A new road into downtown Eagle is now open, paving the way for a large mixed-use development.
Last month, the Eagle Urban Renewal Agency completed construction on the Palmetto Drive Extension. The short new stretch of road creates a route from Highway 44 headed north toward downtown Eagle on old State Street. The project, funded half by the URA and half by developer Eagle 26 LLC, could take roughly 11% of traffic off of the intersection between Eagle Road and Highway 44, according to Eagle URA Board Chair Janet Buschert.
“It’s been in the top one or two spots for our priority list so it feels really good to get this one done and be able to move on to some other stuff,” Buschert said.
Buschert expects the access road will help development in the area because of the added connectivity. She also estimated it will improve response times to parts of Eagle because of the location of a fire station in the area.
A battle for approval
It cost the URA roughly $350,000, with Eagle 26 footing the rest of the bill for the $750,000 project. Greg McVay heads up the development company for the project, called Molinari Park.
This project has been in the works since 2016 and was part of the requirement for Eagle 26 to build its 24 acre, mixed-use project near downtown Eagle. The roughly $120 million project will include 91 two and three story townhomes, 16 condos, 5,000 square foot of retail, 200 units of four story apartments, a five acre site to support 60,000 square feet of office space and a one acre park. The project could bring between 700 and 900 people to live and work in the area.
McVay’s project has had a bumpy ride to approval. After an initial denial in November 2018, it got a thumbs up from Eagle City Council under former Mayor Stan Ridgeway after some changes in February 2019. Some Eagle residents who testified in hearings listed concerns about the project – like density and other issues, according to the Idaho Statesman.
Ongoing legal battle
Opponents asked Eagle City Council to reconsider the decision twice and filed a petition for judicial review so a judge would decide if the approval was legal in August 2020. In September 2020, a court dismissed their complaint because it missed the deadline, the Idaho Statesman reported.
But that’s not the end of the legal fights. In June 2020, Eagle 26 filed suit against the City of Eagle and its new mayor Jason Pierce related to the project’s progress. A trial is set for November, 2021.
McVay declined to comment on the status of Molinari Park and the ongoing court case.
Eagle’s Planning & Zoning Administrator Bill Vaughan said Friday it has City Council approval, Design Review approval and Eagle 26 must now submit an application for a final plat before building permits can be issued.