Pizza & beer joint slated for old Vista Pizza Hut

Via Google Maps

Via Google Maps

Pizza Hut shifted from sit-down restaurants to carryout for most of its locations in the Treasure Valley. Some of the former Huts have been torn down, others remain vacant - and some are seeing new uses.

The former location on Vista Ave. near Malad St. in Boise is slated to be revamped into Brick Fire Craft Beer & PIzza, according to filings.  Parent company Craft 24 signed a lease on the building last summer, and is now prepping to remodel the building.

Owner Richard Nichols included a menu of the "Detroit style pizza" with the building permit (not something I've ever seen before).

Here's how the food is described:

This is why exists: to ENJOY different styles pizza. It’s called square but it’s really rectangle and baked in metal trays, just the ones used on the automotive lines at the Big Three. But instead of being filled with metal parts, ours are filled with the finest pizza ingredients we could source. We took inspiration and created a version of the Sicilian pizza that has been making people smile in Detroit for over 70 years.

A variety of pizzas and salads are planned, as well as 16 craft brews on tap.

Zeppole upgrades space, Boise Juice Co. slides in

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After moving its bakery offsite earlier this year to make room for Orange Theory Fitness - Zeppole Baking Co. will move its Southeast Boise cafe from the Southshore Shopping Center early next year.

The cafe will go into a larger space next to Blue Cow Yogurt on Apple St. after a remodel is completed. The new 2,034 square foot cafe will be about a third larger than the current space on ParkCenter, and have capacity for 83 people after it undergoes a $75,000 remodel.

As we previously noted, Boise Juice Co. is planning a new store in SE Boise - and will occupy the Zeppole space once the move is complete.

CCDC employees 'walk every block' to look for opportunities

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The Capital City Development Corporation staff have instituted a program to put "boots on the ground" throughout its four tax increment financing-backed urban renewal districts.

"The goal is for every employee to walk every blockface of every CCDC district," CCDC executive director John Brunelle wrote in his monthly board note.

The idea is for each of the agency's employee to walk each block face of every CCDC district.  

"So far we have completed the Central and Westside districts and a portion of the 540 acre River-Myrtle/Old Boise district," Brunelle noted.

Each employee looks for "problems and opportunities," including streetscape issues and any pedestrian or bicycle challenges.  Employees take photos and report back on what they see.

"As the days grow shorter we plan to stay close to our actual work, walk faster, see more, and keep moving ahead with boots on the ground.," Brunelle wrote.

Now you See’s it: candy shop opens up temporary shop

See’s Candies will open up a temporary candy shop in the Village at Meridian between White House Black Market and Grimaldi’s Pizza. 

See’s also has a location in Boise Towne Square that is open year around.  

The store at The Village is planned just for the candy season — err... holidays. 

Photo via Village at Meridian

Photo via Village at Meridian

Bleubird to fly away from downtown Boise

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Popular Downtown Boise eatery Bluebird will be closing in the new year. 

The restaurant posted to Facebook Sunday to announce the coming closure: 

  •  It is bittersweet to announce that BLEUBIRD will be permanently closing for business on Friday January 26th. Bleubird has far exceeded any expectations we had set for our small business thanks to all of our good customers. We are truly grateful for your business and support over these past 5 1/2 years. 

Owners David & Sarah Kelly says they will tackle a new restaurant - Petite 4 on the Boise Bench. The small eatery will feature a French menu on Latah St. next to the railroad tracks near the Morris Hill Cemetery. They are hoping to raise some startup funds for the new eatery on GoFundMe. 

Indoor farmers market envisioned for downtown

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Hawkins Companies envisions an indoor food hall or public market for its newly acquired Capitol Terrace building.

The market could take up current "common area" space on the first and second floors of the aging 1980s building.  Sketches posted in a sales flyer envision areas for farmers or small merchants to set up in the covered area around the escalators. A new bar is showing facing 8th Street near the current balcony.

The building is set for a remodel this spring.

Elsewhere in the building, the former nail salon space has a sign posted noting a new restaurant is coming soon - while the nearby Jamba Juice has closed, and moved to Boise Towne Square.

The sales flyer also notes that the current Piper Pub space is available for lease in the first quarter of 2018. It's unclear if that business is moving, closing or if another scenario is at play

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Indoor golf planned for Boise Bench

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A new indoor golf facility is planned for the Overland Park Shopping Center in Boise.

Back 9 Indoor Golf has applied to convert a 7,000 square foot pace next to Cobby's (the old home of WoodCraft before that retailer moved down the street).

The $30,000 project would convert the space into a golf retail shop with individual practice stations. The stations will utilize golf simulators to allow folks to "play" indoors when the weather gets cold (or hot [or rainy]).

Library! at Hillcrest to expand

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The Boise Public Library branch in the Hillcrest Shopping Center is set to expand, according to permits filed last week.

The neighborhood library will fill in a portion of the former Hillcrest 'mall' hallway that once gave access to smaller shops like Mike's Hillcrest Restaurant. The expansion will add 2,373 square feet to the existing library space, and and significantly increase occupancy.

The expansion will bring the library flush with the rest of the shopping center, and will expand available space for the Step Ahead non-profit college tutoring service.

The Hillcrest Shopping Center is also for sale - listed at $19.6 million.

Idaho Scientific takes prime downtown space

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Under-the-radar tech firm Idaho Scientific will soon have a prime piece of downtown real estate.

The company, which works to build secure computer systems, will take over a 4,000 foot plus office space in the Chase Plaza building in Boise. The small company currently has a space on the third floor of the building.

The company describes itself thusly:

The threats facing our nation's tactical and critical infrastructure evolve rapidly. To combat these threats, our company maintains cutting edge research through internal and government sponsored programs.

The company plans a $230,000 remodel on the office space, which will include a "secure lab space" and offices.

Complaint: Agency skirted Idaho law over stadium meetings

Via Greenstone Properties

Via Greenstone Properties

A group of connected Boiseans hopes to stop a downtown baseball and soccer stadium in its tracks, and is willing to press their case with the county prosecutor to do it.

A complaint filed late last month with the Ada County Prosecutor alleges the Greater Boise Auditorium District worked to circumvent Idaho's open meetings law in order to conceal dealings with the developer of a proposed downtown Boise stadium.

The five-page complaint includes a string of email messages involving GBAD executive director Pat Rice and Greenstone Properties principal Chris Schoen.  Greenstone is hoping to build a stadium on land currently owned by St. Luke's Health System near the Boise River in a complex deal that would include tax dollars, public bonds and private funding.

The Concerned Boise Taxpayers group led by former Albersons CEO Gary Michael and former Idaho Stampede lead investor Bill Ilett sent the letter to the Ada County Prosecutor on October 24th. BoiseDev was provided a copy of the letter and supporting documents from CBT. 

READ THE COMPLAINT

"Since I have 5 board members and a quorum requires a public meeting, I’d recommend an hour each in groups of 2+1," Rice wrote to Schoen in September of 2014. 

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That e-mail, with carbon copies to John Brunelle with the Capital City Development Corporation and Jade Riley in Mayor Dave Bieter's office among others, is the central piece of evidence in the CBT complaint.

I can’t have more than two at a time otherwise it is a quorum
— Pat Rice in en email to LeAnn Hume on October 2, 2014

In a follow up message to LeAnn Hume of Cushman & Wakefield Alliance, Rice again reiterated the importance of keeping his board in small group meetings.

"2 board members can meet. Then if we can tentatively plan for another meeting at 5 for 2 more board members that could work. As I mentioned previously, I can’t have more than two at a time otherwise it is a quorum."

The Michael & Ilett group requested thousands of documents from the City of Boise, CCDC and GBAD via public records requests, and provided many of those documents to media outlets including BoiseDev.

"As we searched through the documents provided in response to our public records requests, it was clear to us that the Idaho Open Meeting law was ignored," Michael said. "We want it investigated and, if the law was violated, we want it brought to light."

ALSO READ: 
Packaging a narrative: Inside the Boise Stadium push

When contacted, the Ada County Prosecutor would not comment on the existence of the letter. 

“Disclosure of such records would compromise any ongoing investigation that might be taking place by disclosing complaining witnesses and the details of any statutory default that might have taken place," Ada County Prosecutor Jan M. Bennetts wrote.

Rice had not seen the complaint when contacted last week by BoiseDev. After review, he was unable to comment fully on the record.

"This is a complaint in progress," Rice said. "If the county prosecutor contacts us, we are going to cooperate fully. "

He emphasized that though the City of Boise is working to move the project forward, his agency has had no formal involvement to this point.

"We are not committed to the project at this stage and the board has not seen any type of formal proposal."

It’s clearly a violation of the Idaho Open Meeting Law
— Betsy Russell, Idaho Press Club president

After reviewing the complaint, Idaho Press Club president Betsy Russell expressed concern over the meetings as outlined.

"It's clearly a violation of the Idaho Open Meeting Law," she said.  "The point of the law is to ensure that the public's business is done openly and that the public can observe it."

Russell also serves with Idahoans for Openness in Government and says that group holds seminars on this very topic.

"It appears to me to be a classic case of what we call a 'serial meeting'," she said.  "Elaborate subterfuges designed to avoid a quorum and allow a series of smaller meetings to substitute for an open public one as a public agency deliberates on a topic not only would defeat the whole purpose of the open meeting law - they also clearly violate it."

Ilett says that's the central argument behind their complaint.

"The documents show that City Hall and GBAD have been very devious in the way they have pushed the project forward, working with the out-of-town developer for the past two-plus years without public disclosure," he said.

Michael said this tactic is about one thing: stopping public dollars for a stadium.

"Our overall goal is simple. We do not want the baseball stadium built with public funds. It is the wrong project in the wrong place. "

Shore Lodge to close for construction; new dining options coming

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McCall's Shore Lodge will fully shut down operations for a week, starting November 13th.

Crews will swoop in after breakfast that day and knock out a number of projects - including "renovation of our two new restaurants," as well as updating detailed woodwork throughout the nearly 70-year old lodge on Payette Lake.

"We are excited for this project, as it will give a fresh new look to our common spaces," Lodge officials said in an email blast about the project.

Shore Lodge will open back up on Saturday November 18th at 7am.

Two other dining options at Shore are also being updated.

After launching the new Cutwater restaurant this summer, the resort will also reconfigure its Narrows Bar and Narrows restaurant offerings. 

The restaurant will move into the former bar space, and the bar will slide into the old restaurant space.  When it reopens in January, 2018 - the restaurant will be renamed Narrows Steakhouse. "A definitive Idaho steakhouse where the singular focus is to distinctively serve the finest food and drinks in one the most stunning dining environments anywhere," in Shore Lodge blog speak.

Local families plan brewery in old Boise firehouse

Loopnet.com screenshot

Loopnet.com screenshot

Boise's old firehouse six may soon have a new tenant: a brewery.

Bear Island Brewing Co. has filed for a conditional use permit with the City of Boise to convert the former fire engine bays into a brewery and taproom.  The former fire station on Fairview Ave. at Liberty St. has served a variety of uses since being decommissioned as a fire station.

Now, two large garage doors that were removed are planned to be added back to the building as part of the remodel and upgrade.

Bear Island distributes a variety of Idaho-themed ales that are currently brewed out of a garage operation. The Bechtel-Westover family owns the business, and serves its brew on tap at restaurants like Juniper, Cottonwood Grille, Cobby's and others - as well as at retail growler stations around the valley. 

The current lineup of beers includes Carriage Ride, Idaho Potato Ale, Fuse, BearFaced and Kolsch Royale.

The Bear Island folks say they still don’t have everything finalized just yet: 

  •  “Our official statement on this is that it is premature as it is still in it's infancy (this building has not been fully vetted yet and requires extensive permitting and approvals). We promise to make an announcement ourselves if we are moving forward with this or any other building. We will know more in December, until then thank you for your continued support and keep your fingers crossed!" Cheers, Beth Bechtel, CEO, Bear Island Brewing Company. 

News release: BSU won’t be part of stadium

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Boise State University issued this news release saying they will not be part of a hoped-for downtown stadium being built in part with tax money, and instead will focus on a stadium near campus. 

First, read the Boise State release. Then below read the City of Boise reaction.  

RELEASE from Boise State: 

 

  • BOISE STATE WILL NOT JOIN PROPOSED DOWNTOWN STADIUM PROJECT

    Boise State University will not be a part of the proposed downtown stadium project.

    Instead, university officials plan to construct a collegiate baseball stadium on or near campus.

    The university has been open about its interest in the idea of a shared downtown stadium since 2015, but Boise State President Bob Kustra said that in the end the question came down to the most efficient use of public dollars: It became clear that a long-term lease would be less financially prudent than a project that Boise State could either build or lease to own.

    “As a baseball fan, I support efforts that boost baseball in Boise and give our community a chance to enjoy the sport for years to come,” Kustra said. “I wish the Hawks and the City of Boise the best in moving forward. But my primary responsibility as university president is to make the best choices for the future of Boise State.”

    All along, Boise State officials have been clear that they have been open to the idea of a downtown stadium because of the opportunities it could provide for collegiate baseball — but that no arrangements had been finalized. The downtown stadium project remained one of the options the university was pursuing until this week. University officials called city leaders and others to tell them personally of the decision.

  • “We are in the middle of the hiring process for our baseball head coach, and an on-campus stadium will be a major selling point — both to the individual we ultimately hire, and to the future student-athletes that will be recruited to Boise State,” Athletic Director Curt Apsey said.

RELEASE FROM CITY OF BOISE: 

  •  Boise State would have been a natural tenant for the Boise Sports Park, so we are disappointed to hear that Agon Sports and Entertainment and Boise State were not able to reach an agreement. However, our independent analysis shows that the Boise Sports Park could be highly successful without Boise State as a tenant.  We are excited by the continued interest of the Boise School District and the other possible users of the sports park and will move ahead with the process to ensure that the project is a good fit for its neighbors and for the city has a whole. We wish Boise State baseball and women’s soccer a successful future.

     

Sails & shipping container envisioned for Pre-Funk

Pre-Funk bar on Front St. could get an update.

Pivot North Architecture has posted renderings of a revamped space - with a new shipping container on the roof and large green sails for an upstairs patio.

Nothing has been filed with the City of Boise just yet, and Pivot North describes the project as a "study:"

Located on Front and 11th in Downtown Boise, PreFunk desired to expand on an already tight urban site to respond to customer demand. The solution; add a rooftop patio and upper tap room.

"This study includes rooftop serving bar contained within a re-purposed shipping container, a new rooftop patio with fabric shade structure and access stairs.

Progress underway on Sun Valley Inn revamp

Sun Valley Resort is working on the previously announced renovation and expansion of a portion of the Sun Valley Inn.

The project will update some guest rooms, as well as revamp the old Bald Mountain Pizza into a new concept, plus reworking the Ram and Ram Bar. From a news release:

Remodeling of the Sun Valley Inn guest rooms began this fall with the first 25 of the 105 of them undergoing renovations, with the remaining 80 scheduled for the Fall of 2018. New furnishings and amenities, combined with some existing features, will retain the classic ambiance of the historic hotel. Some of the rooms are being connected to make expanded guest suites, meeting the needs of today’s sophisticated traveler and what guests have come to expect from Sun Valley Resort. Once completed, the inn will have 98 guest rooms.

Construction crews hope to have this phase of the project done in time for the December ski season.

Boise Hawks no more? City leaders push for name change

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A pair of city leaders hope the Boise Hawks will change its feathers.

BoiseDev was provided with a large trove of documents from Concerned Boise Taxpayers, obtained by the group under public records requests.

Correspondence this summer between Boise City Council member and CCDC board member Scot Ludwig and Greenstone Properties CEO Chris Schoen indicates the idea to "rebrand" the team is in the works.

Ludwig pitched names like the Boise Chukars, Boise Rapids, Boise Rocks -- and even Boise Sheepherders.  

Ludwig and Boise Mayor Dave Bieter spent time brainstorming ideas, according to an email from Ludwig to Schoen.

"Oh there were about 30 that the Mayor and I came up with. As you can imagine he liked the Sheepherders.....lol"

Ludwig quickly realized a conflict with nearby Idaho Falls on one name.

"There is already an Idaho Falls Chuckars (sic). Rapids!!!!!"

Schoen appeared to acknowledge the rebranding process and liked one of Ludwig's ideas.

"Rapids will be in the running!," he wrote. "The Boise Rocks is pretty good too (we're the Rockies affiliate). Keep thinking!"

Jeff Eiseman, president and partner at Agon Sports & Entertainment, a co-owner of the Hawks told BoiseDev a name change is a big if.

"We have had minimal discussion on that but it's been a few years," he said. "If and that's IF the club rebrands it would involve our fans involvement and not through an email. Those names don't seem like strong candidates."

Eiseman said a new soccer team could make it more challenging to also rename and revamp the Hawks.

"Ultimately the soccer team needs to be named and colors chosen. That's a lot of new branding if you throw in the Hawks."

"Any and all branding will include the most important voices: the fans/supporters."

A request for comment from the City of Boise went unreturned.  

Another Boise food truck gets storefront

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Mad Mac plans to add a bricks and mortar location.

The truck - which serves mac and cheese to hungry customers - is working on developing a space in the Boise Spectrum complex on Overland Rd. at Cole Rd. in Boise.

"After a short renovation, and if everything goes as planned, Mad Mac hopes to be open within a month, and hopes to have their grand opening at the beginning of December," the company noted in a news release.

 

First a fence, now a crossing: new light headed for Capitol Blvd.

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After the installation of a fence on Capitol Blvd. between the Lusk District and the Boise State University campus, ACHD is changing tactics.

Crews are set to add a pedestrian crossing at Island Ave. that will be activated only when people on foot push a button and request to cross. 

Work is underway now, the new signal is slated to be finished in November.

Student population is booming in the Lusk area - the new crossing will join a new crossing at Royal Blvd constructed last year.