Gardner Co., one of the Treasure Valley’s most ambitious developers in recent years, plans to build two hotels with different brands on Parcel B, the five-acre lot between 11th, 13th, Myrtle and Front streets.
But customers will use one booking system to reserve rooms in both hotels, said David Wali, Gardner’s executive vice president.
That way, Gardner can offer enough rooms for big conventions and other events but avoid the risk of putting its entire hotel wager on one big convention-style hotel in a market that might not consistently offer those events.
Gardner submitted plans for the Parcel B development Tuesday to the city of Boise’s planning and development department. Besides the hotels, the company envisions an 800-space parking garage on the northwest side and an empty pad on the southwest side for a future office project.
The Greater Boise Auditorium District, which operates the Downtown convention venue Boise Centre, owns the lot. In April, Gardner and the district signed an agreement that allows Gardner to explore a hotel-anchored development on it. If the company goes forward with the project, it will first have to acquire the land for an agreed-upon price of $8 million.
If Gardner pulls off this project, it’s likely to face stiff competition. In the past three months, three other developers have submitted proposals for their own major Downtown hotel projects.
In May, Jared Smith applied for permits to build a 10-story, 180-room Residence Inn at 410 S. Capitol Blvd.
Less than a month later, Rafanelli and Nahas turned in plans for a five-story, 152-room Hyatt Place at 1024 W. Bannock St.
Eugene, Ore., hotelier Brian Obie submitted his application Monday for a six-story, 112-room boutique hotel at 500 S. Capitol Blvd.
So Gardner’s offering brings the number of proposed Downtown hotels to five, raising questions about whether the market can support an additional 750 or so rooms. Experts at the Greater Boise Auditorium District think so. Over the past year, they say, hotel occupancy and room rates have hit record highs in and near Boise, pointing to a supply that’s tighter than ever.
Gardner expects the entire Parcel B development to cost about $80 million. The company hopes to break ground early next year and finish by mid-2017.
The hotels planned for the lot’s northeast corner would have 170 rooms. They would offer features and services associated with full-service, four-star hotels, such as a restaurant open for all three meals, a full bar, room service, a swimming pool, gym, laundry service and concierge service.
The hotel on the southeast corner would have 140 rooms. It would be more affordable and offer fewer services than the north hotel. A swimming pool is a near certainty, Wali said, because this hotel is more likely to attract weekend reservations from families, and pools are a big deal for kids.
Gardner is in negotiations with hotel chains to brand both Parcel B hotels, Wali said. The developer would retain ownership of the buildings but hire a separate company to manage them, he said.
Gardner also plans to build residential condominiums on top of the parking garage, offering residents views of the Boise Foothills.
Roads roughly aligning with 12th and Broad streets would divide each quadrant of the development. Wali said those streets will offer low-speed access to cars but be designed to be especially friendly to people on foot and bicycles. In fact, he said, they’ll be so pedestrian-friendly that they’ll essentially serve as a branch of the Pioneer Pathway, a meandering historic trail that will cut through the Jack’s Urban Meeting Place lawn to the east, connecting to the core of Downtown, and continue south of Parcel B.