The Idaho State Board of Education on Thursday approved Boise State University’s request to continue its attempt to acquire property for its new baseball stadium — even if it means using eminent domain to do so, State Board spokesman Mike Keckler told the Statesman.
Boise State requested permission from the board to acquire three parcels of land just south of Albertsons Stadium on the Boise State campus. The properties are at:
- 1104-1108 South Grant Avenue, the current location of an eight-unit apartment complex, owned by South Boise Apartments, Ltd.
- 1116-1122 West Beacon Street, the current location of a four-unit apartment complex, owned by Cotner Properties and Investments
- 1101 South Denver Avenue, the current location of a surface parking lot owned by Boise Church of Christ
The school has tentatively agreed to buy the land at 1104-1108 South Grant but has been unsuccessful in negotiating the purchase of the other two properties, according to State Board documents.
The university already owns the surrounding property south of West University Drive and north of Belmont Street between South Denver Avenue and South Grant Avenue, Boise State spokesperson Greg Hahn said.
Thursday’s motion allows Boise State to pursue the land, despite currently stalled negotiations, using eminent domain, or condemnation. Eminent domain is a tool used to acquire private property for public use after being deemed in the best interests of the public; the private property owner is compensated accordingly for the land.
“The property owners just want to make sure they’re getting the right value for everything, and that’s totally understandable,” Hahn said.
In April 2018, officials from Boise State briefed the board at a meeting held in executive session on the plans to acquire several parcels in its southeast expansion zone for construction of the baseball field, according to State Board documents.
“In an effort to avoid condemnation, BSU has been in negotiations with all three property owners,” the documents state. “BSU has reached a tentative agreement with the owner of Parcel 1, but has been unsuccessful in its negotiations with the owners of Parcels 2 and 3. In the event the negotiations are not successful, BSU requests approval to use condemnation to acquire these properties.”
Idaho Code allows the “right of eminent domain to be exercised for public buildings and grounds for the use of the state.” The State Board of Education must approve a public institution’s use of eminent domain to acquire property, according to its policies.
Boise State plans to have a baseball team playing in the 2020 season — the Broncos’ first season since 1980. Gary Van Tol has been hired as the coach, and he has hired three assistants and received at least 13 player commitments.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.