Idaho sells 5 Boise buildings, including 4 Downtown. Here’s why

Central Washington Place, 602 N. 5th St., was sold to Boise’s AGS Properties.
Central Washington Place, 602 N. 5th St., was sold to Boise’s AGS Properties. Provided by Thornton Oliver Keller Commercial Real Estate

Idaho officials sold seven commercial properties for $17.3 million this week as part of a plan to get rid of politically contentious commercial real estate.

The Idaho Department of Lands sold the properties in an auction that officials said brought in $4.5 million more than the properties’ appraised value.

Four of the buildings are in Downtown Boise. They are:

▪  The vacant former Home Federal Bank at the corner of 8th and State Streets diagonally across from the Capitol. It sold for $1,475,000, or $645,000 more than its appraised price. The winning bid came from AGS Properties LLP, a Boise partnership of several members of the Simplot family.

▪ Central Washington Place, a one-story office building at 602 N. Fifth St. that houses the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, sold for $4,185,000 with no competitive bidding. AGS Properties bought this building, too.

▪ The Sherm Perry building at 826 W. Bannock St., which houses 10 Barrel Brewery.

▪ The Garro building, a five-story office and restaurant building at 816 W. Bannock St., and its parking lot at 822 W. Bannock Street.

The Perry and Garro buildings and the parking lot sold as one package for $6,575,000, about $2 million more than their appraised value. They winning bid came from the O.L. Halsell Foundation through one of its trustees, Morgan K. Roach. The foundation helps fund charities in Orange County, California.

A fifth Boise building, Affordable Storage at 448-450 S. Maple Grove Road, sold for $4.7 million, or $1,690,000 more than its appraised price. The state’s purchase of this building in 2010 drew complaints that the state was competing with private businesses. The property sold to Keylock Storage, through owner Ron Osborne and local investor Trevor Caster.

The Department of Lands sold the buildings at the direction of the state Land Board, which oversees endowment lands and funds to generate revenue to fund schools. Proceeds from the auction could be used to buy other property, such as timberland and farmland, or to boost the state Permanent Fund, whose investment earnings help fund public schools and other beneficiaries.

One state official, Bob Geddes, director of the Department of Administration, had urged the board to keep the bank building and Central Washington Place for future expansion of state offices near the Capitol.

The board members are five statewide elected officials: Gov. Butch Otter, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, state Controller Brandon Woolf, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney and state schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra.

“I was surprised we got that much above the appraised value,” Denney said. “I’m happy to see us divest of these properties.”

A seventh building sold in Idaho Falls. Two other Idaho Falls properties received no bids.

The state has also been selling residential cottage sites and, combined with the commercial real estate, is expected to raise about $160 million to buy timberland and agricultural land.

David Staats: 208-377-6417, @DavidStaats