The Boise Hawks may not be moving to downtown Boise after all.
The proposed site of the multi-use stadium that would also house the Boise Hawks minor league baseball team has been moved to an unspecified West End location. This follows more than a year of discussions about a controversial public-private partnership proposal by Atlanta-based developer Greenstone Properties to build the facility at the corner of Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive.
“There are more advantages for the sports park in the West End area, including better access and visibility, with fewer residential buildings and more commercial space in close proximity,” Chris Schoen, a principal for Greenstone and the company that owns the team, said in a Thursday news release.
The proposed site is a 6.5-acre parcel on the southeast corner of Main Street and Whitewater Boulevard, the Idaho Statesman and BoiseDev.com reported Wednesday. Neither Schoen nor Boise city spokesman Mike Journee would discuss any specific sites.
The parcel, owned by Los Angeles-based developmer LocalConstruct, was traded by the city in 2017 in exchange for the Spaulding Ranch agricultural site in the West Bench. According to Journee, the aim of the swap was that LocalConstruct would build a mixed-use development on the Main Street parcel that included affordable housing units. LocalConstruct co-owner Casey Lynch could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The original site for the stadium proposal, 11 acres that were owned by St. Luke’s Health System, has been sold to two new buyers, according to Schoen’s press release. The property, at 1471 W. Shoreline Drive, has been sold to RDT Real Estate LLC, which also owns property adjacent to this location, and the remaining property was acquired by investor group Ameri Shore LLC.
Because of the change in location and that there is no specific proposal yet submitted to the city, Journee said this means there are no details currently available about the financing of the stadium. Currently the city has allocated $3 million in its fiscal year 2019 budget toward the stadium project, which Journee said there are no plans to reduce.
Journee could not also confirm details of the public-private partnership and the possibility of the city owning the stadium, which was discussed in the initial proposal, but he said Mayor Dave Bieter is open to public financing with “the right proposal.”
“Mayor Bieter and members of council have long said that a stadium needs to have a public component to it,” Journee said. “We want there at least to be a partial public ownership of that so it can serve as more than just a private stadium for a particular sports team.”
This publicly funded aspect of the project, as well as its proposed location near the Boise River, have come under fire from residents at almost every step of development.
Concerned Boise Taxpyers — a group devoted to fighting the stadium founded by Bill Ilett, former managing partner of the Idaho Stampede basketball team, and former Albertsons CEO Gary Michael — has openly questioned the involvement of the city and taxpayer funds in the stadium.
On Thursday, Ilett said moving the location solves some of the groups concerns but not all of them.
“(The stadium proposal) was a bad idea and secondly it was the wrong location,” he said. “I think they’ve come to their senses on the fact that they picked the wrong location ... and are looking at a better location, so I give them credit for that, but as far as the bad idea it’s still there.”
The new location is in the 30th Street urban renewal district, which would allow the city’s urban renewal agency, Capital City Development Corporation, to use bonds toward the project as in the initial proposal.