Friday morning a group of panelists gathered to deliver the first State of Downtown Meridian and each shared a common sentiment: excitement for the future.
The Meridian Development Corporation, or MDC, the City of Meridian, and the Meridian Chamber of Commerce put together the virtual event.
The forum opened with remarks from Meridian Mayor Robert Simison, who spoke about making the downtown corridor a place where people want to be.
“It is the heartbeat of the community,” he said. “And we really have to stay focused on getting downtown development done correctly because what is occurring (is) we’re really setting the path for the next 50 to 100 years with the activity that we’re seeing. I’m really excited about the projects, and what we’ve seen go up, what’s in progress, and what’s yet to come… We are all focused on making downtown the best place to be in the Treasure Valley.”
BoiseDev previously told you about MDC looking for mixed-use development proposals for the Civic Block. Meridian’s Director of Community Development, Cameron Arial said the city has since received project applications.
“We’re excited that effort is in full swing. We did get three excellent proposals,” Arial said. “We’ve had one interview there with our first proposer, and we’re looking to complete the interviews and then the scoring process on those proposals here in the next week or two. It’s exciting. The proposals have incredible opportunities written all over them. So whoever we select there I think will truly add incredible value to the downtown.”
Old Town Lofts
There are a couple of large projects going up in downtown Meridian. One of those is Josh Evarts’ Old Town Lofts. The project is a 120,000 square foot project that will include 103 total units across two four-story buildings. The buildings would also include 17,000 square feet of commercial space.
Evarts gave the virtual audience updates on the project, including a timeline where he said the Main and Broadway building should be complete by April 1 and the second building at W. Idaho Ave. and N. Meridian Road should be complete by July 2022.
Evarts also spoke about wanting to make the lofts affordable. The monthly rental rates listed on his presentation were $960 for a studio, $1,025 for a one-bed, and $1,295 to $1,385 for a two-bed
“My wife and I are small business owners in downtown Meridian,” he said. “Even though we pay above average market rate for the staff that we employ down there, my staff have been priced out of ever buying a home in Meridian. It just is not accessible anymore… I have two employees right now that Uber into downtown, they actually don’t own vehicles to work full time in our lounge. They are looking at the lease rates that are coming out for Old Town Lofts and realizing they’ve got an opportunity to rent a place that’s actually affordable and be able to live and work within walking distance of their jobs.”
The second major project coming to downtown is Union 93. Union 93 is a large mixed-use development that would include 385 multi-family apartments across two buildings, and 29,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.
Bill Truax, President of Galena Opportunity Inc., hopes this project will help turn downtown into a ‘destination.’
“Given where we’re at in the valley and the number of projects that are developing in Meridian, I think you’re going to see more and more people, and more and more companies,” he said, “… So when they come downtown it is going to be a super vibrant place.”
There were several other announcements that came during the State of Downton Meridian event.
- There is a planned October Fest in 2022
- The city says its parking is only about 49% utilized
- There is zero available office space, but there are projects in the work that would add some
- Cravens Candy Emporium plans to open this year.