Local news. Locally owned.
We put readers first.

Just before it started, Boise cancels garage project, first domino in airport revamp

Idaho's Biggest Toy Drive
Idaho AGC Going Up

The City of Boise decided to cancel a project to build a new parking garage at the Boise Airport. The move will hold back $15 million in the airport’s budget. It will also cancel the hiring of hundreds of construction workers.

BoiseDev Project Tracker

  • Boise Airport master plan

    Click here for details, information & past stories

“Due to the unprecedented drop-off in passenger traffic and flights over the past month, along with the severe economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boise Airport has made the decision to halt new construction until we are able to assess the impact of the pandemic and identify the best course of action moving forward,” spokesperson Sean Briggs told BoiseDev.

The new employee parking garage would add 710 stalls of parking on five levels along Wright St. The city envisioned the project as the first in a series to revamp the airpot campus.

‘This is about jobs’

ESI Construction said airport officials told them they submitted the successful bid for the project. The city budgeted the project at about $16 million. Company president Neil Nelson expressed frustration about the cancellation.

“From my perspective, this is about jobs. We had confirmed fairly recently that it was going to move forward,” he said. “We made business and staffing decisions. Nothing is for sure until you have a signed contract, but the city could have extended the contract like other projects in town.”

Three projects would reshape the Boise Airport campus in coming years. BoiseDev graphic
- Story continues below -
116 & West
landproDATA

Nelson said not moving forward with the project will mean subcontractors will not get work that otherwise would have been available. That includes plumbers, painters, electricians and the like.

The airport canceled the project the same day the US Department of Transportation announced it would award BOI $18.9 million. That amount is just more than the $18.16 million the city had budgeted for maintenance and operations this fiscal year.

Briggs said the dollars allocated to the garage project will instead sit in the airport’s reserve fund. He also said the project would not have been eligible for federal funding under the CARES Act due to stipulations in the bill.

But Nelson felt federal money could have covered operations while keeping the dollars for the capital project in the Boise economy.

“I get it if it was private business or enterprise, you want to hang on to your bank account and have some cash on hand,” Nelson said. “But they’re a government entity. They already had approval to move forward on this – they got stimulus to use for operating income.”

First project in a series

The front entrance to the Boise Airport. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev file

But Briggs said the airport chose to be cautious.

“We want to make smart decisions so we have funds to operate the airport moving forward,” he said. “The airport did review a number of different possibilities on this project. What it really comes down to is we are in this area of uncertainty. We have no idea on the economy and how long the passenger levels could be reduced.”

He did say the project could go out to bid this year – as earlier as late 2020.

- Story continues below -
116 & West
landproDATA

The garage was the first in a long series of projects that would remake the Boise Airport campus. During a presentation last year, the airport director told the Boise City Council the pieces went in a specific order.

“These projects are sequential and have to happen in a specific order so that we can accomplish them,” Airport Director Rebecca Hupp said.

Briggs said airport staff started work on a review of the master plan and capital plan. They will then take that to the Boise City Council for review and approval.

Other elements of the plan, like the new public paraking and rental car garages, remain in the design phase.

“This will allow the Boise Airport to move quickly on these projects when we do see economic recovery,” he said.

Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

You asked: What’s the large new store on Highway 55 in Cascade?

You might have noticed a large new building under construction right off of Highway 55 by the Cascade Aquatic and Recreation Center and the...

New type of bike lane could come to Downtown Boise

A new-to-Boise type of bike lane is planned for 11th Street in Downtown Boise. The Capital City Development Corporation and Ada County Highway District...

Explain this to me: How do impact fees work, and who foots the bill?

Impact fees are a regular topic of public discussion in the rapidly growing Treasure Valley, but some residents misunderstand what the fees actually entail....

Boise’s Idaho Central Arena gets updated look

Crews started giving Downtown Boise's former CenturyLink Arena a new look - along with its new name. Idaho Central Arena is the new...

Popular

Jimmy Kimmel live in Idaho: comedian buys fly fishing lodge

Late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel just started taking each summer off from his talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live. Perhaps he's spending a...

‘Renovicted’: Boise renters report displacement from renovations as landlords seek higher rents

Carly Morisette is on the hunt for a new home just in time for the holidays.  Six and a half years after she moved into...

Push and Pour flows up river to Downtown Boise location

Push & Pour, the Garden City coffee, tea and breakfast joint will swim up river. Co-owner Brennan Conroy sad they will open a...

Developer of former Plantation club hopes to bring golf to Boise River ‘island’

As part of the redevelopment of the former Plantation Country Club in Garden City, the developer began exploring the use of an area in...

Related

Passenger counts at Boise Airport still well lower than pre-pandemic level

The number of passengers flowing through the Boise Airport increased significantly since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic -- but remain well below the...

Boise Airport applies for large new parking garage, but no timeline is set

Boise Airport officials are looking at the next step in the longterm plan to expand and upgrade the largest airport in the state. This week,...

UPDATE: Alaska Airlines reversed plans for layoffs in Boise

Editor's note: Alaska Airlines did not respond to our earlier requests for comment. An employee pointed us to updated information and we finally got...

UPDATE: Alaska Airlines reversed plans for layoffs in Boise

This story has been updated. You can find it here.
SERVPRO Certified

Latest

Developer of former Plantation club hopes to bring golf to Boise River ‘island’

As part of the redevelopment of the former Plantation Country Club in Garden City, the developer began exploring the use of an area in...

City of Boise scales back plans for housing ‘bonus’ ahead of hearing

The City of Boise made changes to its newest affordable housing proposal after taking public input.  On December 14, Boise’s Planning & Zoning Commission will...

Free crowdfunding training available to Idaho businesses impacted by COVID-19

Idaho businesses looking to raise some cash to fund their business during the pandemic have a new resource.  Through a partnership between Crowdfund Better and...

‘Renovicted’: Boise renters report displacement from renovations as landlords seek higher rents

Carly Morisette is on the hunt for a new home just in time for the holidays.  Six and a half years after she moved into...

‘Albertsons Prime?’ What grocer’s CEO says about a possible membership program

Could Albertsons Companies join retail behemoth Walmart with an Amazon Prime-type offering? BoiseDev asked Vivek Sankaran, CEO of the Boise-base retailer about it earlier this...

More people flock to real estate jobs as housing market booms

As Idaho’s real estate market booms, the ranks of real estate agents in the Gem State continues to grow right along with it. In November,...