Hallmark returns to Treasure Valley

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It used to be an... ahem... hallmark... of shopping centers large and small: a Hallmark store.

But the Treasure Valley has been without a Hallmark since the 2016 closure of all remaining Jordan's Hallmark locations - including Milwaukee, Apple St. and Eagle Rd.

A new-to-the-Treasure Valley franchisee took over the former location on Eagle Rd. in November - bringing the cards and gifts retailer back into the Valley.

Winnie's Hallmark is now open in the Meridian Crossroads Center on Eagle Rd. near Fairview, open each day from 10am-8pm.

This story came from the BoiseDev Facebook group - thanks all!

Coffee shop launches in revamped old garage

Courtesy Jessica Flynn

Courtesy Jessica Flynn

Buzz your girlfriend. WOOF! Before image via Google.

Buzz your girlfriend. WOOF! Before image via Google.

Garden City's booming Riverside District is getting another new addition - a coffee shop in a former rundown garage.

After some improvements. Photo courtesy Push & Pour

After some improvements. Photo courtesy Push & Pour

Push and Pour is now open at 34th St. and Carr St. in Garden City. It joins a growing number of businesses popping up in creative spaces on the GC side of the river. Telaya Winery took part of the Riverside Hotel's unused parking; Sandbar revamped and expanded its outdoor summer restaurant; Luciano's opened a walk-up cafe on a triangle of land leftover from a housing development; Yardarm took shipping containers and made a bar.  

Each of the businesses is designed to capitalize on foot traffic and recreationalists using parks on the Boise side of the river - which notably has very little commercial business. 

Push and Pour is open 7am to 3pm.

Another McDonald's closes


The McDonald's in Boise Towne Square has closed.

It is the latest in a string of local Golden Arches locations franchised by Darmody Enterprises to close in recent years - including a standalone store on Apple St., and express kiosk in the Airport Chevron and a location inside the Boise Airport.

Efforts to reach the Darmody family were not successful.

This leaves a second vacancy in the food court- the Taco Time next door has been vacant for quite some time.


New stadium site idea not a go with stakeholders

The former Bob Rice Ford site is reported to be a new spot for a Downtown Boise stadium project that has faced fierce opposition. Google Maps image.

The former Bob Rice Ford site is reported to be a new spot for a Downtown Boise stadium project that has faced fierce opposition. Google Maps image.

Tuesday, the Idaho Statesman reported a different site was being considered for a downtown Boise stadium, despite years of time, effort and money spent on the so-called Shoreline site.

BoiseDev worked to confirm this story Monday, but did not get responses from City of Boise officials or an official with the Boise Hawks ownership group. Those officials did speak on the record Tuesday to the Statesman after BoiseDev inquired Monday.

Mayor Dave Bieter said Tuesday that he is evaluating a proposal to relocate the stadium from the site of a former Kmart now occupied by St. Luke’s Health System to land about half a mile to the northwest — possibly the same parcel where College of Western Idaho plans to build its Boise campus.

CWI could go into the former Kmart where St. Luke’s has offices at Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive, allowing it to open in Boise sooner than it could on a riverfront parcel it owns on the northwest corner of Whitewater Park Boulevard and West Main Street, Bieter told the Idaho Statesman.

What was not included in the initial story was reaction from other parties involved.

St. Luke's Health System, which owns the land Greenstone Properties had been working to acquire for the stadium, says it is still working on a deal.

"There continue to be conversations in the community about the proposed sports park development," St. Luke's Communication Manager Anita Kissee said. "What I can tell you is that the Shoreline property is under contract with Greenstone and we are working to conclude the transaction."

CWI board member Emily Walton said her group does not have any type of deal in place to swap land.

"I know people have lots of ideas about how we should move forward and of course we’re happy to have conversations with anyone.," she said in a comment. "We’re talking in every board meeting about how to meet our students’ needs."

The City of Boise has not responded to requests for comment from BoiseDev on a wide variety of stories in recent weeks. They will also not comment on wether it is policy to not respond to specific reporters.

UPDATE: Statement from Concerned Boise Taxpayers:  

 “This new pivot from the mayor only raises more questions. Now, more than ever, the city needs to slow down, be transparent and show some fiscal responsibility. While we strongly support any effort to help CWI, we also want to make sure that Boise taxpayers are protected from poor decisions about a baseball stadium.”

Controversial housing project development changes gears

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Developers have changed their plan for 126 apartment homes on Warm Springs Ave. in Barber Valley.

BoiseDev was the first to report on the planed Barber Hills Vistas project in April. The project met resistance of neighbors in the nearby Dallas Harris Estates subdivision (disclosure: I own a home here). 

The new plan replaces the apartment complex idea with 47 homes with alley-loaded garages, similar to the neighboring Harris Ranch development. It would also include a 50 foot wildlife corridor along the west side of the property, as well as a "wetland enhancement area" that would be adjacent to an existing pond an nature trail area owned separately. 


Public market concept at Spectrum gets name, open date


The public market concept slated for the Boise Spectrum has a name and scheduled opening date.

Boise Spectrum owners DD Dunlap Companies have struggled to fill vacancies at the center since purchasing it from Hawkins Companies.  When it first opened, the Edwards Cinemas-anchored village space featured Jamba Juice, Moxie Java, Pronto Pups, Yen Ching, Game World, Goodie's and even a pair of live radio stations.

In years since, the retail environment has declined and all the above tenants have moved out or closed. Some have been replaced, and others spaces have sat vacant for years.

A remodel in 2015 hasn't filled all the empty spaces,  so the ownership group will push together four empty stores to create the new 7,200 square foot public market.

Chow Public Market + Eatery is now slated to open in May, 2018.  

Plans indicate the new project will include a bar, market, food court and retail space. The remodel will cost about $650,000.

"It’s different than a local farmer market or chain franchise," owner Nicholas Jones wrote in a blog. "The Chow Public Market and Eatery is focused on connecting people and providing a place where people can come relax, drink and eat. You can even do a little shopping for high quality local goods while you’re there."

The concept could have company - from the former owner of the Spectrum complex no less. Hawkins Co. is shopping a covered market in an area with built in foot traffic along 8th St. in its newly acquired Capital Terrace building.

Rendering courtesy Chow Public Market & Eatery

Rendering courtesy Chow Public Market & Eatery

Fewer lanes, no bike lanes & parking on Front & Myrtle? Consultant plan is just the start

Front Street & Myrtle Street run through the heart of Boise - part of a highway and freeway system that move cars into, out of and through Downtown.  But the roads present a literal barrier to those on foot - serving as a major dividing line in the Capitol City's heart.

Changes could be coming to those streets, but a consultant's ideas may be a tough sell.

BoiseDev was the first to report on the project to develop a set of plans to make Front St. and Myrtle St. as they run through Downtown more than just freeway offshoots.  Now, for the first time, the plan is revealed here to the public.

Sam Schwartz Consulting has turned in its Front and Myrtle Alternatives Analysis - which lays out the current situation and potential future of the two roads.

Front Street from above. Don Day/BoiseDev.com

Front Street from above. Don Day/BoiseDev.com

Front and Myrtle form a couplet - flowing off the Interstate-184 freeway and ending at Broadway Avenue.  The streets were a vital part of the early-90s era Broadway-Chinden Connector which remade east-west transit through the city core.  That project put a "freeway to freeway" connection right through Downtown Boise.

Each of the streets is controlled by the Idaho Transportation Department as state highways, and as such are not under the purview of the Capital City Development Corporation or City of Boise, or even the county-wide Ada County Highway District.

As we reported last year, the CCDC/City of Boise group went back and forth extensively with ITD over how the Alternatives Analysis, with the City and CCDC wanting an emphasis on “shift(ing) in focus away from moving cars with minimal delay,” while ITD lobbied for language that didn’t inconvenience auto drivers.

The analysis

Cover page of the Front & Myrtle Alternatives Analysis

Cover page of the Front & Myrtle Alternatives Analysis

The Schwartz team found that Front and Myrtle sliced through the Downtown street grid, and as “auto-centric” roads, they acted as a “physical and psychological barrier… for those walking and biking.”

Cars are currently allowed to go 35 MPH along the streets - typical for many surface roads, but outside the norm for the rest of the downtown street grid which features a 25 MPH limit.  Each road has five lanes - which when combined with high speeds can mean crossing north-to-south while on foot can mean long frustrating waits.

The Alternatives Analysis found that the roads actually have a surplus of capacity for cars - and suggests that it could be put to use to make the roads more friendly for those using bikes and their feet without causing major harm to drivers.

“(The) preferred alternative generally prioritizes strategies that reduce excess roadway capacity and vehicle speeds, aims to improve safety for all street users, and reduces north-south crossing distances,” the report notes.

Fewer lanes

Sam Schwartz Consulting graphic with BoiseDev overlay

Sam Schwartz Consulting graphic with BoiseDev overlay

The consulting team suggested cutting the roads from five lanes to three in spots - but mixing in segments that are four and five lanes as well - depending on the needs for each block.

Front St. would be cut from five lanes to four between Broadway & Capitol Blvd. It would jump back up to the current five lanes in the heart of downtown from Capitol to 9th St., then go back to four lanes from 9th until the mouth of the Connector at 13th St.

On Myrtle, five lanes would stay in place from the end of the Connector and 11th St.  Then it would drop to four lanes until Capitol.  Then, the current five-lane road would three lanes all the way to Broadway - though some turn lanes would be mixed in on this stretch.

Schwartz’s team says traffic on the two streets will continue to worsen over time even if nothing is done - but concluded “the differences in traffic operational impacts between the future ‘no-build’ scenario and the preferred alternative designs are modest compared to the benefits provided. “

Vince Trimboli, Idaho Transportation Department Public Affairs Manager said that concept will be a difficult one.

“The Connector coming in and out of town is a freeway to freeway connection,” he said. “The three middle lanes move traffic through, the outer two lanes get people on and off.”

By cutting down to three lanes in even a portion of the road - it could cause problems.

“If you… squeeze your traffic down to one lane essentially, you could potentially create safety and mobility concerns by just backing traffic up,” Trimboli said.

While the Alternatives Analysis primarily focused on the roads as they exist as part of Downtown Boise, Trimboli said many users have to be considered for a portion of the state highway network.

“We want to make sure we take a more balanced or wholistic approach - that is the best for the City of Boise, for their pedestrians, (and) people all over the Valley and around the state.”

The City of Boise did not respond to requests for comment.

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Bike lanes? No. Parking? Yes.

Taking out lanes would free up room for other uses - but in what will come as a surprise to some, one of those suggestions isn’t new or expanded bike lanes.

“Bicycle facilities were generally not favored by the project team, as parallel facilities along Main and Idaho are currently under consideration,” the report said.

Bike lanes on Main and Idaho have been hotly contested and were even briefly installed - but for now, remain absent on these adjacent streets.

Instead, extra wide sidewalks and car parking would be slotted in along the the two highway roads.

Sam Schwartz Consulting graphic. Click to enlarge

For instance, at Capitol and Myrtle, the Alternatives Analysis suggests removing the existing shoulders (which are used by some as bike lanes) and extending the sidewalks.  Near Trader Joe’s, where a lane is suggested to be removed, the sidewalk would be vastly expanded at the corner with a place for bike parking - and a row of new on-street parking for cars.

On the three-lane stretch of Myrtle St. that runs near Julia Davis Park, two lanes could be removed, and replaced with tree-lined sidewalks as well as parking for both cars and bikes.

Get this crosswalk party started

Sam Schwartz Consulting graphic.

Sam Schwartz Consulting graphic.

Four new stoplights and three additional crosswalk legs could be added on the couplet if the suggested plan were to be fully adopted.

On Myrtle Street, stoplights and pedestrian crossings are suggested at both 5th Street and Avenue A.  

In the case of Avenue A, adding crosswalks here would cut down the nearly half-a-mile stretch between 3rd Street and Broadway that provides no way for bikes or those on foot to cross Myrtle.  A new light at 5th Street would help connect downtown to a new pedestrian path that links to Julia Davis Park.

For Front St., new stoplights could be added at 10th Street and 12th Street.  The 10th Street light would give pedestrians easier access to JUMP and the Simplot headquarters.  

New west side crosswalk “legs” could be added to existing crossings at Ave. A, 2nd Street and Capitol Blvd.  Right now those intersections only have crosswalks on the east side due to turning traffic and potential conflicts.

ITD, CCDC collaborate to make changes to Front, Myrtle

Slower speeds?

The report didn’t specifically make a recommendation about what to do about the 35 MPH speed limit.

It did include a page about “Other ITD facilities” and noted that both Highway 26 in Downtown Idaho Falls and The I-84 business loop in Caldwell have speed limits of 25 MPH in urban environments.

“Neither of these examples are  analogous to Front and Myrtle, but are instead offered to provide context for the potential for lower speeds,” report writers noted.

A CCDC official told me last year that reducing the speed from its current 35 MPH posting would have several impacts the agency viewed as positive - including reducing the amount of time it takes cars to speed up and slow down, and making the streets quieter and calmer in general.

By Famartin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34842272

By Famartin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34842272

ITD has held to the 35 MPH limit.

The conflict is noted in the report’s opening pages.

“Front and Myrtle’s primary role as a major east-west facility to move traffic can’t be overlooked, especially with the rise of Meridian as key destination in the west metro area, and strong residential growth in southeast Boise.”

Trimboli says comparing Front & Myrtle to the roads in other roads isn't a complete comparison.

"It’s an apples to oranges comparison because it’s a freeway-freeway connection. I-84 back to I-84 via Broadway," he said.

Schwartz suggests looking at signal timing along Front Street during peak rush hour.  Right now, vehicles are given 140 seconds for each green cycle in rush hour periods - which means people on foot, bike or car who want to get across Front wait nearly two minutes.  The reports says cutting the cycle length  time to 90 or 100 seconds could have small impacts to traffic on Front - but concedes that signal timing on Front and Myrtle are all tied into the wider timing of streets across downtown, which the report writers acknowledge is beyond the scope of their report.

Up and over? Over and out

A pedestrian walkway like the one soon to be constructed over Ave. B by St. Luke's Health System isn't suggest for Front or Myrtle.

A pedestrian walkway like the one soon to be constructed over Ave. B by St. Luke's Health System isn't suggest for Front or Myrtle.

Last fall when BoiseDev first broke word of this process, the headline included the phrase “visions of tunnels & skybridges” - based upon reporting from stakeholders who wanted to see “big picture” ideas for Front and Myrtle in the future.

But the report bats down these ideas.

In essence, Schwartz's team argues that putting the road in a tunnel or building a skybridge over the top causes many problems.

Even thought a skybridge gets people on foot and bike up and over the cars, they make “inconvenient diversions.”  To access a skybridge, you often have to take a ramp, elevator or stairs - instead of just crossing the street a normal crosswalk.

For tunnels, they can be “potentially unpleasant.” If you’ve ever been in a car tunnel, they aren’t exactly a place you want to spend much time.

And lastly - either option is expensive.

“Bridges and tunnels would also be significantly more expensive than street design and traffic signal changes,” the Schwartz report said.

What’s next?

While City of Boise spokesperson Mike Journee did not respond to a request for comment, the Capital City Development Corporation and Idaho Transportation both emphasized it's not a final solution.

CCDC and ITD have worked together to implement several portions of the plan - including an extensive project to expand the Pioneer Pathway connection at 11th and Myrtle.

“Other near-term improvements include expanding corners and shortening pedestrian crossing distances at 20 locations along Front and Myrtle, set to occur with the resurfacing of those streets next spring,” CCDC Project Manager Matt Edmond said. 

Trimboli said the plan is one idea for the future - but more negotiation needs to happen.



“The plan they’ve presented is to one extreme and we need to find one that’s balanced,” he said. “We want to work with the City. We’ve had some conversations with them, and like to see some of our suggestions wrapped into the plan. “

Trimboli said his agency and the City worked together on the Broadway Ave. bridge completed last fall and hopes something similar can happen with this project.

“Let’s find solutions We worked through Broadway, we can work through them on this to come up with a future plan that will be the best for all involved.”

Edmond echoed the need for more collaborative work to come.

“The Analysis offers a menu of other changes to Front and Myrtle that, while promising, are somewhat more complex, and so will require additional analysis and stakeholder outreach, both by CCDC and its partner agencies in the coming months.”

Schwartz’s firm and two partner companies collected about $200,000 for the review project.  

Moxie Java chain listed for sale


Business broker Arthur Berry has a blind listing up for a "coffee roastery, distributor, franchisor w/ retail locations."

That business is Moxie Java, BoiseDev has learned.

Moxie was once the dominant coffee chain in the Treasure Valley - with more than three dozen locations. It also had franchised stores in 14 states and Japan.

Now, the coffee chain is down to just sixteen stores across the country - and about a dozen in the Treasure Valley.  National brands like Starbucks, Dutch Bros. and upstarts like Human Bean have increased their presence in the last decade.

Hayden Beverage purchases Dawson Taylor

A 2014 Boise Weekly story noted that the chain had shrunk to 31 locations after a messy lawsuit led to 16 stores leaving the Moxie fold for other brands and concepts.  The BW story painted a hopeful view of the future - with ideas for "aggressive expansion," new store designs and a new coffee taste.

The asking price is $599,000 - down from an initial $790,500 - which doesn't include the chain's Garden City HQ building which is available separately.

The deal includes two company-owned stores but not the various franchised or licensed stores.  

Co-owner Rick Dean died in July at age 72 according to the chain's website.

Here's how the Arthur Berry folks pitch the chain:

After more than a decade of ownership and expanding the company into new markets and distribution channels, the (s)eller is looking to retire and is ready to pass the baton to... an entrepreneurially-minded buyer who is passionate about the category, appreciates the value of a strong brand and possesses the management skills to operate multiple businesses, or... another coffee company/coffeehouse chain interested in expanding its market share through acquisition of a strong regional brand with an established chain of coffeehouses inclusive of retail and food service distribution. 


Genius move? Einstein's Oilery plans to open on Broadway


Einstein's Oilery has applied to open a location on Broadway Ave. near Highland St. on the current site of a beauty salon.

The application with the City of Boise calls for a new drive-through quick lube spot, which would be the chain's 8th in the Treasure Valley.

The existing Blondie's Hair Salon would be torn down and replaced with a one-story oil change building with basement, if approved.


Hardware store slated for former Kmart

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The old Kmart space on Fairview Ave. at Five Mile Rd. is being repurposed for a number of new uses - the latest of which will bring a hardware store to the area.

The Idaho Youth Ranch, Johnny's Fit Club and a church had previously been announced - but permits indicate a new Ace Hardware will slot into the corner space behind a new Maverik station.

Kmart left a large 84,000 square foot space behind, and the center's owners decided to split the space up into multiple pieces.

The hardware store will take up about 17,000 square feet 

No sunset just yet: Holdings holding on to Sun Valley

Sun Valley last winter. Photo by Don Day/BoiseDev.com

Sun Valley last winter. Photo by Don Day/BoiseDev.com

The ski resort industry is going through a wave of consolidation - with two big Colorado players gobbling up the competition. Vail Resorts now owns Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Whistler Blackcomb and more.  Aspen Ski Co. now owns Snowmass, Steamboat, Blue Mountain, Mammoth among others.

Last year, Aspen opened the Limelight Hotel in Downtown Ketchum - setting off a wave of speculation that it was a way to dip its toe into the Sun Valley market - with its eye on a bigger prize.

Industry publication Skift recently looked at consolidation and where the Sun Valley Company fits in - particularly with Aspen on its doorstep.

The move raised some eyebrows, as Ketchum is a mere mile down the road from the privately-held Sun Valley Resort. Could a move into the greater Sun Valley real estate market be a harbinger of things to come?

After Earl Holding's death in 2013, his family has continued to invest in the Sun Valley Resort - with a complete revamp of the historic lodge complete and a revamp of the Sun Valley Inn under way.

Skift says neither side is eyeing a deal for now.

Sun Valley is not for sale, nor is Aspen Skiing Company setting its sights on it. Kelli Lusk, Sun Valley’s public relations and communications manager, says the Holding family is holding onto ownership and has no plans to sell. All Alinio Azevedo, chief operating officer for Aspen Skiing Company’s hospitality division, will say is that “we have a great relationship with Sun Valley at corporate levels–and the families are good friends.”


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


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


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


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.