. Not a wise move.
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