The final phase of a $65 million development at Boise's busiest entryway has begun, with a five-story office building to go up on the vacant northeast corner of 13th and Myrtle streets Downtown.
Already, an 829-space parking lot has been built, at 11th and Front, and is open to businesses and the public. And next month, a 150-room Hilton Garden Inn at 13th and Front and a Panera Bread restaurant at 11th and Myrtle are scheduled to open.
Panera Bread, with 4,700 square feet of space and a drive-through, is scheduled to open July 6, but may open on the 4th of July if ready early, said David Wali, an executive vice president with Gardner Co., which is developing the project, named Pioneer Crossing. The opening date for the Hilton Garden Inn has not been set.
The $20 million office building will provide 120,000 square feet of space, Wali said. Half of it already is leased, The space will rent for about $25 per square foot, typical for new office buildings Downtown, he said.
The company hopes to have it completed in 14 to 16 months, he said. The space will have the versatility to accommodate tenants with different needs, "anything from an accounting firm to a tech-software company," Wali said.
Pioneer Crossing is the first full commercial block that motorists pass as they come off the Interstate 184Connector heading east into Downtown. It encompasses 4.5 acres bordered by 11th, 13th Myrtle and Front streets. More than 70,000 vehicles pass the block each day.
The property is just west of where the J.R. Simplot Co. built its new headquarters building and the Simplot Family Foundation's adjacent Jack's Urban Meeting Place, or JUMP.
"It was a previously undeveloped parcel very close to the heart of Downtown," said Shellan Rodriguez, real estate development manager for the Capital City Development Corp., Boise's urban-renewal district. "To see investment in places that have been struggling with development or have been previously undeveloped for so many years, this is really positive."
The Pioneer Crossing block once served as a railroad yard when rail service connected Downtown Boise with Nampa. The site sat vacant for many years and was previously known as Parcel B.
The Greater Boise Auditorium District bought Parcel B for $5 million in the early 2000s hoping to locate a convention center there. The district later decided to expand the Boise Centre and sold the parcel to Gardner Co. in 2016 for $7.9 million.
The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, including the Boise Valley Economic Partnership and the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau, moved into 13,000 square feet of ground-floor office space in the parking garage in January.
The urban-renewal district agreed to pay $5.4 million for the public spaces in the garage, known as 11th and Front. It opened in early April.
The district also is providing Gardner Co. with $4.3 million in reimbursements for public-improvement costs.
Gardner agreed to widen a paved section at the southwest corner of 11th and Myrtle streets to better accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists heading to and from the nearby Pioneer Pathway. The company also agreed to plant trees, add benches and a trash can, and make other improvements.
Gardner is a major player in Downtown development. It constructed Eighth & Main, Idaho's tallest building, which was completed in early 2014. It also built the nine-story City Center Plaza, which opened two years later. It was involved in the expansion of the Boise Centre.
Boise has followed a transformation that also has occurred in larger cities such as Portland and Seattle, Wali said. Large, national retailers left downtown for shopping malls and strip malls. After a period of flux, downtowns began attracting residential properties and a new wave of retailers.
"We're now on that next go-round in downtowns, where it's the office-users, the residences coupled with the local retailers and bars and restaurants and yoga studios," Wali said. "Downtowns are a lot more a mix of food, beverage, soft goods. It's a lot more specialty, a lot more local than national."
The Idaho Business Review first reported Gardner Co. was beginning work on the Pioneer Crossing office building.