Sunday, December 09, 2007

Pre-Foreclosure Short Sale - Meridian, Idaho

Here is a pre-foreclosure short sale single family investment opportunity in Meridian, Idaho, one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Idaho. This property is listed at an 18% discount from recent sales within the last 6 months on a $/SF basis. The bank does not want this property back so call me to make an offer!

Solid Single Family Investment in Population Core
Centrally located in Meridian, ID

Completely updated home in a great location. This home sits on almost 1/4 acre and has RV parking plus a big wrap around covered deck. The kitchen has a new smooth top stove, new Pergo floor, and a new built-in microwave. Open floor plan with vaulted ceilings and a plant shelves. This home has a formal dining room or separate family and living rooms. The master suite has Jacuzzi tub with separate shower and his/hers closets. BTVAI.

Asking $149,900
Built in 1995
1414 SF
Almost 0.25 acres
Approx. rents of $900 - $925 (higher in spring and summer)
Renter pays all utilties
Taxes $1744
Insurance $300

Again, thank you in advance for considering this property for your real estate investment portfolio. For this and other foreclosure properties, please don't hesitate to call me at 208 919 0458 or email me at

Michael Hon
Broker - MBA, GRI
Iron Eagle Realty

Fed Seems Poised to Lower Interest Rates

Published: December 9, 2007
Filed at 11:12 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- What a difference in economic conditions since the Federal Reserve last met in October.

Credit has become harder to obtain, Wall Street has convulsed again and the housing slump has intensified. And policymakers at the central bank now appear to have changed their minds about the need to drop interest rates again.

Twice the Fed had cut rates this year and officials suggested in October that might be enough for the year to help the economy survive all that stress. Then the problems snowballed, leading Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to sign that one more cut might be needed.

Analysts expect the Fed to trim its key rate, now at 4.5 percent, by one-quarter of a percentage point at the meeting Tuesday. Some even speculate about the possibility of a half-point cut.
Banks, financial companies and other investors who made loans to people with spotty credit or put money into securities backed by those subprime mortgages have lost billions of dollars. Investors in the U.S. and abroad have grown more wary of buying new debt, thereby aggravating the credit crunch.

All this has added to the turmoil on Wall Street, and Bernanke and other Fed officials say they must take it into account when deciding their next move.

But does lowering rates mean the Fed essentially is bailing out investors or encouraging more sloppy decision-making? In other words, what exactly is the Fed's job?

Bernanke and other Fed officials say it is to make policy that keeps the economy growing and inflation low, a stable climate that benefits individuals, businesses and investors. The Fed also has a responsibility to ensure the banking system is sound and financial markets run smoothly.
''There is a link between Wall Street and Main Street. The Fed is taking the right actions, but they should be careful,'' said Victor Li, an economics professor at the Villanova School of Business.

The fear among economists is that the negative forces rattling investors could spread, forcing consumers and businesses to restrain spending and investment. While the odds of a recession have grown, Fed officials, the Bush administration and most economists are hopeful the country can tackle the problems and avoid that fate.

''The Federal Reserve is following the evolution of financial conditions carefully, with particular attention to the question of how strains in financial markets might affect the broader economy,'' Bernanke said in a recent speech where he opened the door to a further rate cut.
Bernanke has said the Fed's job is not to bail out investors who made bad decisions, but to do what is best for the economy. The central bank, however, cannot operate in a vacuum, he has said.

William Poole, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, puts it more bluntly.
''The Fed does not have the desire or tools to prevent widespread losses in a particular sector, but should not sit by while a financial upset becomes a financial calamity affecting the entire economy,'' Poole said recently. ''It makes no sense to let the economy suffer from continuing declines in stock prices for the purpose of `teaching stock market speculators a lesson,''' he added.

Janet Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said ''we face a risk that the problems in the housing market could spill over'' and sap consumer spending ''in a bigger way'' than anticipated.

A scholar of the Great Depression, Bernanke has written extensively on the country's worst economic catastrophe. Flawed monetary policy in the United States and abroad was a major factor, he believes.

Bernanke's ''about-face on a December rate cut is motivated by the fear of collateral damage from the train wreck affecting everything that touches subprime mortgages,'' said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group.

The situation poses the biggest challenge yet to Bernanke, who took over the Fed in February 2006. Some analysts have questioned whether he waited too long to cut the Fed's key rate and whether he has acted aggressively enough to the nation's economic woes.

In mid-August, the Fed lowered its lending rate to banks. In September, the central bank it dropped its key rate, the federal funds rate, for the first time in four years. Then it was a half-point drop; on Oct. 31 came a quarter-point cut.

The funds rate is the interest that banks charge each other on overnight loans. This rate influences many other interest rates charged to consumers and businesses. It is the Fed's most potent tool for influencing national economic activity.

If the Fed cuts the funds rate again, commercial banks would lower their prime lending rate -- now at 7.5 percent -- by a corresponding amount. The prime rate applies to certain credit cards, home equity lines of credit and other loans.

The rationale behind the lower rates is that they will induce consumers and businesses boost spending, energizing economic activity.

From July through September, the economy logged its best growth in four years. But it is expected to slow to a pace of just 1.5 percent or less over the final three months of the year. Even so, important shock absorbers for the economy -- job creation and wage growth -- are holding up. The unemployment rate in November held steady at a relatively low 4.7 percent for the third straight month.

Oil prices, which had neared $100 a barrel, have moderated. But they are still high. High energy prices are a double-edged sword. They can slow economic activity and spread inflation if they cause the prices of lots of other goods and services to rise.

Bernanke's predecessor at the Fed, Alan Greenspan, has been criticized for holding interest rates too low for too long following the 2001 recession. Those low rates have been blamed for feeding a five-year housing boom. That boom eventually turned to bust as interest rates moved higher to combat inflation. Harder-to-get credit has thwarted would-be home buyers, intensifying the housing collapse. Foreclosures have soared to record highs. The number of unsold homes have piled up. Problems are expected to persist well into next year.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Looking for a house between $105,000 and $150,000 in Boise?

Realtors say there are at least 83 homes in Boise and Meridian within that price range

Joe Jaszewski /

By Joe Estrella -
Edition Date: 12/05/07

Believe it or not, there is still affordable housing to be had in Ada County.

Bob Smith, a Realtor with in Boise, says there were 83 homes for sale Tuesday in Boise and Meridian with price tags below $150,000.
"Right now, there are homes where a person's mortgage payment would be less than what they're spending now on rent," Smith said. "These homes are great for people with one or two children.
The bargain prices are in contrast to Ada County median home prices that have continued climbing despite the nationwide slump in the residential housing market.
According to the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service, which tracks real estate transaction throughout the Treasure Valley, the median price for a home in Ada County last month was $231,893.
Most of the properties priced below $150,000 are in foreclosure, or have had their prices slashed by owners who have seen their properties languish on the market because of the market downturn, Cavigllano said.
A "shocking number" of the homes are vacant, which gives the buyer leverage because the owner has moved and is eager to sell to avoid having to pay mortgages, she said.
Some of the homes are fixer-uppers. But other are already in livable condition.
"These homes are just sitting there," she said.
The cheapest home on the list is $105,000, the most expensive $150,000. Most fall somewhere in between, including:
An 1,120-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home for $149,900 on Millstone Drive.
A five-bedroom, 1-1/2-half bath, 1,482-square-foot home on West Landmark Street originally priced at $189,900. After 136 days on the market, the owner will now take $147,900.
A two-bedroom home on the Boise Bench with a price that was cut from $149,000 to $143,900 after just 19 days on the market.
"And we're just talking Boise," Cavigllano said. "We haven't even mentioned Meridian, where most of the houses are nicer than the homes in Boise."
Adding to the impetus to get into a home was news Tuesday that interest rates had fallen below 6 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.
"I don't remember when was the last time rates were that low," said Bob Smith, an associate broker with Re/Max Capital City.
Meanwhile, with homeowners slashing their asking prices, the investors that originally fueled the Treasure Valley housing boom may be starting to come out again. That could give home sales a badly needed lift.
One potential buyers is Jim Coulter, 34, owner of Clean Solution Painting.
Coulter and another investor had been looking at a five-bedroom, 2-1/2-bath house near Fairview Avenue and Maple Grove Road. The price had already sunk from $169,000 to $149,000. Their strategy: make a lowball offer of between $120,000 and $125,000 and hope the owner took the bait. They would then put about $20,000 in upgrades into the home - Coulter would handle most of the work - and put the home on the market next spring.
The deal fell through when the other investor bailed on the deal.
Coulter said he is still looking at low-priced properties that he might be able to acquire by himself.
Cavigllano said that for the first time in a long while, some new homes are being built and sold for less than $150,000.
At the Charter Pointe subdivision near Lake Hazel and Five Mile Road, Hubble Home plans to build three homes priced at $149,990.
"They haven't been built yet, so you can go out there and start picking out your colors," Cavigllano said.
Canyon County offers a much larger choice of low-cost homes. Tracy said 582 Canyon County homes are priced at or below $150,000.
A recent single Hubble Homes listing in Caldwell of a home priced at $109,990 produced 2,000 hits on the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service Web site.
Wayne Forrey, director of Eagle-based Kastera Development, recently told the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce's Economic Outlook Forum that the local the local housing market has bottomed out, and predicted that recovery would begin in 2008. Falling land, construction and housing costs will help bring buyers back, he said.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

30-year mortgage rates drop

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER - AP Economics Writer
Edition Date: 12/06/07
Rates on 30-year mortgages fell sharply again this week, dropping to the lowest level in more than two years.
Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.96 percent. That was down from 6.10 percent last week and was the lowest rate since the week of Sept. 29, 2005, when they averaged 5.91 percent.
Analysts attributed the decline to worries about what a severe slump in housing and a lingering credit crunch could do to consumer confidence and the overall economy.
"With lower consumer spending and personal income gains in October, interest rates on U.S. Treasury securities fell lower this week and mortgage rates followed," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac.
Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, slid to 5.65 percent, from 5.73 percent last week.
For five-year adjustable-rate mortgages, rates fell to 5.75 percent, compared to 5.86 percent last week.
Rates on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages edged up slightly to 5.46 percent, compared to 5.43 percent last week.
The mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Thirty-year mortgages carried a nationwide average fee of 0.4 point while 15-year and five-year mortgages both carried a 0.5 point fee. The one-year ARM carried an average fee of 0.6 point.
A year ago, 30-year mortgages stood at 6.11 percent. Rates on 15-year mortgages were at 5.84 a year ago while five-year ARMS averaged 5.92 percent and one-year ARMs were at 5.43 percent.
The housing market has been suffering through a severe slump following five years of record sales. The weakness is expected to persist well into next year.
The boom-to-bust situation has been especially hard on homeowners with spotty credit and lower incomes. Foreclosures have surged as many overstretched borrowers have been unable to make higher monthly payments once their low introductory "teaser" rates have reset to higher levels. The Bush administration this week put together a plan in negotiations with the mortgage industry to freeze the initial introductory rates for a period of five years for certain subprime borrowers.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Idaho's October foreclosure rate is 157 percent higher than last year

Joe Estrella -
Edition Date: 11/29/07

Idaho’s foreclosure rate in October was 157 percent higher than the same month a year ago, according to a report issued Thursday.
RealtyTrac, an on-line marketing site that monitors each state’s foreclosure rate, reported that 993 homes in Idaho were in some stage of foreclosure last month.
That was down 7 percent from the September numbers, but 157 percent ahead of October 2006.
It also out-paced a national average that was running 94 percent ahead of the same month a year ago.
However, Idaho is not the only state where an increasing number of people are losing their homes, said RealtyTrac Marketing Communications Manager Daren Blomquist.
“I think that people have heard enough about foreclosures that they know it has become an issue,” Blomquist said.
Nationwide, RealtyTrac said 224,451 homes were either in default, about to be auctioned off, or had been repossessed by the lender.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Economic slump is not expected to last

By Ken Day -
Edition Date: 11/14/07

Although the tech sector is struggling, the Boise area's economic outlook for 2008 is upbeat, with the worst of the local housing slump soon to be history, experts said Tuesday.
Speakers at the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce's Economic Outlook Forum said high population growth and low unemployment will keep the Treasure Valley economy one of the nation's strongest next year.
Here are some key forecasts:
Housing: The national slowdown will last, but the Valley's won't
Portland-based economist Bill Conerly, principal of Conerly Consulting, said robust population growth will help reduce the Valley's excess housing faster than other areas.
"The national housing market is in very sad shape," he said. "We've overbuilt since 2002, when low mortgage rates allowed us to put first-time homebuyers in houses, and then home prices went up and investors moved in. But now home prices are too high for first-time homebuyers, and investors are moving out."
Conerly said he doesn't expect the national housing market to rebound in either 2008 or 2009. But by 2009 the country should see the turnaround coming, he said.
Wayne Forrey, director of Eagle-based Kastera Development, said the local market has reached the bottom, and he expects recovery to begin in 2008. Falling land, construction and housing costs will help bring buyers back, he said.
Forrey said Boise remains one of the most affordable places to buy a first home. "Anyone in this room today can buy a brand new three-bedroom, two-bath, two-car attached garage in Boise metro for under $110,000," he told the audience. After the meeting, he said some builders are now offering homes in places like Caldwell below $110,000.
Commercial real estate: Meridian is hot
Debbie Martin, a commercial real estate agent and principal of DK Commercial, said demand for retail and office property remains strong, although it's not at 2005 levels. Martin said the 2005 growth rate was unsustainable.
The strongest areas of growth are in Meridian and Nampa, with Eagle close behind, she said.
"When we see retail and office space all over the Valley unoccupied, it doesn't mean the sky is falling and there aren't tenants," she said. "It's mostly due to the growth and new construction, not necessarily due to a pull-back in activity."
Technology: Startups lack support
The next company to become a Hewlett-Packard or Micron is already in the Boise area, but business leaders and state leaders need to do more to help smaller technology companies grow, says Jason Crawforth, founder and chairman of Treetop Technologies.
"These are the children of our economy," Crawforth said. "We as a community - in my opinion - are doing a very poor job of helping these emerging companies."
Crawforth said one of the best things Idaho's larger companies can do to help emerging companies is to make sure they seek the services and products of the Idaho companies, because that gives the small companies references to help develop business.
"We're not asking for handouts. This is not welfare. We're good - we're actually damn good at what we do," Crawforth said. "Before you look across the planet for solutions, just look across the streets. We're here."
Crawforth said technology is the largest industry in the state but lacks the support of Idaho political leaders.
"Technology is bigger than agriculture, forestry and mining combined," he said, "but our public sector has taken for granted what this industry brings to our state. The last 15 years we've grown rapidly, but we've grown despite little help from our government."
In 2005, Crawforth said Idaho invested only about $550,000 in its tech industry while Utah invested $165 million.
Crawforth said the state needs to invest in technology to expand the companies that will have to pay the costs of infrastructure like roads, prisons and schools.
"The last time I checked, agriculture isn't going to pay the bills - it's going to be the science and tech industry," Crawforth said. "I'm asking the public officials in our state to stop looking over your shoulder. It's time to look ahead."
The national economy: No recession likely
Conerly gives the country only a one in four chance of going into a recession.
"The American economy is strong and resilient, the American people are strong and resilient, the American economy is strong and resilient," he said. "That's the one economy lesson you should

Monday, May 21, 2007

2007 will be more stable for the Valley housing market, experts predict

By Joe Estrella - Idaho Statesman
Edition Date: 05/20/07
The Treasure Valley residential real estate market has taken a wild ride the last two years, with sales soaring to record heights in 2005 and early 2006, then plunging back to earth in late 2006 and early 2007.
Almost overnight, the seller’s market of 2005 became the buyer’s market of late 2006, with thousands of new and existing homes languishing on the market so long that some sellers this year were forced to slash their asking prices.
But falling sales didn’t automatically mean falling prices. Homeowners often hang onto homes rather than cut sales prices. Housing prices remained remarkably strong during the downturn in late 2006, with the median price of a home in Ada County jumping to $249,900, or almost 16 percent ahead of 2005. In Canyon County the median price was $160,000 at the end of ‘06, an increase of 12 percent over the previous year.
It was March 2007 before housing values in Ada County showed a 1.3 percent drop from the same month a year ago. Canyon County fared a little better, with a 2 percent gain from March 2006.
Uncontrolled construction of single-family homes throughout 2005 finally caught up with the industry, a builder said.
Don Hubble, owner of Meridian-based Hubble Homes, said that in 2000 there were fewer than 2,000 listings on the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service, which tracks sales in the Valley. By late 2006 there were almost 6,000 homes waiting for buyers, Hubble said.
“By mid-2006, the supply outweighed the demand and it was definitely a buyer’s market,” he said.
Signs of a slow turnaround have surfaced in early 2007, although home builders and real estate professionals say a repeat of the red-hot 2005 market is unlikely.
According to Intermountain Multiple Listing Service statistics, housing sales in the Treasure Valley in 2006 were down 13.5 percent from the previous year.
Ada County suffered the brunt of the downturn, as the 10,113 transactions were almost 16 percent below 2005 totals. But Canyon County was not spared: 5,393 homes sold, off 9 percent from 2005.
Nevertheless, sales in Ada and Canyon County were 11 percent and 35 percent ahead of 2004, a year residential contractors say typifies a normal year for the local single-family housing market.
Jake Centers, head of Tahoe Homes in Meridian, said the 2005 boom was fueled by out-of-state investors who poured millions into area homes that they converted into rentals.
By mid-2006, however, waning investor interest and runaway housing production caught up with the market, he added.
“They (investors) just stopped looking, and it took a while for the market to react,” Centers said.
Centers said he expects 2007 to be a “stable” year.
“Everybody has cut way back on production,” he said. “So, we’ll go through the rest of the remaining inventory, and by 2008 the market will have completely corrected itself.”
But while housing sales were slipping in Boise, the Downtown condominium market boomed throughout 2005 and 2006.
BoDo developer Mark Rivers grabbed headlines last August when he proposed his $130 million Library Blocks redevelopment plan. The project would bring new housing, retail and office space to a blighted six-block area bordered by 9th and Capitol, and stretching from Myrtle south to the Boise River. The featured attraction would be a new $30 million Downtown library that would sit on the same site as the existing library.
Rivers said the slowdown in single-family housing should not hurt the Downtown condo market.
“It’s a market that is still emerging,” Rivers said. “So there is no historic data you can look at. But I think there is a lot of room left for a product that reflects urban living in Boise.”
Not to be outdone, Old Boise land owner Clay Carley and developer Gary Christensen announced their own ambitious retail, office and condominium project.
Carley and Christensen’s C-Squared Development LLC partnership plans a multiyear, multimillion-dollar mixed-use neighborhood development with a footprint of almost two square blocks, much of it in historic Old Boise.
Tentatively named Sustainable Community 1, the development would run from Main Street south to Front Street and from Sixth Street east to Fifth Street.
Initial plans called for phase one to include a 23-story condo tower where the Boise Rescue Mission now stands on Front Street.
Other condo projects under way include the CitySide Lofts at 13th and Myrtle, the Jefferson at 4th and Jefferson and the Royal Plaza at 11th and Main. Still to break ground are Boise Place, an ambitious hotel/condo development that would replace the ill-fated Boise Tower, and The Metropolitan at 15th and Idaho Streets.

New book ranks Boise 10th best U.S. city

Authors prioritize climate, cost of living and quality of life in ratings
By BOB MINZESHEIMER - USA TODAY and Idaho Statesman Staff
Edition Date: 05/09/07
The Boise area ranks as the 10th best place to live in the United States according to a new book.
In "Cities Ranked & Rated" (Wiley, $24.99), authors Bert Sperling and Peter Sander rate cities in 10 categories, from the economy to the arts. It's a big move up for Boise; in 2004, the authors rated Boise as the 68th best place to live in the U.S.
"Once again we are honored by this distinction," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. "Ultimately, the most important opinions are those of our residents, but this kind of validation is quite gratifying. It also illustrates why we must continue to move forward with livability issues."
The book gives the most weight to cost of living, climate and one subjective measure: quality of life.
Gainesville, a "right-sized college town" that's home to the University of Florida, is the best place to live in the U.S., according to the book.
The authors give high marks to several other "satellite cities" attracting telecommuters, including Bellingham, Wash., (No. 2) and Colorado Springs (No. 4).
At the bottom of the rankings of 375 metropolitan areas is Modesto, Calif.
The 848-page book updates 2004 rankings by the authors, who have given more weight to affordable housing and reasonable commuting times.
Last month, Boise was named the third-best city in the country for business and careers by Forbes magazine. In July, Money magazine ranked Boise eighth on its Best Places to Live 2006 for small cities. Both magazines pointed to the city's strong economy and low unemployment rate.
Sperling and Sander's book relies on statistics as well as the authors' judgments of physical attractiveness and "ease of living."

Ten Mile Interchange plan ready for Meridian City Council hearing Tuesday

Meridian is making comprehensive long-range plans ahead of development rather than playing catch-up
By Hilary Costa -
Edition Date: 05/21/07
Meridian officials have a plan they're confident will bring developers to the city.
The comprehensive Ten Mile Interchange Specific Area Plan is an extremely detailed document laying out what future development should look like in the area surrounding the planned Interstate 84 interchange at Ten Mile Road.
Open fields still dominate the landscape there, but once the interchange is built (construction is expected to begin in 2009), the region is expected to boom with retail, residential and commercial developments.
"Will they come? I think they will," said Pete Friedman, a planner with the city.
The Meridian Planning Department will present the Ten Mile plan to City Council Tuesday night. If approved, it would be added to the city's Comprehensive Plan, which dictates land uses within the city.
The Ten Mile plan is a highly detailed proposal more than a year and nearly $100,000 in the making. It began with open house public meetings last summer and included a four-day planning summit called a charette, which brought representatives from the Valley's major transportation and municipal agencies together to lay out the future of the Ten Mile area. Friedman said about 700 people were involved in the process.
It has gone through multiple hearings at the city's Planning and Zoning Commission, which recommended its approval, prior to tomorrow's council hearing.
The plan that will go to council outlines a 2,798-acre area of new commercial and residential development, with a heavy focus on mixed-use neighborhoods.
The plan allows for single-family homes but emphasizes denser housing blocks ranging from apartments to townhouses, with built-in or nearby commercial uses that would encourage residents to live near where they work and walk most places they need to go.
At full build-out, the area would support more than 30,000 employees, according to city documents.
The plan also designates an upscale lifestyle center retail/commercial development, concentrated areas for industrial operations, park space and civic buildings.
To make the area come together as they envision it, city officials will have to work with the Ada County Highway District to plan roadways ahead of development, Friedman said, instead of playing catch-up to meet the transportation needs created by a new neighborhood or shopping district.
"We know developments going to move that way," Friedman said. "We just wanted to get in front of it."
Meridian has been accused in the past of allowing more growth than its network of rural, two-lane roads can handle.
The area also spans the current rail corridor, which city officials hope will one day house a light rail system connecting Caldwell to Downtown Boise.
The Ten Mile plan differs from anything the city has done before in that it relies heavily on design review guidelines. That means that once the city adopts certain design standards, it will have a legal basis to dictate how new buildings will look, down to the placement of windows on a store or the type of siding that goes on a condominium complex.
David Turnbull, president of Brighton Corporation, said he owns 120 acres of land within the Ten Mile area that the plan designates for mixed-use commercial, lifestyle center and high-density office uses.
Turnbull said design guidelines will help protect his investment because all surrounding development will be held to the same high standards.
Turnbull has been involved in the Ten Mile planning process from the beginning, and said there are still a lot of details to be worked out as it goes forward.
"It's nice to have kind of a blank slate of undeveloped property, and you can actually get some coordinated development plans going," Turnbull said.
• LDR: Low-density residential with a mix of lot sizes and a predominance of single-family homes.
• MDR: Medium-density residential of relatively low density with mostly single-family and two-unit homes. Also some three- to four-unit apartment buildings and community facilities such as libraries and schools.
• MHDR: Medium-high density residential with multi-family housing and community facilities, offices and smaller retail businesses.
• HDR: High-density residential with multi-family housing in larger and taller apartment buildings. At least 16 to 25 units per acre. Also retail/service businesses to serve residents.
• MUR: Mixed-use residential. Live-work units strongly encouraged.
• MUC: Mixed-use commercial with office, retail, recreational and employment uses with attached multi-family or single-family units.
• Lifestyle center: Upscale retail, professional services, offices, retail, civic services and residential. Outdoor format designed for pedestrians with open-air gathering spaces.
• LDR: Low-density office space for professional services and similar businesses. No retail.
• HDE: High-density employment for office, research and specialized businesses. No retail.
• Mixed employment: Office, research, light industrial. Retail designed to serve employees.
• Industrial: Typical industrial and manufacturing businesses. Not located near residential areas.By Hilary Costa

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Retail wave hits Valley; more stores are on the way

By Ken Dey - Idaho Statesman
Edition Date: 04/29/07

Deanna Durfee didn't mind battling for parking and braving nearly hourlong checkout lines to shop during the grand opening of Kohl's in Meridian earlier this month.
"It's nice to now have a variety of places to shop in a lot of different areas," she said.
Look around the Treasure Valley. New stores like Kohl's seem to be appearing out of nowhere.
"It's quite a phenomenon," Paul Hiller, executive director of the Boise Economic Valley Partnership.
As Boise's retail landscape matures, growth has been moving westward to Meridian and Nampa, creating large destination shopping areas anchored by big-box stores. The trend started in 1999 with the opening of the Crossroads shopping center in Meridian at the intersection of Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue.
The latest areas are in Nampa. Treasure Valley Marketplace at the Karcher Road interchange of Interstate 84 is the largest, anchored by a Costco, Kohl's, Target and Best Buy. Retail development also is growing near the Idaho Center with a new Wal-Mart Supercenter and Sam's Club. And a proposed new Gateway development at Interstate 84's Garrity Boulevard exit will be anchored by a J.C. Penney store.
Dozens of smaller retailers are moving in, too, such as Taco Del Mar, a fast-casual Mexican food franchise. Developer Todd Hicks opened his first location at Eagle and McMillan Roads in fall 2004. He now has nine locations with three more in development.
"We know that the population is going to keep growing, and we have to build retail to support that," Hicks said. "People don't always want to drive into Boise to go to a Target."
To be sure, new stores still are coming into to Boise. Sporting goods giant Cabela's opened its first location in Idaho on Franklin Road near Boise Towne Square. In Downtown Boise, the BoDo development on 8th Street between Front and Myrtle streets brought new specialty retailers such as Urban Outfitters.
Valley residents now have choices for shopping and dining that rival those of bigger cities like Portland, Seattle and Salt Lake City.
Just a decade ago, Boise shoppers were thrilled with the opening of the valley's first Wal-Mart on Overland Road. The valley now has six.
"It's crazy to see this much growth," said Jeni Ranstrom, 33, a long-time Meridian resident shopping at the new Kohl's. "This is where my father used to hunt and where we would go for country drives."
Still, Ranstrom said she thinks there is still room for more stores. Her suggestion: An Ikea, the popular home-furnishings store.
Attractive demographics
"It's a pleasant surprise to see this many retailers having an interest in the Treasure Valley, but I'm not that surprised because the demographics are exactly what retailers look for," said Bob Mitchell, a retail shopping center specialist and partner with Thornton Oliver Keller Commercial Real Estate in Boise.
Mitchell, whose firm is marketing the Treasure Valley Marketplace in Nampa, said the area's population, relatively high income and low unemployment is a "great recipe" for retailers.
More than a third of Idaho's nearly 1.5 million people live in the Treasure Valley. Between 2000 and 2006, the population in the Boise metropolitan area, which includes Ada, Canyon, Gem, Boise and Owyhee counties, grew by more than 20 percent, to 567,640 from 464,840, according to the latest U.S. Census data.
Ada County's average income is also the second largest in the state at $39,302. Canyon County's average income is much lower at $20,397, but the new stores in Canyon County also serve much of western Ada County.
Pam Eaton, with the Idaho Retailers Association, says demographics also play a part.
"We have a bunch of different type of people moving in the the area from all over, with different socioeconomic backgrounds and different tastes in retail," Eaton said, "Everyone from college students, who seem to have more money than college students 10 to 20 years ago, to executives from companies like Micron, HP and SuperValu."
Mike Griswold, a retail expert with Boston-based AMR Research who has lived in Boise for two years, said the recognition Boise has received nationally over the past several years in magazines such as Forbes has helped catch the attention of retailers. Forbes named Boise as the third best place in the country for business and careers this year.
"You now have to take Boise seriously as a place to bring your business," Griswold said.
Dan Coughlin, president of the Missouri-based Coughlin Co. and the author of the coming book "Accelerate: 20 Practical Lessons to Boost Business Momentum," said large retail companies are almost always in an expansion mode, and they look at areas where they can have an immediate impact on a market.
"Whoever can get a foothold in a community first and build relationships has the advantage," he said.
Mike Whatley, district manager for Kohl's, said the area had been on the company's radar.
And who is Kohl's target customer?
"It's the mom with a family with a disposable income who typically shops at the more traditional department stores," he said.
Just the beginning
The westward expansion probably will continue for years.
"For the next three to five years you're going to see a growing demand for retail services out where people live," Mitchell said.
A second phase of the Treasure Valley Marketplace already is planned and will bring another PetSmart and Sportsman's Warehouse as well as more banks and fast-food restaurants, Mitchell said.
Mitchell expects the next center for major retail growth to be the proposed Ten Mile Road interchange in west Meridian. Work on the I-84 interchange is supposed to start by 2010, and he expects retail to follow, just as it did with the Karcher Road interchange and Midland Boulevard exit in Nampa.
Hicks expects growth moving forward to fill in the holes between Boise, Meridian and Nampa and move into the outlying areas of Kuna and Star.
"Look at Kuna — it doesn't have a lot of retail, yet it has 20,000 people," he said. "We know that the population is going to keep growing, and you have to build retail to support that."
By the end of 2008, Hicks expects to have 15 Taco Del Mar locations in the valley.
"I'll stop when the valley stops," he said.

Monday, January 22, 2007

No backwater

Boise is an outdoor playground with a lively downtown and budding arts scene
Boise, Idaho, once ruled by the bait-and-bullet crowd, has embraced the Lycra lifestyle. Sitting at the junction of the arid plateau of the high desert and the western foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the capital of Idaho offers all the outdoor advantages of more ballyhooed Western towns but with less, well, ballyhoo.
The town has been on the front of national sports pages for the Boise State football team which ran up a 13-0 record but was denied a spot in the national championship game.
Boise may have a population of about 190,000, but it is still a mining and farming town at heart, and it attracts active professionals and young families who will tell you that theirs is a great hometown – just don't let too many people know. They wouldn't want those trail heads or hot springs to get too crowded. A rejuvenated downtown and a budding arts community mean that after a day of rafting on the Payette River, mountain biking in the foothills or carving at Bogus Basin Ski Resort you don't have to turn in once the sun fades behind the Snake River.
Here's some ideas on how to spend 36 hours in Boise:Friday 4 p.m. 1) TWO HEADS ARE BETTER
It's best to educate before you recreate, so check out the stuffed two-headed calf and other marvels and curiosities at the Idaho Historical Museum (610 N. Julia Davis Drive, 208-334-2120; /museum.html) in Julia Davis Park. From there, walk down the Boise River Greenbelt, a public corridor of parks and trails snug against the Boise River, to the Cottonwood Grille (913 W. River St., 208-333-9800) for a pint of Mirror Pond pale ale or other regional microbrews on the patio overlooking the river and, of course, cottonwoods.7 p.m. 2) TRY THE TROUT TOWER
Jon Mortimer draws from regional farmers and ranchers to create an ever-changing menu distinct to southern Idaho at Mortimer's (110 S. Fifth St., 208-338-6550), in the basement of the venerable Belgravia building. On one recent night, Mortimer served a tower of trout (raised in nearby Buhl) perched on a foundation of, what else, Idaho potatoes and stuffed with Maine lobster. (Sorry, there are no lobsters in the Snake River.) Pair this dish with a glass of Chardonnay from Hells Canyon Winery in Caldwell. Always available is the seven-course chef's tasting menu. Seating is limited at this spot, popular with downtown professionals and couples out for special occasions, so reservations are recommended.Saturday 8 a.m. 3) BREAKFAST BUILDERS
Put your name on the list at Goldy's Breakfast Bistro (108 S. Capitol Blvd., 208-345-4100) and stroll two blocks north to the Capitol dome to contemplate the statue of Gov. Frank Steunenberg; he was killed in 1905 by a bomb planted near his garden gate by radicals enraged by his rough handling of labor uprisings in upstate mines. But don't let that century-old assassination ruin your appetite while you sit under the flying light bulb sculpture at Goldy's and dig in to a plate of potato, beet and bacon hash, one possible component of the popular "build your own breakfast." If you're in town anywhere from April to October, join stroller-pushing Boiseans at the Capital City Public Market (9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays, 208-345-9287), where the artists of Boise Art Glass (208-345-1825) can make you a custom trinket as you graze on local meats such as elk jerky and the Idaho version of classic goat cheese.11 a.m. 4) BASQUE BRAWN
A century ago, Basque shepherds tended flocks in the grassy foothills around Boise. Today the mayor and many other prominent Idahoans claim Basque heritage. Learn about the Basques' culture, like their love of a stirring strongman competition, at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center (611 Grove St., 208-343-2671; Then grab a table at Gernika Basque Pub and Eatery (202 S. Capitol Blvd., 208-344-2175). The lamb grinder is a safe bet, but if it's Saturday brave the beef tongue in tomato and pepper sauce, washing it down with a bottle of Zapiain, a Basque cider, or a kalimotxo, a Coca-Cola mixed with red wine.1:30 p.m. 5) RAPID TRANSIT
Join the weekend exodus of pickups hauling A.T.V.'s and Subarus bearing bikes heading over the brown foothills of the Boise Front to outdoor adventure. Drive 45 minutes north to Horseshoe Bend and hook up with the Cascade Raft Company (7050 Highway 55, 800-292-7238) for a half-day trip through Class III and IV rapids on the Lower South Fork of the Payette River ($45). Not feeling adventurous? Stay in town, buy an inner tube and join lazy locals floating down the relatively placid Boise River for six miles between Barber Park (4049 Eckert Road) and Ann Morrison Park (1000 Americana Blvd.), but avoid the river when it's high, which it typically is in the spring.7 p.m. 6) HOW ABOUT A POTATO-TINI?
Swap your swim trunks for town wear and find an outdoor table on the pedestrian plaza outside the overtly cosmopolitan Red Feather Lounge (246 N. Eighth St., 208-429-6340), where the focus is on "post-classic" cocktails, like the Tangerine Rangoon: Plymouth gin, fresh tangerine juice and homemade pomegranate grenadine. Pair that with a slow-roasted Muscovy duck and you might forget that you're in laid-back Boise. That is, until you spot the guy in running shorts and a fanny pack at the bar.8 p.m. 7) LAWN ORDER
Borrow a blanket from your hotel and find a spot on the lawn at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, overlooking the Boise River east of town (5657 Warm Springs Ave., 208-336-9221;; from $27), which runs June to September. It features productions of Shakespeare as well as more contemporary works at an outdoor amphitheater that overlooks the Boise River. As the sun sets and the stars come out, you might start to think that Boise's status as one of the most isolated metro areas in the lower 48 states is not a bad thing.Sunday 9 a.m. 8) FULL OF BEANS
Head to Idaho Mountain Touring (1310 W. Main St., 208-336-3854), rent a full-suspension mountain bike ($25 for about four hours or $35 for the day) and head north on 13th Street to Hyde Park, a neighborhood of bungalows and tree-lined streets where you can get an $8 haircut three doors down from a community art gallery. Park your bike with the others in front of Java Hyde Park (1612 N. 13th Street, 208-345-4777) and make your way past the dogs tied up outside to order the Bowl of Soul, a sugary concoction of coffee, espresso, Mexican coffee and fresh whipped cream.10 a.m. 9) THE WHEEL DEAL
Fortified, and perhaps jittery, remount your rented ride and pedal a few blocks farther up 13th Street to Camel's Back Park (1200 W. Heron St.). Look for the trail head east of the tennis courts, one of many entrances to the Ridge to Rivers trail system, a single- and double-track network that covers 80,000 acres between the Boise Ridge and Boise River. Climb the Red Cliffs Trail (No. 39, according to the map that charts the system) to open vistas of the Treasure Valley below, then loop back down on the rollicking Lower Hulls Gulch Trail (No. 29). Repeat as necessary.
Before returning that rental join the other trail warriors at Parrilla Grill (1512 N. 13th St., 208-323-4688) for buffalo tacos or a Wrap of Khan with tofu and peanut sauce and brag about how you bombed all over Boise too.

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