Welcome to Armchair Developer – the first in an occasional series of items on what I’d do around town if I had unlimited funds.

An interesting plot of land has gone on the market in Boise – and maybe we’ll get lucky and someone will buy it and build a cool waterfront restaurant.

 Google Earth historical imagery of the former Idaho Shakespeare amphitheater on ParkCenter
Google Earth historical imagery of the former Idaho Shakespeare amphitheater on ParkCenter

The slice of land sits at ParkCenter and Beacon on the river side of the road, very near the bridge.  It doesn’t get much use, except for overflow parking for fans of Boise State football on game day.

The site has been vacant since the Idaho Shakespeare Festival left in 1997 after spending thirteen seasons there before moving up the river to its current Barber Valley site.

This isn’t a paid post, but the site has some interesting characteristics. The biggest is the Boise River frontage, with only the Greenbelt separating it from water. The site is 2.36 acres across two parcels, and is listed at $2.3 million. The Ada County Assessor values the combined parcels at $1.23 million.

While the land is surrounded by endless office buildings along the river, maybe we’ll all get lucky and someone will snap it up and build an amazing restaurant project.  

Boise has very few waterfront dining options. Cottonwood Grill, Joe’s Crab Shack, Sand Bar and The Ram are really the only examples in Boise/Garden City (if you discount the private Arid Club). Of those, only Sand Bar really takes full advantage of its riverside location – and it is closed from October through May.

Maybe someone will get creative and figure out how to do a cool restaurant concept, a standup paddle board ramp, a killer bar and some townhomes above.

We can hope right?


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Don has been covering news in Boise for 20 years. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.