Avimor Faces Dismal Future

The Avimor planned community along Highway 55 north of Eagle has been full of hype, but little else and today things took a turn for the worse.

A GUARDIAN contributor with good sources offers this:

It is true that Avimor’s parent company SunCor Development is up for sale but has not yet changed hands. In fact, the pursuing party appears to have run into issues (most likely funding and it now appears very likely that the company (SunCor) will fall into bankruptcy.
All local employees of Avimor except one (somebody has to stay behind and turn off the lights) were laid off today.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Who is the one employee?

  2. I am sure surprised to see how delighted you are that people all over the Treasure Valley are losing their jobs because of the housing market. Our current market is what “no growth” gets you. I think you are definitely in the minority of people that like the way things are going right now.

    EDITOR NOTE–No delight, just hate to see an economy built on GROWTH, because it is bound to fail. AVIMOR, TAMARACK, CLIFFS, were all bound to fail because they didn’t have the up front cash to do as they promised. We predict the same for the one in Garden Valley as well. See next comment.

  3. Casual Observer
    Mar 12, 2010, 7:11 pm

    Two or three months ago Mr. Ricter, Suncor’s local director, testified on behalf of the neighboring PC applicant, Dry Creek Ranch. During his testimony, in response to a detractor citing Avimor as being one of the many failed local PCs, Mr. Ricter said the sale of Avimor was complete and sales were picking up.

    PC Developer = Liar

  4. The problem is not that Avimor failed. The problem is that Avimor, and others like it, exist.

    The oversupply of real estate by fools like this drive down the price, and therefore the equity, of every other home in the area. Theirs, yours, and mine. Our equity will not return until the market comes back into balance. That will take long enough by itself. The fact that the idiots running the various P&Z office around the area keep approving more and more of these debacles, in a misguided attempt to re-inflate the bubble, just exacerbates the problem and lengthens the recovery time.

  5. For more information about the sale of Avimor PC, check out Ada County BOCC Resolution No. 1666 (amends a portion of Resolution No. 1654), on the Feb. 23 agenda. SunCor was given a 30-day extension for the sale of Avimor to J.F. Shea Co., Inc. of California. The extension expires March 31. I hope Rosa or Robert is still employed! Despite what you think of the development, SunCor employed some outstanding people. I wish them luck. Everybody, including us common folk, over-extended and thought the world would be our oyster. Unfortunately many of us got shucked!

  6. My compliments to “economist”. You hit it right on. The problem is that these projects even got approved in the first place.

    Another example is the Crescent Rim (massive) Condo project. The developers were so arrogant that they thought they knew more than anyone and built something that NOBODY even wanted to buy. No the project is stopped and mothballed. The neighbor is stuck with a boondoggle.

    Not only is the project dead but the developer has refused to pay for the road improvements that are a part of his Conditional Use Permit. He owes $95,000 and had to go to the city and tell them he was broke so they would allow him to get an occupancy permit WITHOUT paying the money.

    A friend that works at ACHD tells me that “all the government agencies in the valley have been told to do whatever it takes to help the developers” – like that was not the case before.

    The best thing about Avimor is that it is not sitting in the middle of a nice neighborhood like the boondoggle condos do.

  7. Dave, your comment, made in the Comment section of your March 10th post, needs to be repeated at the beginning of every growth related post you place on your blog. Many people still do not get it. Here is what you said:

    “EDITOR NOTE– In general we oppose growth for the sake of growth. If people or businesses wish to locate here, pay their fair share of taxes and impact fees and play by the established rules, we welcome them with open arms. GROWTHOPHOBES don’t like to PAY businesses or people to come here to increase the population to justify things like a train or “create jobs.” We have been burned by the likes of Micron, Albertson, and a host of others who seek cheap labor, power, and taxes.”

    In sum, we all pay for the Avimors of the Idaho world and the developers leave us with bills (higher taxes), the mess to clean up (courts tied up with foreclosure proceedings, additional streets to maintain, etc.) and chaos (burst bubble refugees, cascading traffic congestion, etc). Still the developers seem to be so persuasive with their songs of “wealth for all” that it happens over and over again.

  8. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 13, 2010, 11:43 am

    Good comments, except for Snoop, who said: “Our current market is what “no growth” gets you.” That is the exact opposite of reality. Growth at any cost got us in this mess. Will anyone be held responsible? Don’t hold your breath.

    While in Florida recently I saw a bumper sticker: “Florida is full. Don’t even think of moving here” I thought to myself, yeah, the whole country is full.

  9. Taxed Out!

    I agree that developers are treated as prima donnas. Meridian, Ada County and other cities and counties waive development fees, yet increase levies for ordinary taxpayers. The system is upside down and nothing will change until we change the system and throw out the growth-oriented “leaders.” Developers already receive tax breaks through capped property taxes, yet are given even more incentives to build despite the economy. My sewer, water and trash bill rose in Meridian to pay for new developments that are stagnant and yet even more new developments are being approved. Taxpayers on fixed incomes who have not received cost of living adjustments for inflation and the unemployed cannot withstand increased taxes to pay for elitists. Our homes and property are worth every bit as much as Tree Farm, Portico, Avimor, M3, Dry Creek, Crescent Rim, etc. Development should pay its way. Tax collectors should go after the BIG guys and work with the little guys to balance the scales. Ground up, not trickle down.

  10. Clippityclop
    Mar 13, 2010, 1:06 pm

    Economist, Taxed Out, and of course, Fraz, you’re dead on. The Commissioners and the County P&Z have done us all a grave disservice in approving these doomed projects which only dilute the market and worsen any chance of recovery. The developers, in pushing for approval, do likewise. Talk about biting your own hand! Their shortsightedness is unbelievable. Meanwhile, the taxpayers will continue to subsidize services… so much for self-sustainabilility. I want my money back(!), let alone someone’s resignation. Commissioners?

  11. At least the Statesman gave you credit for their story. They ought to pay you for your investigative skills.

  12. Economist and Clippityclop, you talk about the idiots at P&Z. I think you are way off base. They are only following the law as are the commissioners. There isn’t anywhere in the law, as far as I know, that says, “if there is any oversupply you cannot approve it.” If they did that they would be sued by the developer and you and I would foot the bill for the legal proceedings. If you want them to stop approving subdivisions because there is an oversupply maybe you should change the law. Now who is the idiot? I also can’t imagine many banks giving money to developments right now, so don’t worry, your precious dirt might not be developing too soon.

    Rod in SE, growth didn’t get us in this mess, banks did. They were giving money to anybody with a pulse. Your stupid dog could get a loan if he wanted to. This only intensified growth. If the banks had done their job we wouldn’t be in this mess. Lay off the Jack Daniels.

    Everyone’s comments are all based on, hopefully, a once in a lifetime event. It is real easy to say that growth is what got us into this to begin with. You are all usually complaining about growth for all the same reasons i.e. the environment, not paying their way, growth is the devil, but now in the current economy you are all real quick to jump on the bandwagon and say, “I knew this was going to happen.” There is not one person here that could have predicted this to the extent that it is at.

    EDITOR NOTE–Snoop, here are some pretty strong indicators from past prognosticators:

  13. The old saw that “growth does not pay for itself” needs to be put some place where the sun does not shine. Property taxpayers are getting the short end at just about every turn. Economist has hit the nail on the head. Our homes are now worth less than what most owe on their homes due to unbridled growth and people viewing homes as savings accounts.

    Developers sold this on the premise that the tax base would be increased and all would we well with cities and counties. They forgot one thing….URBAN RENEWAL LAW and the inherent abuses and insults heaped on property tax payers. Developers love this set of laws, it is viewed as “entitlement money” they deserve when they come to town.

    There is plenty of land here in this valley to develop but we need to get serious about urban infill before we approve any more “TOILET TERRACE” subdivision efforts.

  14. I think we have lost sight of the origin of our “growth at any cost” history. I wonder why no one has seen the “we finally got Grandpa’s farm”, or “I have worked this land for 40 years, now we are going to sell it to the highest bidder” old time residents of the valley, as the primary cause of all this? I know, and respect, the freedom of choice we all enjoy and our rights to do with as we please with our personal property. However this does not cancel the fact that without some property owner getting rich from selling land purchased many years ago, there would be no “carpetbagger” developers coming to the valley.

  15. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 14, 2010, 2:04 pm

    Snoop, my dog was smart enough not to overextend himself and his investments are doing fine. He also realizes that “banks lending to anyone with a pulse” and “growth at any cost” are virtually the same thing. There is plenty of blame to go around, particularly banks and local governments, not to mention moronic consumers.

  16. Snoop

    I think you are correct in that the code does not come right out and specify the presence of demand for the houses. However, the PC ordinance does require fiscal neutrality of the large developments. If the development cannot show the need, cannot show that it will not dump way more infrastructure on the county than the attendant increase in property taxes will cover, such as with Avimor, then the PC code requires it to be denied.

    In the case of Avimor, one could possibly make the case that no one could see the end of the Bubble coming. By the time the cliffs rolled around in 2007, the burst bubble was two years old. For the Dry Creek PC, a couple of months ago, to claim a need for the houses, is insulting.

  17. Snoop–I agree with your comments on what can and cannot be approved at the county level. The law favors one’s right to use land to build houses and limits what can be rejected.

    As for your comments re predictions, I would ask, what bubble does not eventually burst? Its only a question of when one will bust. It is not a question of predicting.

    We (Americans) may all be gamblers at heart because we keep betting on bubbles. Like gambling the odds are always favor the house.

    Greed got us into this mess–not growth. Growth was only the game we were playing and we are now paying for the bad bets. The idea is to learn that there are no risk free bets and instead a lot of consequences when then bubble pops. Learn from the past and maybe we can avoid the next implosion. I hope our elected officials will learn these lessons and apply the lessons when called on to make decisions relating to growth. Wow! How about that, for a wild dream?

    I agree with your assessment that its going to be a while before there is money available to spur headlong growth and real estate gambling.

  18. I suggest one solution to offset the property tax impairment created by failed subdivisions/planned communities. Require the Developer to impound (trust account) up to 10 years worth of projected property tax assessments based on their own projected build-out of the proposed community they are building. Every year the Assessor could calculate the actual new property tax payments from new homes/commercial properties within the community against the Develpers projection, and if there is a shorfall take it from the escrowed funds. If no shortfall, then refund that year’s “prepaid” property tax back to the Developer. Repeat process for 9 years. Taxpayers are insulated (at least for a while) and the Developer is forced to put their money where their mouth/forecasts are.

  19. The bottom line is wherever there is money around there will be crooks. Loose money (easy credit) you get even more and dumber crooks. Don’t worry, there will be a next time and we won’t learn from this economic event. As soon as the markets simmer down it will be you, me and us chickens all over again. As long as we the people are sold on the idea that we too might get rich, be president, win the lottery etc. we will be prey for the vulture market manipulators. Not even the Tea Party Patriots want practical and effective financial reform! As long as the banks and Wall street can make gluttonous profits, you can expect to get soaked…again.
    We are Americans, we will forget all this stuff.
    Snoop.. I think we all will smoke whatever your smoking now when the next feast is served.

  20. Clippityclop
    Mar 15, 2010, 6:39 am


    As pointed out by Economist, the issue with the Commissioners and P&Z is that in order for the projects to be approved, they must be fiscally neutral/ self-sustaining, and not be a burden on taxpayers. They screwed the pooch on that one, having every right to tell the developers ‘no’ without fear of suit.

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