Monday's announcement that Greenstone Properties has a letter of intent to acquire 11-acres of land from St. Luke's Health System has set social media ablaze (after BoiseDev first posted the story, the site saw a record traffic day).
What, exactly, would Greenstone buy from St. Luke's? What about the dentist?
According to SLHS spokesperson Anita Kissée, they are selling five separate parcels (see map below):
- The old Kmart site
- A portion of the old Kmart parking lot that housed an auto center
- The former Total Woman Fitness parcel across Spa St
- The old Beehive Salon spot
- The current Shoreline Center location that sits on the Greenbelt
That leaves several parcels in question - most prominently the current Summit Dental and Agri-Beef buildings. Of note, both buildings are shown in the aerial rendering provided by Greenstone. BoiseDev has reached out to the property owners, and have not yet heard back.
Greenstone gave this statement to BoiseDev:
We are not in a position to identify any other parcels that are part of our acquisition at this time. We have enough land through the St. Luke's Acquisition to execute the stadium and parcels that we will need to deliver to effect the financial plan to fund the required revenue to fund the bond payments for the public pieces. Understanding that the process to get to ground breaking will be significant and time consuming, we will look for additional parcels that complement the St. Luke's parcels and can make for projects that will work financially and contribute to the mixed use environment that we are seeking to create.
The Agri-Beef building is owned by RDT Real Estate which lists Agri-Beef CEO Robert Rebholtz as its primary owner. Request for comment from Rebholtz has not yet been returned.
The Summit Dental plot is owned by Shoreline Properties, which lists the doctors in the dental practice as its owners. Request for comment has not yet been returned.
Another building at the corner of River St. and 15th St. carries St. Luke's branding but is currently owned by a coalition of doctors operating under the "OSCI" operating entity. This parcel is not part of the stadium deal.
The sun! My eyes!
Many folks have looked at the released renderings and expressed concern about the hot summer sun during the Boise Hawks' summer season.
This is already an issue at Memorial Stadium in Garden City - with the sun beating down on spectators on the first baseline, causing a less-than-pleasant experience.
Jeff Eiseman, Agon Sports President and Partner says though design details aren't fully worked out, they are working to keep the sun at bay.
"The stadium is stacked with club seats and suites on 3rd base side which will provide ample shading," he told BoiseDev.com. "In addition, this does not account for the mass of buildings from the development or the lightpole structures for when the sun is higher. "
Eiseman says they have designed the stadium so that no seats face directly west, and the first baseline looks toward the northwest.
"The sun will not be nearly the issue it is at Memorial Stadium."
Tell me more about the design!
Eiseman tells BoiseDev the field could actually sink down below grade. "We don't know how deep we can go due to the water table. The field may be lowered and the design will be augmented as we get further along," he said.
He notes that the renderings are just conceptual right now - and will likely change as the process goes along.
In an interview on ESPN Boise Monday, Eiseman teased some other key design elements.
“It’s clearly a thoroughly modern venue, very different than what we have at Memorial Stadium," he told The Drive hosts Alex Gold & Joey Jenikins. "(It will have a) 360-degree wraparound concourse, indoor club space as well as suites. Plus, millions of dollars of LED display technology - and we are going to bring you right on top of the action.”
Yeah, where am I gonna park?
"As part of this there's going to be a $200-million plus ballpark village with a live-work-play environment," Eiseman said on ESPN Boise. "There's also multiple parking structures that will be part of this project."
That looks like a soccer field to me. What about baseball?
Jeff Eiseman told ESPN Boise that renderings for baseball configurations are still being worked on - and they hope to release those in the future.
Could the Hawks move up from short season A?
Eiseman told ESPN Boise that isn't in the plans right now - they need the available dates for other things like soccer, concerts and the like. The Hawks currently play about 36 home games per year, and the USL schedules roughly 12 games at home.
I'm really more into soccer, bub. What's the deal?
"We've probably gotten more questions about soccer than we have baseball," Eiseman told ESPN Boise. "We're going to showcase soccer and the USL like no one else."
Eiseman said on Twitter that they would cover the dirt infield with "lots of sod" and would employ "a hydraulic mound" to switch between a pitch and a field.
He says they hope to be able to accommodate 7,500 fans in the configuration for soccer. Things like a brand for the team haven't been worked out yet, but Eiseman told ESPN Boise that would be a process that involves the community.
Yeah, OK, when?
Eiseman told ESPN Boise there's still a chance this could be open by the 2019 season if several factors line up. He says 2020 is more likely.
Greenstone's other stadium project in N. Augusta, GA has been in the works since 2012 and is currently set to open by 2018.
What about Boise State?
Greenstone officials as well as Boise City Councilor Scot Ludwig have teased that Boise State could be part of the stadium project.
For now, nothing is set in stone according to Boise State Associate Vice President for Communication and Marketing Greg Hahn.
"Boise State officials have been in on some discussions about the possibilities of a downtown sports facility," Hahn told BoiseDev. "The university has long considered adding baseball as a potential future sport and we have a women's soccer team — university leaders are always interested in expanding opportunities and experiences for students."
But for now, no announcement about the blue & orange playing on the new green field of dreams is imminent.
"We aren't at any decision point on changes in athletics, and haven't been party to any agreements on the facility."
Are my taxes going to go up?
Last month, Ludwig told Jeff Caves "In this case, we're not anticipating any tax increase to pay for this project."
A portion of the stadium project would be financed through public funds. This potentially would be done through the creation of an urban renewal district and tax increment financing.
TIF "freezes" the tax collection going to the usual entities - like schools, police, fire, roads and the like. They would get the same cash every year that they get now - but any additional funds gathered through increased property values from the project would be diverted to the urban renewal district.
This does mean taxpayers in the rest of the city could pay more. For instance, Boise Schools spokesperson Dan Hollar tells BoiseDev that when another CCDC project - the Central District - sunsets next year, they expect to get nearly a million dollars per year that currently gets funneled to CCDC.
A new stadium could increase the demand for some services - like, for instance, police protection. Because BPD would get the same amount of funds from the area now as it does in the future, the bill for those extra services would be spread across citizens throughout the city.
What would this new CCDC district look like?
Talk of a new district for the stadium from the Capital City Development Corporation to draw TIF funds and purchase bonds has been talked about, but CCDC Executive Director John Brunelle said nothing is set in stone, yet.
"Early CCDC work has been brief meetings to discuss and take some uninformed attempts at drawing boundaries," he said. "Nothing is ready for board or council review yet, might be a few weeks."
Is a stadium an auditorium?
In yesterday's news release, Greenstone said the Greater Boise Auditorium District could be part of the project. How that might take place or what form isn't fully baked yet, according to GBAD Executive Director Pat Rice.
"Operating a sports facility is within the District’s statutory mandate," he said - it it can be tricky due to a 2010 Idaho Supreme Court decision.
"Operating a sports facility is within the District’s statutory mandate, but in 2010 the Idaho Supreme Court decision in the Pocatello case held that an auditorium district is one to build, operate. maintain, market and manage one of the statutorily listed facilities. The Supreme Court said the use of the word “and” meant a district must do all of those things. Through the joint powers statute, the District might be able to cooperate with other public entities in doing these things."
Rice says no proposal has been put in front of the GBAD board.
"There has been over time the suggestion/question as to the District participation at a cash level, but that hasn’t been determined either," he said.
What will become of Memorial Stadium in Garden City?
If the Hawks make this deal and leave their current location along the river in Garden City - what will happen to their current 1980s-era stadium? The ground underneath that facility is owned by Ada County as part of its Expo Idaho complex.
In a statement provided by Ada County Public Information Officer Kate McGwire - the county commissioners say, essentially, it is too soon to tell.
"The Boise Hawks have not included the county in their plans and have not notified us of their intent to vacate their lease. Decisions will be made if and when that happens."