A bird’s-eye view of the proposed Downtown Boise stadium site
At the developer's request, the city of Boise will not schedule decision-making hearings on a Downtown Boise stadium project until the developer submits a more detailed proposal along with an application to rezone the property.
Atlanta-based Greenstone Properties asked for the delay because it wants Boise's decision makers to consider the rezoning at the same time as an application for a conditional use permit, which would provide more detail on the proposed stadium and surrounding development. Developers normally submit both applications together. The rezoning hearing had not been scheduled.
A Planning and Zoning hearing on the project is likely to occur late this summer or in early fall, Geoff Wardle, Greenstone's local attorney, said Thursday. The City Council would decide the matter within a few months after that.
Wardle said pushing back the rezoning hearing will not affect the timing of the stadium's construction, which Greenstone hopes to complete by the spring of 2020.
Greenstone applied for the rezoning — to the city's designation that allows the most intense uses — separately. That raised concerns among opponents of the stadium. They worried that authorizing the rezoning without project details attached to it would expose the city to a variety of commercial uses not anticipated in the stadium proposal.
"We think this is the proper thing to do," said Gary Michael, co-chair of anti-stadium group Concerned Boise Taxpayers.
Concerned Boise Taxpayers still opposes the project, Michael said.
KTVB first reported the delay of the rezoning application.
Greenstone unveiled plans last year to build a stadium on the site of the old K-Mart building, now owned by St. Luke's Health System, near the corner of Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive, just north of the Boise River and the west side of Ann Morrison Park.
The stadium would anchor more than $60 million worth of private development, including apartments or condominiums, restaurants, a hotel and other commercial space. It would be the home of the Boise Hawks and a professional soccer team. It would be available for other events, such as concerts, festivals and conventions.
The city of Boise and Greater Boise Auditorium District, which hosts conventions and taxes hotel room stays, would put up about $8 million of the stadium's expected $36 million cost. Greenstone would contribute $1 million in cash and donate the four acres where the stadium would be located.
Capital City Development Corp., Boise's urban renewal agency, would borrow money to cover the rest of the stadium's cost — about $28 million. Lease payments, primarily from the Hawks and soccer team, would cover about half of the agency's debt payments. The remainder would come from property taxes on the private development Greenstone would be required to build around the stadium.
The city would own the stadium after the debt on it is paid off.
Concerned Boise Taxpayershas criticized many aspects of the stadium proposal, including its location and the fact it would rely on public money. The group also has questioned whether Boise needs a new stadium for the Hawks.
Chris Schoen, managing principal of Greenstone and the Hawks' ownership group, likes the Americana-Shoreline location because it would enhance the value of his private development.
It fits the model he followed in North Augusta, South Carolina, where he built a new minor-league baseball stadium and surrounding mixed-use development on the north bank of the Savannah River. That stadium opened this year to big crowds and rave reviews.
Schoen is familiar with the controversy his projects can spark.
"There was a very vocal, very, very small minority (opposed to the project) in Augusta," Schoen said. "You're never going to get 100 percent of the people going any one direction."
Schoen's team also faced heavy opposition when he built a minor-league baseball stadium in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. That project become a popular amenity in a revitalized area.