College of Western Idaho to seek appraisal for Boise property

The College of Western Idaho board met Friday about why it hadn’t obtained an appraisal before agreeing to buy land west of Downtown Boise for a planned Boise campus – and decided to get one soon.

The board came under fire for paying $8.8 million for a 10-acre former car dealership along the Boise River at 3150 W. Main St. that the Ada County assessor values at $3.6 million. The community college wants to build an academic building with a parking garage to serve Boise students.

“Many appraisals are conducted after the agreement is initially signed as part of the purchase process,” CWI Chairwoman Mary Niland said. “Our decision to commission an appraisal now, as part of the due diligence period, is consistent with this common approach. We believe the value we have established under the agreement will stand up as a fair price.

“Over the past three years, we’ve completed an exhaustive search and compared locations, size, access and cost of land in the Boise area,” Niland said. “The property at Main and Whitewater Park Boulevard appears to be the best long-term investment specific to serving our students.”

The site was once occupied by Bob Rice Ford. Under the agreement signed April 23 by the Rice family, which still owns the land, and CWI, the college has 180 days to complete due diligence on the property. It can end the deal for any reason during the period. CWI said it can commission surveys, tests, audits and other reports it deems necessary.