ITD formally announces it will leave Boise campus: future of large site near downtown unknown

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The Idaho Transportation Department is a moving out of its State Street home that it has occupied for 61 years

Come June 16, all the department’s public services will be located at the new campus at 11311 Chinden Boulevard, Building 8. The State of Idaho purchased this suite of offices several years ago to house state agencies. 

Last year BoiseDev reported ITD was mulling selling the State St. property and moving agency staff to other locations- this included the Chinden campus.

During the same time, at an ITD board meeting, Department of Finance Director Keith Reynolds said the Chinden campus does not have a facility that meets ITD’s needs. Reynolds said the state would need to construct a new building using funds from the former campus sale. 

In today’s announcement, ITD noted that the move to building 8 is only “temporary” for most headquarters employees affected by flooding in early 2022.

These employees will soon move to building 3 at the Chinden location once it’s remodeled. This was decided by the Idaho Transportation Board after the board deemed it was in the State’s best interest to not repair the old building and leave it permanently vacated.

“During all of this transition, ITD has continued to be open for business to serve the citizens of Idaho,” Chief Administrative Officer Dave Tolman said. “Only the location is changing,” he added, “not the high level of service provided.”

In a 2021 board meeting, ITD laid out three goals the department had for the State St. building: “Replace the existing 60-year-old building, return the 45-acre property to the tax rolls and ensure the best use of the property and dedicate excess funds to other projects.”

Boise’s designs on the property

The ITD sits within the West End neighborhood and is just a strong-armed stone’s throw from Esther Simplot Park to the south and Veterans Memorial Park to the west. The CCDC 30th Street urban renewal area borders it on the east side, and a proposed State Street urban renewal area could include the site. That could allow the urban renewal agency to use tax increment financing funds to pay for improvements to the site.

It’s also one of the largest under-developed parcels close to Boise’s urban core.

The City of Boise told BoiseDev last year the city considered redevelopment of the campus in the past – including in its planning around making the State Street area into a transit-oriented corridor using urban renewal and other tools. The city’s 2019 plan for the area repeatedly refers to the possibility of redevelopment of the campus.

The plan calls for a transit hub at 30th St. and State St. next to the ITD property.

“(The ITD campus is) a major opportunity to build residential and commercial mixed-use,” plan writers noted. “Large scale development at Whitewater will be dependent on whether the current ITD headquarters remains a state office site, or the site redevelops with a mix of uses.”

An “urban design concept” included in the City of Boise’s State Street plan envisions extending the current west Downtown street grid across the ITD campus, with mixed-use office and residential buildings, as well as apartments, townhomes, single-family “cluster housing,” parking and open space.

New signalized intersections could go in at 32nd and 33rd St, as well as along Whitewater Park Blvd. if the grid extended across the campus.

A market analysis included in the plan said the area could see 200,000 square feet of new development in the ITD campus area if the property redevelops.

Long-running idea

ITD campus plan
A map in a 2019 City of Boise plan outlines a vision for the ITD campus. Via City of Boise

The city’s comprehensive plan, known as Blueprint Boise, generally addresses the campus and how it envisions the future for the property.

“Encourage high-density, transit-supportive, mixed-use development along the Main/Fairview/30th Street Extension, at the ITD site at Rose Street and the 30th Street Extension, and along the Main/Fairview Corridor consistent with the 30th Street Area Master Plan,” the plan notes. 30th Street Extension later took the name Whitewater Park Blvd.

Discussions to move ITD’s operations came out of a legislative working group, and the general conversations aren’t new. Lawmakers discussed the possibility of moving ITD to the former HP campus back in 2018. Such a move could help offset the State of Idaho taking the HP property out of the tax base.

The Idaho Press reported at the time developers were “beating down his doors” about the ITD site.

BoiseDev’s Don Day contributed reporting.

Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Meridian and McCall. Contact her at [email protected].

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