By: Margaret Carmel – BoiseDev Senior Reporter
BoiseDev – July 15, 2021
(An image from Google Earth of the project site attached to BVA’s application. Courtesy of the City of Boise.)
More industrial land is coming south of the Boise Airport.
On Tuesday, the Boise City Council gave the green light to annex 121 acres for an industrial park at the intersection of Orchard Street and Lake Hazel Road. The project, from Tommy Ahlquist’s Meridian development company Ball Ventures Ahlquist and Adler Industrial, will include 99 acres of industrial uses and the rest will be commercial development, like restaurants and other retail to support the area.
Geoff Wardle, the attorney representing BVA, told City Council the plan is to build the project in phases and the site has the potential for one million square feet of space at full buildout. BVA also plans to purchase and develop the northwest corner of the block eventually, but right now there is a delay because of an ongoing dispute between the current owner of the parcel and the recycling facility that rents the space.
Wardle said he is pleased that the project fits the city’s vision for industrial development in the area due to its proximity to the Boise Airport.
“It is always nice when you come forward with an application that is exactly what the comprehensive plan comes from,” Wardle said. “There is no creativity required here, you did that work ten years ago with Blueprint Boise. We’re pleased to be in a position to implement the planning you have done and work with our development partners on the site.”
The city is also requiring the developer to dedicate a two to four-acre site for the construction of a new fire station before BVA builds anything beyond the first phase. The site is surrounded on three sides by city limits and is currently served by the Boise Fire Department, but officials wanted a new station because it is outside of the 1.5-mile distance between stations the city aims for.
Although no residents testified about the project at Tuesday’s hearing, Wardle said some residents have raised concerns about the park’s impacts on nearby homeowners who rely on wells. The project will require new mains to pipe in water for the tenants of the park, and will not be pumped from the aquifers where residents draw their water from.
Thumbs up from council
City Council President Elaine Clegg was pleased with the application.
“This is an area I have long worked to ensure we did get the right kind of industrial development around the airport so we have the ability to help with the infrastructure needs out there,” she said. “I’m excited to see this moving forward.”
City Council Member Holli Woodings was also excited about the proposal, which she said would bring more jobs outside of the downtown core.
“I think we have so many areas of the city where there’s a lot of residential development and not many employment opportunities,” she said. “This will give some employment opportunities near newer developments so people don’t have to travel so far to get to work.”