Urban renewal on Boise Bench takes shape

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The Capital City Development Corporation launched two new urban renewal areas at the beginning of the year, and is now looking at another two in coming years.

The agency has been studying the idea since at least 2016 as BoiseDev reported.

Now a more firm timeline is in place, but many hurdles still must be overcome for the district to be formed.

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The agency broke the overall study area into four pieces. It could adopt all or parts of the areas studied. It plans to begin a process that could stretch until the end of 2020 to form the district, including a public outreach process.

“We plan to engage with the neighborhood associations, CCDC project manager Doug Woodruff said. “This study area touches eight different neighborhood associations. It is important that we understand what those associations are interested in and how urban renewal could help their neighborhoods.”

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[Deep Dive series: Up on the Bench – bringing urban renewal up the hill]

Four possible ‘subareas’

CCDC will break up the overall study area into four pieces:

  • Tank farm subarea (green on map)
    • This is centered on the petroleum tank farm along Curtis Rd.
    • It is 641 acres in size. The City of Boise is studying the idea of relocating the tank farm to a new site near the Boise Airport.
    • “This could open up significant opportunity to redevelop the area and the neighborhood for something like Hyde Park or Bown Crossing,” Wodruff said
    • This area also partially overlaps with a new federal Opportunity Zone.
  • Overland Rd. subarea (blue on map)_
    • This is anchored by the large Hillcrest Shopping Center at Overland Rd. and Orchard St. The project has seen declining lease rates and has been listed for sale.
    • This area is 190 acres in size.
    • Woodruff said this area has “gaps in critical infrastructure. The sidewalks are in pretty poor shape. There’s a lot of missing (pieces) in the infrastructure that could use some help “
  • Vista Ave. subarea (red on map)
    • This area is considered a gateway corridor, linking the Boise Airport and I-84 with Downtown Boise.
    • It is 220 acres in size.
    • It also includes the Simunich Farm property, which could be subdivided for future uses. , 44 acres of ROW, 359 parcels.
    • (Disclosure: My family owns and operates the Vista Village Shopping Center which is in this study area. I do not own a stake in this business, but members of my immediate family do).
  • Latah subarea (yellow on map)
    • This area centers on Rose Hill and Latah, where some commercial reinvestment projects are already underway.
    • It is 139 acres in size.

“The investment isn’t going to be what we see in a downtown area,” Woodruff said. “It’s a different balance with longer streets.”

Next steps

A report to the CCDC board is due this spring, which will be at the begining of a process that could roll out over the next two years.

“Currently, we are targeting the end of the calendar year 2020 would be when we would probably be working toward establishing the district and that’s the time to have those community conversations,” Woodruff said.

“I’m excited to see the findings of the report,” CCDC commissioner and former Boise City councilor Ben Quintana said. “We’ve been doing a lot of work on that area and expanding into other areas on the Bench.”

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