On Broadway: Boise's hot coridoor keeps booming

Don Day
BoiseDev.com

BOISE - Since I launched BoiseDev in 2013, it's been interesting to see the greater Boise area boom faster than many have expected. 

It's easy to focus on the Valley's three "marquee" areas: Downtown, Eagle Rd./The Village and Boise Towne Square - another area is making moves as the NEW marquee spot in Treasure Valley development: Broadway Ave. Consider this: since launching the BoiseDev email newsletter this spring, I've served up more than 50 Broadway-related items - and the onslaught isn't slowing.

Friday, The Idaho Transportation Department will reopen the Broadway Bridge after a nine-month-long closure and complete rebuild.  This will give new life to the area and reconnect it with downtown. The new bridge has more lanes, large piers overlooking the Boise river, and improved Greenbelt connectivity. Six tight vehicle lanes will be replaced with six roomy ones and bike lanes on each side.

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  • As first reported by BoiseDev.com, Albertsons plans a major tear-down and rebuild of its store at Broadway & Beacon. The new store would be 70,000 square feet. 
  • St. Luke's Health System finished a $5 million remodel of the former URS building on Broadway/Myrtle. The healthcare giant will use the space for offices and other back office functions. This is in addition to the major remodel it is planning for its main Boise campus just down the road (technically on Ave. B, but that's really just a name change for the same road).
  • National chains are lining up on Broadway like musicals do on its sister avenue in NYC. Noodles & Co. started the current wave, quickly joined by Cafe Zupas, Chick-fil-A, Popeye's Chicken, Great Clips, Freddy's Steakburger, Jimmy John's and Aspen Leaf. Plus, Black Rock Coffee Bar and more are on the way.
  • Spaces are turning over quickly - with the demise of Buster's prompting the rise of Flying Pie, the exit of Molenaar Jewelers being supplanted by the entrance of SuperGreen Solutions and the death of Newt & Harold's replaced with the birth of Verdant Crossfit.
  • More locals like Direct Orthopedic Care, Human Bean and Tin Roof Tacos are betting on Broadway.
  • Remodels at existing McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and two of the corridor's Jacksons gas outposts to name a few.
  • Boise State's new master plan which you saw exclusively here in October puts a major focus on the Broadway side of campus.

While other areas of Boise are healthy, none seem to be seeing the rapid advance like Broadway. Areas like Vista, Overland, State and Orchard are all seeing some incremental growth - but spots like Fairview are on the decline.

PROJECT TRACKER: St Luke's Children's Pavilion

Broadway has the benefit of being only one of two links from I-84 over the Boise River in the city (Vista/Capitol is the other; Cole juts to Mtn. View which turns to Glenwood which eventually crosse the river in Garden City - but it's not a straight shot). It also is the eastern most border of major retail in the City. SE Boise and Barber Valley are generally underserved with retail - outside of the concentrations at Apple/ParkCenter, Columbia Village Albertsons development and the Fred Meyer Family Center on Federal Way - there are few options.

PROJECT TRACKER: Albertsons Broadway

Many areas in the 83706 and 83716 ZIP codes are higher in income - and Broadway is a prime destination (versus, say - the mall or Eagle Rd - which can be quite a hike). Plus, Broadway benefits by having easy access to students at Boise State, North and East Enders who have limited options and the large base of St. Luke's employees in the area.

Like any big Broadway play, the hot streak can quickly end - but for now at least, Boise's Broadway seems destined to stay in the spotlight.

By Don Day

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