2019 should be an eventful year for the Treasure Valley.
For the first time in a dozen years, Idaho will have a new governor. Brad Little, who spent the past decade serving as lieutenant governor and who was a member of the Legislature for eight years before that, succeeds Butch Otter in the statehouse.
The three-member Ada County Commission will turn Democratic and will feature two new faces, both women. Boise State may get a new president. Downtown will get new office and residential buildings. Zoo Boise will open two new exhibits. Voters in Treasure Valley cities will elect leaders in November.
Here’s a quarter-by-quarter guide to what’s coming:
January - February - March
Legislature meets: Little will be sworn in on the south steps of the Capitol at noon on Friday, Jan. 4, as Idaho’s 33rd governor.
The Idaho Legislature convenes on Monday, Jan. 7, when Little will give his initial State of the State address.
Lawmakers are expected to grapple with Medicaid expansion approved by Idaho voters in November. The Legislature will have to decide how to pay for the state’s share of new spending. Other states have done that with taxes on sales, alcohol, hospitals and health insurance companies.
November’s election ushered in other new state officials too. Janice McGeachin will succeed Little as lieutenant governor. Julie Ellsworth will become state treasurer, succeeding Ron Crane, who served since 1999 and did not run for re-election.
Ada County Commission changes: For the first time, women will make up the majority of the three-member board. Diana Lachiondo and Kendra Kenyon, both Democrats, won races in November. Kenyon defeated former Commissioner Sharon Ullman, who had defeated incumbent Dave Case in the Republican primary in May. Lachiondo, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter’s director of community partnerships, defeated incumbent Republican Jim Tibbs after saying commissioners hadn’t done enough to battle homelessness and the opioid crisis.
Treefort brings bands: Treefort Music Fest returns March 20-24 with hundreds of bands scheduled to perform on the main stage and at several smaller Downtown venues. In its eighth year, Treefort plans to feature more than 400 acts, including Vince Staples, Liz Phair, Built to Spill and Toro Y Moi. Passes for all five days are $200 for adults and $125 for those under 21. Treefort also includes other entertainment, including Alefort, Filmfort, Foodfort, Hackfort, Kidfort, Storyfort, Comedyfort and Yogafort.
Mass-stabbing trial starts: An Ada County judge is expected to rule early in 2019 on whether Timmy Earl Kinner Jr., accused in the June 30, 2018, stabbing death of 3-year-old Ruya Kadir at a birthday party in Boise where eight other children and adults were injured, is competent to stand trial. A defense psychiatrist found that Kinner, 30, is unfit. He was scheduled to go to trial in January, but the trial was pushed back to Jan. 13, 2020, after defense lawyers said they needed more time to prepare for the death-penalty case.
Treasurer faces trial: Ada County Treasurer Vicky McIntyre is scheduled to go to trial March 27 after being accused of misusing public funds. Prosecutors say McIntyre, who was elected in 2010, improperly used a county credit card to pay for tickets for a hockey game and to ride a Ferris Wheel while she attended a work-related conference in Las Vegas last March. McIntyre, who did not run for re-election this year and who was suspended after charges were filed, argued that the expenses were legitimate for networking and team-building.
Morrison Center seeks leader: Boise State University’s performing arts venue is seeking a new executive director, after James Patrick announced his retirement in December, after seven years. He will stay on during a national search for his successor.
Kount moves in: The Boise tech company that helps businesses fight e-commerce fraud plans to move into the four-story John Alden Building at 10th and Main streets in the first quarter. It will relocate its 175 employees from its current headquarters on Lusk Street. Sawtooth Development Group of Ketchum, which bought the building in 2013, is spending $3.8 million to renovate it. The building will be renamed the Kount Building
Albertsons store opens: The Boise grocer plans to open its new Albertsons Market Street store at the corner of Fairview and Eagle roads in Meridian on the last weekend of February or the first weekend in March. The store will be similar to the Broadway Avenue store that opened last July and caters to foodies. However, the Meridian store, where Shopko formerly operated, will have 45 percent more space: 100,000 square feet compared with 63,000 square feet on Broadway. Want a job? Albertsons is hiring at both stores, with applications accepted online. The company will hold job fairs from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, , and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at 3677 Fairview Ave., in the same shopping center as the new store.
China Blue reopens: A collapsing roof forced two bars at 100 S. 6th St., China Blue and Dirty Little Roddy’s, to close earlier this year. China Blue, a dance club that operated on two levels, and Roddy’s, a country-themed nightclub that operated below street level, are expected to re-open in March or April, owner Ted Challenger said.
Meridian builds downtown: Meridian developer Josh Evarts and financial backer Caleb Roope of The Pacific Cos. aim to reinvigorate downtown Meridian with a four-story mixed-use complex. The project would include 103 apartment units and retail on the first floor, with the goal of making downtown Meridian more walkable. Evarts said he hopes to break ground in March.
April - May - June
Idaho Humane Society opens: The society is spending nearly $15 million to build a new headquarters at 8506 W. Overland Road, near Walmart. When it’s completed in late April or early May, the campus will feature a state-of-the-art adoption center, a humane education center, a veterinary medical center with a teaching hospital, and a park. Intakes will continue at the current building on Dorman Street in Boise.
Double-murder trial starts: William P. Taylor, 49, who prosecutors say murdered his parents, Paul Taylor, 76, and Mary Jane Taylor, 77, is scheduled to go to trial April 23. A former police officer, Taylor is charged with first- and second-degree murder and two counts of failing to report a death. The victims’ decomposing bodies were found in September 2017 in a shed behind their Nampa home. Police sdaid Paul Taylor was strangled and his wife was beaten with a blunt object and stabbed at least 10 times.
Dog Park opens: The Boise Parks and Recreation Department is working on an off-leash dog park in the southwest corner of Ann Morrison Park. The Dog Island park, scheduled to open in late spring, will feature separate areas for small and large dogs, water fountains, shelters and a dog beach.
River Street Lofts go up: Ten three-level condominiums are being built in two buildings at the northwest corner of 15th and River streets. Most of the units, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,411 square feet, are selling for $420,000. They’re expected to be finished in the spring.
Pioneer Crossing opens: The final building at the $65 million Pioneer Crossing downtown, which includes the 150-room Hilton Garden Inn, a new Panera Bread and a parking garage, is slated to open in May. The five-story, 120,000-square-foot office building at 13th and Myrtle streets was built by Ball Ventures Ahlquist.
Brighton Building opens: The four-story, 80,000-square-foot building built by Ball Ventures Ahlquist on the northeast corner of Interstate 84 and Ten Mile Road is part of the 71-acre Ten Mile Crossing development that includes two other office buildings. Brighton, a Meridian commercial and residential developer, will occupy part of the building.
July - August - September
BSU gets a president: Boise State University is expected to name a new president to replace the retired Bob Kusta by July 1. Kustra retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year. A search before Kustra left yielded five finalists who visited the campus, but none was hired. Critics said the process was rushed and the search firm used by the school was not high-powered enough to recruit candidates suitable for a growing, comprehensive university such as Boise State. Longtime faculty member Martin Schimpf is interim president.
New superintendent: Coby Dennis, deputy superintendent of the Boise School District, will succeed retiring Superintendent Don Coberly for the 2019-20 school year. His father, Dehryl Dennis, served as superintendent from 1994 to 1999.
Zoo gets exhibits: Zoo Boise is scheduled to open two exhibits. The first, an $8.9 million expansion brings the flavor of Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park to Boise with African dogs, baboons, crocodiles and warthogs, among others. A smaller exhibit is based on the Annamite Mountains, which run along the border between Vietnam and Laos. It replaces the zoo’s 1960s-era primate house and aviaries.
Rehab hospital to open: Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center is scheduled to open a 40-bed rehabilitation hospital at the corner of Curtis and Emerald streets. The 50,000-square foot hospital, built at a cost of $15 million, is a joint venture between Saint Alphonsus and Encompass Health Corp. of Birmingham, Alabama. The hospital will replace a 30-bed acute rehabilitation unit inside the main Saint Alphonsus hospital further north on Curtis.
Low-income apartments open: Northwest Integrity Housing is building 143 apartments at 2403 W. Fairview Ave. in Boise for people with low and moderate incomes. Most of the units will be supported financially through tax credits, though 13 tenants will pay market rates. The complex is scheduled to be completed in August. Tenant applications will be accepted beginning in July.
Children’s hospital opens: The $42 million Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion is scheduled to open over the summer on the St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center campus. Connected by a skybridge to the existing St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, the four-story pavilion will more than double the amount of clinical space for treating children. It will include an underground parking garage.
Two Towers work starts: Developer Scot Ludwig, a Boise city councilman, plans to start construction in mid to late summer on the first of two towers linked by a sky bridge at two corners of 5th and Broad streets in Downtown’s Central Addition neighborhood. The first tower will be a nine-story building on the southeast corner with ground-floor retail, five parking levels, and three floors of condos. Once it is done – Ludwig expects construction to take 14 to 16 months – he plans to turn to the second: an 11-story building on the northeast corner.
Whitewater Park expands: Three additional wave features and a rock formation created from boulders are being added along the Boise River, downstream from the existing wave-forming structure. The aquatic complex, which is expected to open mid- to late summer, will include spectator seating and Greenbelt paths along both sides of the river between Esther Simplot Park and Veterans Park Pond.
Gene Harris Bandshell: The historic musical venue in Julia Davis Park caught fire in April and sustained significant damage. Preliminary repairs were made over the summer, and an architect has been working on a design to repair the rest of the structure. Upgrades could include an upgraded sound system, shade for viewers and improved backstage space for performers. It’s expected to be completed in late summer or fall.
New Boise parks coming: The Boise Parks and Recreation Department plans to finish initial development at Sterling Park near Mitchell and Irving streets in West Boise over the summer. Initial development of Sterling Park, a The former dog park is getting grass, an irrigation system, trees, pathways and parking. Later, the park is expected to get a playground, tennis courts, a basketball court, a spray pad and small skate park. Impovements will begin on two other parks. Alta Harris Park, which is not expected to be completed until 2020, will include a wetland, a pollinator garden and bocce ball courts. The park is off South Eckert Road in Southeast Boise. Work is also expected to begin on a bike skills park and improved dog park at Military Reserve north of Downtown.
11th & Idaho building: Rafanelli & Nahas is planning a 10-story, 190,000-square-foot office building across Idaho Street from the Boise Plaza, which the Boise development company owns. The $40 million building will feature a ground-floor food court that opens to a 25,000-square-foot park. The company hopes to being construction in late summer.
October - November - December
Voters pick city leaders: Nonpartisan city offices will be on the Nov. 5 ballot in cities across the Treasure Valley. In Boise, voters will choose who gets to serve four-year terms for seats now held by Mayor David Bieter and city councilors Scot Ludwig and Lauren McLean, the council president.
Luxe Reel Theatre goes up: The Boise-based operator of the Reel Theatre chain is building a luxury theater that will feature recliner seats and first-run movies. It’s going in near TSheets headquarters on Colchester Drive, off Eagle Road in Eagle. It’s expected to open in the fall.
Afton opens 2nd building: Thirty-five upscale condominiums are being built at the northeast corner of 9th and River streets, in the second phase of The Afton complex. They’re located west of the original building, which consists of 28 units in a building that opened last year, across River from Boise’s main library.
No specified months
Most of these projects are expected to start in 2019, though some could be delayed:
Neighborhood improvements: The city of Boise plans 21 neighborhood projects including a pathway in the Pierce Park neighborhood, public art in the Central Bench, bike racks in Franklin Park, playgrounds at Roosevelt and Hillcrest elementary schools, and Greenbelt lighting in the Lusk neighborhood.
New restaurants: The former owners of State & Lemp are planning a new restaurant, Kin, to open sometime in 2019 at the old Sav-On Cafe location at 102 S. 16th St. Chef Kris Komori, the former head chef at State & Lemp and nominated three times in a row for a James Beard Award, will lead the kitchen at Kin. Most of his crew will follow him. Two Korean barbecue restaurants are also on track for 2019 openings. The Magnificent Garden will open at 980 N. Milwaukee St., and Ombu Grill will open at 3027 N. Cole Road, part of the new Idaho Asian Plaza at Cole and Ustick.
Downtown Nampa: Inspired by a few local businesses that have seen success in downtown Nampa, some new entrepreneurs are investing in properties along Nampa’s First Street. Nampa nonprofit Because International will start renovations on one building, Alvin Mullins is putting in a brewery next door, and Rolling H cycles just purchased a new property it has started to improve.
Cartee apartments: LocalConstruct, the same company that built The Fowler apartments in Downtown Boise, is looking at a similar project, The Cartee, with 160 market-rate apartments at 4th and Broad streets. The eight-story building will have a parking deck and businesses on the ground floor.
Workforce apartments: Work is continuing on 22 townhouse-style apartments and 12 flats in a three-story building at the northwest corner of Ash and River streets. The Ash Street Workforce Apartments will be next to the Pioneer Pathway, a pedestrian and bicycle path that connects the Boise River Greenbelt to Myrtle Street.
Home2Suites by Hilton: A 138-room hotel will go in on the north side of Front Street between 5th and 6th streets. The hotel will have seven stories and an attached parking garage with 550 spaces will rise eight stories. Raymond Management Co. of Middleton, Wisconsin, will own and operate the hotel. Boise Developer Clay Carley will own and operate the garage.
Other notable projects: The city of Boise is moving forward with plans for a new main library downtown that could cost an estimated $85 million, with groundbreaking possibly this year and the opening possibly in 2021. An Atlanta developer is planning to build a baseball stadium in Boise’s West End, though a timetable is uncertain. Costco Wholesale will build a new store at Chinden Boulevard and 10 Mile Road in Meridian, expected to open in 2020. The Plantation Country Club, which sold in early December, plans upgrades but has not nailed down details or a timetable.