I am often asked about recruiting specific retailers to downtown Boise, as everyone hopes to increase our retail offerings and capitalize on the vitality of downtown shopping. Our friends in the commercial real estate and retail recruiting world remind me of the complexity and realities of attracting retailers... especially top national brands to an urban core that does not have "big box" space. In the Treasure Valley We are challenged because our area is home to less than one million people, which is considered by many national retailers as the minimum population requirement to consider an area to expand into.
That said, the DBA joins our peers nationally- and internationally- in recognizing that retail attraction & retention is certainly a key in maintaining a vibrant downtown. I was impressed with Downtown Winnipeg's Executive Director Stefano Grande's recent blog post that sheds some light on the complexity of retail recruitment. CLICK HERE to read the article.
On the home front, exciting new projects are happening in downtown Boise.
Jack's Urban Meeting Place "JUMP" has started their development at 9th & Front. The project will be done in phases, with the first phase to build the underground parking structure and park. Bookmark this site to keep tabs on the project.
The Macy's building has sold, and new owner Northwest Real Estate Capital Group is planning on 64 affordable housing units, along with retail on the ground floor- to include a restaurant! They have already begun the improvements to the building. Follow along here.
The Gardner Group is moving along with plans for their 8th & Main development, which is slated to be approximately 20 floors tall. Retail will be the focus on the main level, and the building will become the Idaho headquarters for Zions Bank. They anticipate turning in documents for their building permit by April. Stay informed via 8thandmain.com or on Facebook.
The Whole Foods project at Front/Broadway is under construction and is scheduled to open early 2013. wholefoodsmarket.com
Interest in urban housing is increasing, and two near-to-downtown housing projects were announced recently including the River Edge Apartments on Royal Blvd (175 Units) and 916 Park Blvd (68 Units).In addition, Mercy Housing has broken ground on their housing project for seniors at 12th & River Streets. And as I mentioned above, the affordable housing project in the former Macy's building will add units to the core of downtown.
We are planning an Urban Living Tour to show off downtown housing on Sunday May 13, noon - 4pm- save the date! For event information and participating properties (tbc) visit downtownboiseliving.org
Finally, an exciting pilot project to test modern parking meters (those that accept credit cards) will be unveiled early March. Conducted by Capital City Development Corporation and the City of Boise Parking Department, the project area will be on 8th Street from Bannock to Main, and the on S. 8th from Front to Broad and Broad from 9th to Capital Blvd. Two types of electronic meters will be tested, single space and multi space meters. Visit ccdcboise.com for more details.
While there is still much to accomplish downtown, we are certainly energized and encouraged with the new developments taking place and on the horizon. We will continue to work hard to attract and retain businesses by creating and maintaining a vibrant, clean and safe urban core.