Fate Of Downtown Boise Unknown In 2017

The GUARDIAN has been doing some preliminary inquiries regarding the fate of downtown Boise after the Central District urban renewal project expires in 2017.

As it sits currently, no one can offer us a definitive answer to questions of ownership, management, and responsibility for certain Capital City Development Corp. properties.
Children play in fountains at the Grove in Boise, Idaho. children, kids, fountains, water, splash, cool, grove, boise, idaho, play
For instance, CCDC owns 8th Street. It was vacated by the Ada County Highway District and is no longer a public street. It is privately owned from store front to store front between Bannock and Main. Despite that “parking lot” status, Boise parking Nazis continue to issue tickets at meters and enforce the private parking hours as though they were passed by the city council.

No one seems to know exactly who will own the Grove Plaza and the fountain area after CCDC’s district expires. Under current law it appears they are not allowed to expend funds outside a district and if a district no longer exists, who will own the real estate?

We have heard talk of splitting the Grove Plaza ownership among the Auditorium District, the Grove Hotel, and the Gardner Company in order to control access for protest groups that could offend guests at any of the venues. We strongly oppose that move because the area was purchased and improved with public funds and should remain public.

While some folks are enthralled with “private/public partnerships,” we urge caution with the deals. Developers like Gardner sound like great visionary planners when they include public transit centers and open spaces in their plans, but another view would see the taxpayers providing structure foundations and restricted access to public areas.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. The devil is in the details. I think there are numerous instances where public private partnerships, or PPP, are beneficial to all parties and create improvements that otherwise would not have occurred, however many developers see PPP as a method to off load the non-monetized portion, or money losing portion of the project. Usually you will see the developer bring to the partnership a willingness to develop market rate spaces such as retail and office, not really a creative or new idea…..whereas the public side of the partnership is asked to “partner” with the non-monetized portions such as use of public land, common areas, granting of rights of way or easements, preferential development rules such as conditional use permits or variances, parking facilities where the market does not support a self-sustaining parking garage, or avoidance of government development fees and taxes.

    PPP is the new more politically correct term for saying a developer wants some incentive or hand out from the government to do a project. I am not saying the government should not do PPP, I am just calling it what it is. Whether or not the PPP should be done is a function of the value the public gets out of the deal, and government leaders need to do a better job of ensuring that is a real value and communicating that value. Real value means more than something that just sounds cool or is bright, shiny and new, like a snow park, where is the new tax base, where are the new public facilities, where are the new higher paying jobs, etc.

  2. As I read Idaho 50-2011, disposal of property must go through a competitive bidding process and sell for the fair market value at the minimum.

    EDITOR NOTE–You are correct about the law. The approaching problem is what to do with property AFTER the district has been dissolved. The law seems to address the renewal process, not the “renewed” property. Logically it would go to the city taxpayers as the “governing body.” It truly is unresolved at this point.

  3. Eight Street and the Grove Plaza should revert back to public right of way. But does this mean the public will have to buy it from CCDC?

    Good questions BG. City Council better figure this out before it comes back to bite them on the butt with the State getting involved and banning urban renewal districts or making them much more difficult to operate.

    I notice how not one new urbanist has addressed the questions I have posed.

    If the downtown mall proposal of the 70s was such a bad idea because of the demolition of so many quaint old buildings then why was the destruction of the quaint old street grid an equally bad idea?

    And about all those quaint old demolished buildings, why are there no pictures. No one had produced any pics of 8th and Grove prior to the demolition era. It’s like a myth that has taken on aspects of reality. Kind of like a religion.

    I also notice how CCDC, ACHD, City of Boise have not stepped up to the plate and invited Robert Bruegmann to speak. Oh, thanks Sven for running the story in the Statesman as your own.

  4. I take that back. 8th and Grove were made private so greater control could be exercised over panhandlers and bums and I support this. Yet another story that gets buried because it’s politically incorrect to disparage bums. It’s another case of choose your own poison wisely. A private bum free 8th Street or public right of way under control of ACHD.

    The ownership of the fountain and plaza is trifling compared to the transit center which Gardener wants because they want the very expensive foundation concrete work for their development paid for with Federal transit funds. Never mind that the underground bus station will be too small and won’t solve the traffic and short-term parking problems on Idaho and Main.

  5. Rod in SE Boise
    Apr 22, 2014, 10:56 am

    At the least, the Grove Plaza should be publicly owned and managed by the City of Boise. Maybe it should be named “Protest Grove” so we can use it to protest against the Mayor and City council of the City of Boise. I would be down there protesting against their conservative pro-business policies and Zippo would be there protesting about how liberal they are.

  6. This event tomorrow just crossed my desk. Looks like it could be a good place to ask some questions.

    Transporting Boise to a Better Place: Are All Players Pulling Together?

    DATE Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    TIME 11:30 am to 1 pm

    LOCATION Crystal Ballroom, 2nd floor of the Hoff Building, 8th and Bannock

    Guest Speakers are
    David Bieter, Mayor, City of Boise
    John Franden, President, Ada County Highway District
    Don Knickrehm, counsel to the Greater Boise Auditorium District

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