Perhaps nothing symbolizes Idaho’s growing commercial real estate market as well as the Boise skyline, freshly reshaped with the new City Center Plaza and J.R. Simplot creative center known as Jack’s Urban Meeting Place.
These striking new buildings make quite an impression. With City Center tenants like Boise State University and Clearwater Analytics and areas in JUMP named and dedicated for activities like “Inspire,” “Share,” “Move” and “Play,” it’s clear that nothing spurs development like innovation.
In fact, these developments matter not just because of what they mean to Downtown Boise, but because they reflect the burgeoning statewide activity in the technology sector. According to Colliers Idaho Market Review (Mid-Year 2015), the number of high-tech companies in the state grew 61 percent over the last 10 years and is projected to increase an additional 13.7 percent over the next 10. That’s good news for commercial real estate development, because tech is the leading sector in terms of supporting lease rates and occupancy growth.
And we aren’t just seeing an increase in the number of tech companies; those companies are growing as well. Clearwater Analytics, the anchor tenant in City Center Plaza, started in 2004 with less than a dozen people in a 1,500-square-foot office. Now it’s a multinational company moving into 110,000 square feet of office space and employing more than 300 people.
This is not new, as Hewlett-Packard, Micron and Simplot can attest. Idaho’s technology companies have been driving commercial real estate development for decades, and it’s continuing today — with companies like Clearwater Analytics in Boise, Scentsy in Meridian, or St. Luke’s Health System all across southern Idaho.
Of course, none of this just happens. Programs, including economic incentives and infrastructure support at the state, regional and local levels, are encouraging business development. Public and private investment is increasing access to capital and creating a fertile environment for growth. And the state’s collaborative spirit — which exists even in the competitive commercial real estate market — is an active example of the rising tide lifting all boats.
We’re excited about the future of Idaho and the prospects for continued growth and development, and technology absolutely drives a big portion of that.
Mark Cleverley is director of leasing for Gardner Co. This column appears in the June 15-July 19, 2016 edition of the Statesman’s Business Insider magazine as part of a special section on commercial construction. Click here for the e-edition (subscription required).