CWI Project Could Be “Under Water”

In our never ending quest to provide factual information on public issues, the GUARDIAN has posted the following flood plain map from the Corps. of Engineers as it relates to the Bob Rice purchase at White Water and Main in Boise.

Since the College of Western Idaho has agreed to an appraisal of the 10 acre parcel, we have had several experts notify us about recent comparison appraisals. For instance, Ada County Highway District had an appraisal that came back at $12 a square foot for a small piece of the land in question. Another appraisal was done across Main for a single acre that was about $14 per square foot.

The 10 acre parcel in theory should be worth less than the smaller parcels and with the extra expense of dealing with the flood issue, the nearly $20 per square foot price CWI has agreed to pay would appear to be excessive.
outlineFlood Map

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Did you obtain a copy of the Purchase Agreement? Pretty sure flood evaluation and environmental studies are part of the due diligence process contemplated in the next six months.

  2. With 2 “earthen dams” above Boise, it is just a matter of time until the whole downtown is flushed out to sea. From the moment a trickle of brown water is seen coming from the face of the dam, until the whole dam fails is just a matter of hours. If Anderson Ranch Reservoir went first, it would take out Lucky Peak in minutes. I like my Real Estate located on The Bench.

  3. So one acre in the area was appraised at $14/foot and a 10 acre purchase would be $20/foot. When was the $14/ft valuation done and under what circumstances?

    EDITOR NOTE–Private source, but you can probably check the assessor office file to see the sale price within the past 2 yrs.

  4. Big difference between flood plain and flood way…

  5. Yes there are flood plain and procedural issues and maybe even cronyism, but…

    The biggest issue is the possibility that the 30th St Urban Renewal district will be denied a hefty percentage tax increment funding which would have been used to repair the damage to the neighborhood. This cannot be understated. And no, there will not be spin off businesses due to CWI. Look at BSU’s spin offs… fast food joints and beer gardens on Broadway and tons of derelict rentals in the neighborhood. Golly gee, just what west downtown needs, more derelict rentals.

    What damage? Where should I begin?

    1) Years of industrial use where businesses externalized some of their costs by dumping their waste right on the ground.

    2) Years of zoning changes which have rendered small lots along Fairveiw/Main unsuitable for most uses especially those of a redevelopment nature.

    3) Construction of the 1992 Broadway-Chinden Connector which eliminated most of the auto traffic which served the businesses of the area.

    4) Decades of the City and ACHD ignoring the streetscape of the area while spending tax money collected in the area on suburban infrastructure.

    Point #3 illustrates just how dependent we are on automobiles. I’m still waiting for Mr. Walkability Jeff Speck to come here and elaborate on how the connector’s 1992 extension spurred the renaissance of downtown Boise at great expense to the Fairview/Main Corridor.

    No word on bringing Robert Bruegmann here to give a lecture. Why are “stakeholders” so afraid of Bruegmann?

  6. One more thing: Doesn’t the State of Idaho pay the City of Boise for services rendered by the city to the state due to the existence of the capitol mall area and all its buildings?

    What about BSU? Does the city really absorb all the costs associated with BSU’s existence?

    So if a CWI campus gets built isn’t there some way to extract at least some kind of remuneration?

    EDITOR NOTE–BSU pays a bit for coppers, but city loses on the deal. Fire is free and a very large consumer of fire service. Same for Capitol Mall. City official position is it is a fair trade off to have such a vibrant economy.

  7. Dave Kangas
    May 14, 2015, 2:26 pm

    What no one is talking about is the fact that the contract is not contingent on obtaining a bond for construction costs. There is no whay in H+++ they will pass a bond with all the negative publicity. More important, why would they enter into contract to purchase property with out a bond contingency. IN fact they should get the bond first, then find an appropriate property.

  8. My exact same thoughts Mr. Kangas.

  9. all these B.G. stories, and negative comments in response. I would like to point out that all this is a product of the board of directors for CWI, and not in any way representative of the type of positive influence the rest of the school has on the community.

  10. LD: The positive influence CWI was supposed to have was to provide higher level education to the west side of the metro area which has grown tremendously in the last 20 years. Why do you think CWI’s voting area includes Canyon County?

    All kinds of stuff has been built to deal with the growth of Meridian and Nampa except for higher education. Look at how many high schools have been built out that way in the last 10 to 20 years.

    And now CWI wants to locate just a mile and a half downstream from BSU?

    Please try to positively identify the positive implications for the 30th Street area losing $100s of thousands in tax increment financing for neighborhood improvements. Some have said spin off businesses. Well, please inventory the businesses by BSU, see what you come up with. High paying office type jobs? Please inventory the quality of rental property around BSU. The plethora of run-down rentals and their absentee-landlords bring down the property values of owner-occupiers in the BSU area. Where’s the positive in that?

    The diversion of tax revenue away from the neighborhood is the very reason the 30th St. Urban Renewal District was created. And now, the district’s most valuable property will be permanently taken away as a contributor to the neighborhood.

    I guess, maybe, the competition would be good for BSU and students. But duplication of services is bad for taxpayers and elimination of tax increment financing is bad for taxpayers of the 30th St neighborhood.

  11. well there Mr. world wide cynic, not everything revolves around BSU. BSU is a business school, and the are in the business of making money, not helping the community. CWI on the other hand, has dedicated vast amount of resources to supporting the disfranchised, such as educating (for free) people who need a GED, or are of refugee status. I think that falls under the heading as something “positive”. Also, CWI offers courses that BSU doesn’t, so mostly there is not “duplication of services” as you mentioned. And if there is a duplication, such as lower division courses, then the cost is almost exactly half of that of BSU, which makes the higher education much more obtainable for Boise’s plethora of proletarians, (again, a positive). Also, most of the buildings that CWI occupy are spread out throughout the valley because they are essentially “Hand-me-downs” from Micron or other businesses that want a tax write off. The proposed purchase of property close to BSU is intended to be a singular location to minimize the spread of the campus. Also, since the Culinary Arts building that CWI leases from BSU is being taken to make way for new football practice areas, CWI needs to come up with another location, which it currently does not have.
    Nothing about having a campus near by indicates diminished property value, (other then your speculation). Actually, business that are close to colleges generally see an increase in revenue. Again, another positive.
    And since BSU is the dominant college in the area, I’m sure that a capitalist such as yourself would welcome the prospect of healthy competition, even if it is from an organization such as CWI.
    Lastly, all your arguments (aside from just the angry ranting) should be directed at the board of directors, not the people working at that college or the college as a whole. There are many people there busting there ass, working long hours for minimal pay to ensure that students get an optimal education, and if you want to trash CWI, make sure you differentiate who exactly your angry with. And if you don’t like they way they operate, then do something about it. Don’t just be another arm chair quarterback.

  12. Those who violate the public trust should pay with their personal assets until exhausted and then placed in debtor’s prison, breaking rocks with a hammer until expired.

    Funny money government dealings have become too commonplace for comfort.

    Cancelling the purchase contract or not, there needs to be an investigation into what they hoped to get away with.

  13. “everything revolves around BSU”

    Never said anything remotely like that but I did concede that competition would be good. But not at the expense of the loss of 100s of thousands in tax increment financing. That is the pointed I have repeatedly made. And not just over the CWI thing, I have made this point going back years. Search the guardian archives.

    “Actually, business that are close to colleges generally see an increase in revenue. Again, another positive.”

    You mean like fast food joints and beer gardens?

    “Lastly, all your arguments (aside from just the angry ranting) should be directed at the board of directors,”

    Since when is pointing out facts a ranting? You’re practicing shoot the messenger which is a type of straw man fallacy. FACT: Loss of tax increment revenue. The very reason 30th ST. URD was created was to keep taxes collected in the area for renewal of the area.

    FACT: Homes north of State are assessed at and selling for more than identical homes south of State. Do I really have to pull out some comps? If you have an explanation other than the excess of run down rentals then you have not provided it.

    Prime example of absentee landlordism: The Bob Rice Ford site, you really think that added to property values in the area? Another famous absentee landlord: The Consolidated Concrete (Quinns) plant site, which is now being made into Esther Simplot Park. As far back as the 70s the neighbors were complaining about that site and Mayor Amyx cut a deal with the Quinns with respect to annexation. All the city planners wanted Class A open space, Amyx gave the Quinns light industrial.

    And here we sit 45 years later finally getting the open space. A half a century of blight finally getting addressed.

    Hmm, why did Harris Ranch explode with new development while west downtown hasn’t? Why did Parkcenter’s River Run explode with development in the 70s but west downtown didn’t? Blight, that’s why. And blight is 90% caused by absentee landlords.

  14. Lots of criticism for the Board, myself included, but also keep in mind the Trustees are elected officials, not necessarily college or real estate professionals. My only criticisms of the Trustees is that surely even with their homes they knew to get an appraisal, so why not a multi-million dollar transaction, and their post error PR spins on how an appraisal now is just a normal part of their plan.

    I would expect there were high level staff at CWI who presented this purchase to the Board for their approval, and it is these staff who should have had better advised the Trustees and have given more thought and preparation to the deal.

    Some comments suggest people are being paid off for this transaction, I am not sure that is true versus alarmists who assume every bad government deal is corrupt politicians taking bribes in dark, smoke filled rooms. It is questionable that a CWI foundation member was also the attorney representing the Seller, but that Foundation member properly stepped down, I just wonder when in the discussions of the transaction did he step down? Immediately, or only after suggesting/marketing the property to CWI?

    EDITOR NOTE–He stepped down from the foundation board Feb. 4. Deal was signed by his client April 1. The elected president of the CWI board said they had been looking for 18 months. Documents we obtained said he was aware his client was about to enter into the deal. The tone of the internal e-mail also referred to the resignation as “not for bad…hopefully for good.”

  15. Given the proximity to downtown and the parking demand CWI would create on this site, why does the parking garage need to be developed by tax payers? Seems like there is an opportunity for private and/or CCDC dollars to build the garage and have the garage users pay enough fee to support the garage. This garage does not need to be in the bond request from CWI.

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