Jared Smith’s timing couldn’t be better, assuming he can pull off the project on the southeast corner of Capitol Boulevard and Broad Street in Boise.
Since the end of the Great Recession, hotel occupancy rates and room prices have climbed steadily in Boise. They now stand at record highs.
As if that weren’t enough, an expansion of Boise Centre, the city’s main convention venue, is underway a couple of blocks away on the other side of Capitol Boulevard. The expansion’s completion is scheduled for the summer of 2016. Smith’s company, Pennbridge Capital, hopes to open the doors to the new hotel by the end of 2016.
Smith, who grew up in Boise and returned several years ago from the East Coast, said Friday that the Boise Centre expansion was “absolutely” a factor in his decision to build here.
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“When I moved back, nobody wanted to talk about a hotel in Boise because it was the downturn, right?” he said. “And it was oversupplied a little bit. And I’m not just speaking about the Downtown, but in general, of the Valley. The hotels had a hard time. And so, to me, it’s finally at the point where you say, ‘OK, it’s time to put some more supply in because demand has grown so much.’ ”
Smith said the hotel will cost “north of $20 million.” It will carry the brand of a “top-tier, highly recognized hotel company,” he said, though franchise approval isn’t yet final.
DUNKLEY TO MERIDIAN?
Dunkley Music, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary next week, has occupied the land Smith wants to build on since the early 1960s. Dunkley will build a new store, manager Mona Morrison said. Morrison said the company hasn’t finalized a deal for the new store’s land, but she expects that it will be located along Eagle Road.
She said the company wants to be located closer to the center of the Treasure Valley, partly because families with children have flocked to Meridian and Eagle. Company leaders are looking forward to a newer building, more parking space and better facilities for disabled people, Morrison said.
HOW MANY ROOMS DO WE NEED?
Pat Rice has yearned for a new Downtown hotel for years. Tightening room availability is good for hoteliers, but it’s a challenge for Rice, executive director of the Greater Boise Auditorium District, which owns and operates Boise Centre.
When its expansion is done, the convention center will be able to host events of up to 1,000 people, making it a potential destination for 70 percent of the country’s conventions. Until then, it can handle 400 people at a time, meaning Boise Centre competes for 20 percent of the nation’s conventions.
Ideally, Rice would like to see a 400-room, five-star hotel within a block of Boise Centre. Smith’s project isn’t quite that, but Rice welcomes it all the same.
“It doesn’t provide the single large facility that we really need to garner the larger association markets,” Rice said. “But, I think, given the fact that the market demand is being recognized — I think that’s probably a good thing.”
Sven Berg: 377-6275