GUARDIAN Reservations About New Hotels

Boise’s Auditorium District is awaiting a judicial ruling about financing a new ballroom and other convention facilities–all without voter approval. The case was heard last week in Fourth District Court.

Meanwhile at least two new hoteliers have announced plans to build major facilities along Capitol Blvd. based on anticipated approval of the GBAD financing. The Daily paper has published architect drawings of the proposals, following a long tradition of detailing dreams hotels.

Over the years there have been many such announcement for inns that never had a single guest…they were never built. Like the Centre on the Grove, plans were made for construction prior to obtaining financing. The GUARDIAN speculates at least one of the innkeepers will see the light and cancel plans to build.

Admittedly we haven’t read the applications, but with 40% of the public parking garage spaces near Capitol and Myrtle dedicated to the Hampton Inn, there will be few available spots for tourists wishing to base in Boise and drive around the area.

Public funds should not be used for parking structures to cure a problem that currently does not exist. Our standard GROWTHOPHOBE lament is to welcome any business that will pay its full share of taxes, pay a fair wage and not demand welfare from the citizens.

Between Trader Joe’s and two new hotels it is possible downtown will be the domain of visitors only. As Yogi Berra would say, “it got so crowded nobody went there.”

Dunkley Music–the site of one of the new hotels–has announced it will probably move to Meridian where all the people live and customers can park. Even Eagle Road is a better business bet than downtown Boise.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. All economic indicators point to endless growth reversing. Despite the nonsensical “economic recovery” meme, reality is saying that everything will now become more local, travel will decline, and new hotels will be an albatross around this cities neck.
    Global production of conventional oil has peaked. We cannot afford the high cost of oil sands or oil shale production as evidenced by the current collapse of oil prices and resulting bankruptcies in the unconventional oil business, so our cheap energy future is fading, and so are the prospects for projects like these new hotels.
    BTW…, after being initially very skeptical, we really like Trader Joes and now shop there almost exclusively.

  2. chicago sam
    Mar 11, 2015, 9:02 am

    Boise lost its allure as a shopping destination many years ago when the town square mall was approved. It is now a financial and govt. center where the CEO’s and clerks need long term parking to stay on the job all day. You are right that visitors will be the main traffic on the streets occupying the hotels but is that a bad thing? When Tommy Ahlquist takes the bus to work you will know the grand plan is working.

  3. When Tommy Ahlquist takes the bus to work you will know the grand plan is working. … Good one!!

    The local TV news talking-heads were effusing yesterday about some new report that touted Boise as the happ’nin’ place nationwide, for new jobs. I rolled my eyes and sighed.

    The Dunkley’s relocation announcement cut me to the quick! As a young pup growing up in Boise, I played piano recitals in that very same building, before I could reach the pedals. I still visit there, most recently to attend a granddaughter’s piano recital. (She can reach the pedals.) It won’t be the same, when the door opens onto Eagle Road or some other place out in the burbs.

    Grow-grow-grow! Rah-rah-rah!

  4. I’ve always felt that Trader Joe’s made a big mistake in locating in downtown Boise. Somewhere out on Eagle Rd. would have been a much better location for them.

  5. Grumpy ole Guy
    Mar 12, 2015, 12:12 am

    Speaking of Eagle Road – when was the last time you were able to drive the posted 50 mph and not stop at what seems like every one of the traffic lights?

  6. Some cynic wrote: “All economic indicators…”

    What economic indicators? Please point to a source otherwise you’re using what’s known as weasel words.

    Booms and busts come and go. It’s been that way for a long time.

    Guardian, it’s time you changed the tag line in the banner pic from “different slant on news” to “different slant on opinion.”

    I’d like to remind everyone that one man’s tax is another man’s subsidy. Does anyone think the massive roadwork on I-84 is NOT a subsidy for someone? How about all the road work around Eagle & Fairview? Chinden out past HP? State out past Eagle? The little mentioned Central Valley Expressway?

    Why are public private partnerships verboten downtown but not in the suburbs?

    I’ve said it before, downtown Boise is unique in the entire state. No other locale faces the flood of workers and tourists, except for Ketchum and Coeur d’Alene and those are tiny examples. Downtown does deserve some kind of special consideration because of these inescapable facts.

  7. Grumpy.. this morning.

  8. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 12, 2015, 4:45 pm

    It does seem like the powers that be in Boise are spectacularly mis-managing growth, and in particular, parking. Not nearly enough parking at Trader Joes, with parking places that are too small, and very narrow driving lanes between the rows. Not enough parking at Whole Foods and the new gigantic apartment buildings near BSU.

    I like that Trader Joes and Whole Foods are downtown, but parking is a problem that should have been addressed. The city has been unsuccessful in getting any of us to use the bus.

  9. Bieter Begone
    Mar 12, 2015, 8:02 pm

    Rod. You’re hilarious. The lack of parking at Whole Foods and Trader Joes is a feature not a bug. All in keeping with squeezing cars out of downtown and making it livable, bikeable and sustainable. Of course, since 95% of the people drive it tends to make downtown Boise unwelcoming to a lot of people. But hey, that’s sustainability!

  10. Parking at TJs and WFs is only a problem at peak hours, just like traffic. What? Should everyone have to have massive parking lots on the off chance all slots are filled for a few hours a day? That’s what the suburbs are for.

    Requiring parking is fraught with its own problems. It’s expensive. It eats up a lot of land which could be used for other businesses.

  11. Rod, perhaps the city is “in progress” to get us all to ride the bus.

    Their objective: Make parking a hassle, more difficult, and more expensive than alternative transportation. It is standard ‘city planning’.

    They have to inflict pain before people change.
    I for one, will not drive to Trader Joe’s and that area, for that reason. See, I changed – to ignore that part of downtown.

  12. I do think new development should pay it’s own way and be designed accordingly. Designed accordingly includes parking spaces to handle the need for 90% of the time.

    Remember that parking is a privilege and not a right.

  13. “new development should pay it’s own way”

    Clancy, while I agree that concept as many people would… how to make that happen is a little impractical, and the principle is a little weak.

    New developement (growth) helps every one of us here already in some way. New customers, new revenue for employers, expanding the tax base, etc.

    Imagine your house is the only house in the square mile. If you paid for a sewer hookup you paid 100% of it. Spread that cost out over 20 new houses, and you will save money. Same concept for roads and so on.

    So who pays for the sewer?
    You already paid just to get the extension to your house. If it is expanded to the new houses, they would pay only for their extension under your philosophy?
    You pay $50,000 for the 1st hookup and they pay $1,000 each.

    New residents come to town and contribute to everyone’s economic well being. So we benefit from the new residents? Is that “benefit” free?

    EDITOR NOTE–Easterner, you are talking apples and oranges here. First, the link is to the homebuilder advocacy group. More importantly, this post is regarding COMMERCIAL growth which does NOT generate the tax revenues if concessions are offered along with state concessions on income tax rebates to employers, and when these projects are built in an URBAN RENEWAL DISTRICT, local government taxes are diverted away. Bottom line is city, county, schools, ACHD all forego their revenues in the name of “economic development”–on the backs of those residential property owners and commercial owners outside the CCDC.

    To offer a developer a parking structure at public expense is akin to making a donation to a robber after he held up a bank!

  14. Thanks for clarifying the issue Dave. Too many cannot see the forest for the trees.

  15. Well, apples and oranges are all fruit.
    Commercial development and residential development. Different, but similar.

    I think commercial growth brings some tax revenues even within a URD. Sales tax, state income taxes, alcohol taxes, etc… some of that comes back to cities and counties. It’s simply a math equation whether those revenues out weigh the additional costs (lost opportunity costs too). that’ s a pretty tough equation to calculate. One thing that is easy to calculate- the lack of growth for a whole city. Although that can be good for a retired person collecting a fixed income. So I guess ones perception of growth depends on which type of fruit we identify with.

    Whether URD in general, such as CCDC, are a bad or good idea is a totally separate topic.

    Lots of material supports the idea that development can pay for itself.

  16. I recently secured a national conference to come to Boise. A couple weeks ago several members of the Board of this group visited Boise and toured the venues and sites we proposed for the conference. All individuals left very impressed that Boise had exceeded their expectations and the downtown was very clean, walkable and plenty of diverse things to do and see. Some credit must be due to CCDC, City of Boise, Downtown Business Association, etc… some people are doing some things right that have made downtown Boise very pleasant. I think these new hotel developments will add to the downtown experience and bring more people and outside money into Boise.

    The only complaint of the conference attendees is the lack of direct flights into Boise. I think this will be the major limiting factor in the success of Boise as a convention destination.

  17. Jared: Our downtown is safe and clean BECAUSE more people and outside money have not come into Boise. For convenience, there are plenty of places destroyed by “growth” to hold conventions with wonderfully convenient direct flights from everywhere.

  18. Foothills Rider
    Mar 17, 2015, 5:21 pm

    I agree with Jared. Same issue with flying OUT for business. Why is it $491 RT to DC from here, with one stop and almost 7 hours. Yet one stop from Portland is only $341 RT. And non-stop from LAX to DC is $373 RT? For conferences, multiply the pricing differences by the attendees needing flights, and it could sway decision to hold a conference here. Maybe there is a flight pricing conspiracy led by the likes of J Smith to keep Boise from expanding to outsiders at all… I didn’t say that out loud.

  19. Jared, that’s wonderful the visitors thought so well of Boise.

    But to be the contrarian…. at what price?
    We can spend a million to “clean up downtown” to bring in a convention that brings $400,000 to the economy.

    as mentioned earlier,,, that’s a tough equation to calculate.

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