Boise & Garden City

Gardner revives plan for Downtown Boise hotel west of JUMP

Gardner Co. also plans an office building on the southwest corner of the Parcel B lot in Downtown Boise. This view looks east on Myrtle Street at 13th Street.
Gardner Co. also plans an office building on the southwest corner of the Parcel B lot in Downtown Boise. This view looks east on Myrtle Street at 13th Street.

A developer, Gardner Co., has submitted a new, more modest hotel proposal for the lot between 11th, 13th, Myrtle and Front streets where it had once proposed two hotels.

The 175-room hotel would take the shape of a new Hilton Garden Inn prototype, becoming one of the first of its kind in the Northwest, Gardner Chief Operating Officer Tommy Ahlquist said this week. It would be on the lot’s northwest corner, southeast of the junction of 13th and Front streets.

Gardner also plans to build:

▪ A parking garage on the northeast corner.

▪ A restaurant on the southeast corner.

▪ An office building on the southwest corner.

The whole project’s expected price tag is around $65 million, Ahlquist said.

Boise blogger Don Day first reported that Gardner had new plans for a hotel on the five-acre lot, which is known as Parcel B. Gardner built the Eighth & Main building, Idaho’s tallest, and is finishing City Center Plaza, a retail-office-convention-transit complex on the Grove Plaza in the heart of Boise.

Gardner bought Parcel B from the Greater Boise Auditorium District early this year for $7.925 million. The company had been negotiating with the district since at least spring 2015. Its ideas for developing the lot have included hotels, an office building, condominiums, retail space, a parking garage and, briefly, a sports stadium.

But Gardner struggled to reach an agreement with Boise’s urban renewal agency on which parties should pay how much for the parking garage. The agency, the Capital City Development Corp., owns and operates parking garages throughout Downtown and wants more covered parking space in the area of Parcel B.

In January, at Gardner’s request, the auditorium district’s board removed a condition of sale that required Gardner to build a hotel on the lot. That ended Gardner’s plans to build two hotels with more than 300 rooms.

That was a disappointment to some within the auditorium district. They hoped for a major convention-style hotel to complement Boise Centre, the convention venue on the Grove Plaza. The auditorium district owns Boise Centre, which is expanding as part of the City Center Plaza work.

Parcel B is immediately west of the site where the Simplot family has built Jack’s Urban Meeting Place and the Simplot Co. is building its new headquarters.

Ahlquist said he hopes to start construction in a couple of months.

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