GBAD Has Illegal Meet With Developer

Whether inadvertent or intentional, the Greater Boise Auditorium District met last week in executive session (citizens excluded) to hear a pitch from Tommy Ahlquist and Greenstone Properties for yet another attempt to get public money for a private development. This time they want to take the Expo Idaho (Fairgrounds) for condos and commercial development.

Don Day at BOISEDEV has a comprehensive story about the ongoing threat of losing the Boise Hawks unless the citizens pony up land or cash for a new stadium. Day’s story mentions the GBAD board met in executive session to hear the baseball pitch.

The GUARDIAN learned the official reason for the executive session was to discuss property acquisition near the Centre on the Grove. Somehow Greenstone and Ahlquist got included.

GBAD is funded with the hotel room tax revenues which are woefully lacking due to the COVID 19 crises. They have about $10 million in reserves, but there is no cash available for other investments and it is doubtful they would qualify for bond debt.

Once again the GUARDIAN favors an “Idaho Agricultural Heritage Park” on the fairgrounds land. It could be a destination theme park with strong educational background. We have have offered this to the politicos for at least 13 years and generally been ignored.

Fair Idea Ignored By Commishes

Idaho Ag Heritage Park Is Good Fit At Expo Idaho

Fairgrounds Perfect For Farm Theme Park

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Developers have had a greedy eye on the fairgrounds for many years now and are chomping at the bit (pun intended) to take over the entire facility for commercial development. This property is an asset to the entire county and should remain just as it is. Good parking and facilities for public events at reasonable cost. The residents of ADA county need to make certain it remains a facility that serves all the county. Developers have ruined enough of our area. The only development that should take place at the fairgrounds is if it enhances the facility.

  2. This publicly owned land should be a primary issue for the upcoming fall election, which has 2 Ada County seats on the ballot.

  3. That property needs to be a park. Period.Including the trailer park, stables, race track, and the rest of the crap buildings. If we don’t have the foresight to add to the string of parks on the river, and instead develop it, we are missing a golden opportunity that won’t ever come along again. Let’s add to the legacy of the folks who fought for the greenbelt and those who built the other parks.

  4. I one hundred percent agree with Erico49! Two terrible Tommy Ahlquist projects looming. “Tommy Towers” in downtown, and now THIS. Weren’t minor minor minor league baseball teams already dying pre-Covid???

  5. Dave,

    Does anyone know if Boise Hawks Baseball park has been profitable, plus what is it utilization rates of occupancy of seats. Has it been averaging above 90-95% capacity. Shouldn’t those numbers be posted before considering moving or expanding.

  6. Bonnie Krupp
    Aug 23, 2020, 1:50 pm

    Sounds like more fun then a sports building and would provide jobs year round.

  7. 25 years from now nobody is going to be writing articles on the wisdom of the folks who commercially developed that property and how great their vision was.

  8. If a developer in this valley did not get a handout from taxpayers they would all go under; they surely will.

    Suggested alternative locations for the sports complex business development areas.

    1. Plantation County Club it’s even close to the river.
    2. Quail Hollow
    3. Indian Lakes
    4. Hillcrest Country Club
    5. Warm Springs
    6. Pierce Park Greens
    7. Boise Ranch Golf Course
    8. Shadow Valley close to Avimor
    9. Eagle Hills
    10. Banbury Golf Course
    11. Falcon Crest Golf Course
    12. Lakeview Golf
    13. Crane Creek
    14. Ridgecrest Golf Course
    15. Centennial Golf Course
    16. Purple Sage Golf Course

    Plenty of flat ground, plenty of turf and a club house.

  9. Looking at their “plan” it looks like a disaster. They replace ample parking for the facility with a parking platform filled with spots the size of a Smart car… The rest is mixed Commercial, Single Family and a bunch of Multi-family dwellings. Anyone see a problem with traffic? If they want events to be successful they need to make sure that people can access them and stop following this utopian dream of everyone biking or otherwise magically appearing at these places sans cars. Adding insult to injury is the use of public money for the project that defeats the usage of the facility for the community. This definitely needs to be an issue with the Ada Commishes race as they are chomping at the bit to sell off the Fairgrounds.

  10. So what was illegal about it?

    EDITOR NOTE–The executive session was specifically called to consider real property acquisition near the Grove downtown. Ahlquist and Greenstone don’t own anything that was under consideration for purchase by GBAD. They should not have been allowed into the exec session and public should have not been excluded from THEIR pitch.

  11. apparently David doesn’t like golf.

  12. The almighty “Alquist the public leach” feeds on handouts from the public agencies. Have you noticed how often he builds in a “redevelopment zone”?

    Just like in the downtown Boise project the city paid for the entire foundation of his building – in the form of a bus station. What a way to get a part of your building built for FREE. Then you charge market rates and make a huge margin!!

    Please say NO to this leach.

    EDITOR NOTE–The Paylocity group of buildings at 10 Mile and I-84 were built in a cornfield that was declared an urban renewal zone in Meridian. Bottom line is they pay no taxes to city, county, ACHD, West Ada Schools. Their taxes all go to urban renewal district. Huge burden on citizens!

  13. They will have more “illegal” meetings because no one ever holds them accountable for doing so.

  14. Clever Developer
    Aug 24, 2020, 11:31 am

    Not fooled. . . put single family homes in the designated flood plain so that the construction costs are higher for this type of housing, plus these properties will bear the cost of higher insurance premiums as flood insurance will be required.

    Put the apartments outside of the flood plain so a Real Estate Investment Trust is not prohibited from making as much money as possible off of this hot investment product, while also being able to use the public park to satisfy the amenities requirement to save on costs, while simultaneously being able to add more units to boost the profit margin.

    Keep Lady Bird Park near the noisy intersection to save on relocation costs, as the 2009 Collier’s Report recommended relocation near the Green Belt, and this allows stadium events to spill over into this area with vendors who will also profit off the public land.

    Relocate the green belt to be sure the recreationalists are forced to go by the “Promenade” of mixed-use businesses, while the playing fields will also provide plenty of spenders to support the almighty dollar.

    Make it nearly impossible to actually hold the fair here so that later it can be reasoned that it just does not work any longer and it needs to be relocated.

  15. There should be no “pitches” for any development ideas right now while the whole idea is suppose to be in the exploratory phase. The Citizen Advisory Committee for this task has their third meeting this Wed. August 26 at 5:30pm. Anyone can watch or ask questions via the virtual YouTube and Facebook options. Or send comments now to : [email protected]

    Just because you can build in a flood plain doesn’t mean you should. It ends up being a stupid human decision, just as building in the wildland urban interface is proving to be. Nothing destroys lives faster than a natural disaster.

  16. to the NOTE above– if it was Executive Session to discuss property (a known exemption to a public discussion) it seems reasonable Ahl and/or Greenstone would be there. I don’t get where it’s illegal.

    It might be bad form, but nothing here or in the BoiDev piece to show that.

    EDITOR NOTE–The “property” subject to the executive session was not owned by Ahlquist/Greenstone nor was it owned by GBAD. The property in the executive session way adjacent to the convention center downtown!!

  17. Public voice
    Aug 24, 2020, 3:58 pm

    So all of this hand ringing about using tax payers dollars to pay for a stadium is obviously coming from people who don’t understand where the tax money is coming from… GBAD income is from Hotel tax… how many local Boise / Garden City residents are staying in hotels and paying the hotel tax… so explain to me how the “taxpayer” is being charged… unless you are against using funds that GBAD taxes the Visitors to the area to help build attractions that bring more visitors and people to spend money in our communities… I’m pretty sure that is THE WHOLE REASON that GBAD exists.
    Love these message boards filled with people who don’t have any vision of growth… or hey let’s build another garden because that’s what families want to do on the weekends … really 13 years of asking for a heritage garden… I bet that will bring a ton of new economic incentives/ jobs and taxes to our community…
    100% in favor of dynamic new vision that brings real sports besides BSU football and entertainment to the valley…

    EDITOR NOTE–The hotel room tax money is OURS–the citizens of the district. You don’t have to smoke or drink to benefit from tobacco and booze taxes. You don’t have to drive a car to benefit from gas tax. GBAD has no excess cash to spend. They are way below normal revenue levels thanks to COVID and empty rooms.

  18. Easterner – just because one may be a developer and have property to develop does not mean you get to sit in on other Executive Sessions involving other property deals. The law does not work that way.

  19. GBAD Purpose
    Aug 24, 2020, 9:23 pm

    If GBAD were to be involved in a stadium, section 67–49 of Idaho Code requires an auditorium or community center district “to build, operate, maintain, market and manage for public, commercial and/or industrial purposes” any such endeavor undertaken.

    They are not allowed to cherry-pick which of these responsibilities they wish to undertake, as ruled by the Supreme Court on the Pocatello Auditorium District. I don’t see how this would fit with a private ball team, as a major point of these semi-pro and pro teams is to make money, which would be severely limited if GBAD controls all aspects of such a facility.

  20. as of end of Nov 2019, GBAD had over 20million in cash ‘surplus’.
    MORE than enough to cover their annual expenses for a couple down/covid years.

    Their convention operating expenses exceed their convention revenues – but the GBAD tax exceeds their overall costs. 5% of lodging.

    Do they tax too much?
    that excess just builds up.
    much like the library issue, if not for legislative prevention, GBAD could just build their dang stadium.

    it will indeed be interesting to see the change in tax revenue due for 2020.

    Abort GBAD and CCDC along with all URDs.
    Expand local-option taxes instead–> revenue to the normal govt agencies.

    EDITOR NOTE–Based on communication with GBAD staff, the info offered by Easterner is not correct.

  21. The GBAD is for accommodating tourism. Conferences and the like that stay in the city hotels.

    A 38 day baseball season will not work for GBAD. Baseball needs to start and investment company where the highly paid, and I mean highly paid, players build stadiums for the minor leagues. Why they haven’t thought of it I don’t know. The losses would offset their other gains, and keep the pipeline full of superstars. Create a way for players to travel, too.

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