Thursday, January 16, 2020

Local home prices increase, outpacing national numbers

The Idaho Falls Metropolitan Statistic Area shows normal valuation on CoreLogic's map.
Looking at the CoreLogic HPI report for November 2019 and comparing it with data from the Snake River Multiple Listing Service, home prices in Bonneville County increased at nearly three times the national rate.

CoreLogic, out of Irvine, Calif., reported home prices increased for the year by 3.7%. Snake River MLS’s marketing statistics show the median home price in Bonneville County through November was $221,050, up from $196,820 — an increase of 12.31%.

Idaho ranked first in home price change, registering 10.2%. And while Bonneville County showed up on the map, the hottest market in the state remains Treasure Valley. To the south, Utah showed an increase of 6.7%

The CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that home prices will increase by 5.3% on a year-over-year basis from November 2019 to November 2020. On a month-over-month basis, home prices are expected to increase by 0.2% from November 2019 to December 2019. The CoreLogic HPI Forecast is a projection of home prices using the CoreLogic HPI and other economic variables. Values are derived from state-level forecasts by weighting indices according to the number of owner-occupied households for each state.

During the second quarter of 2019, CoreLogic, together with RTi Research of Norwalk, Connecticut, conducted an extensive survey measuring consumer-housing sentiment among millennials. The study showed that a significant number of older millennials (ages 30-38) are strongly considering moving within the next 12 months, with 64% of this cohort expecting to purchase a home, reinforcing this group’s interest in the housing market. Meanwhile, 57% of younger millennials (ages 21-29) plan on renting their next home. Despite the purchase intent among older millennials, nearly half (43%) still view homeownership as unaffordable and out of reach.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Commercial real estate firm TOK launches rebranding

Signs around town on properties listed by Thornton Oliver Keller, the Boise-based commercial real estate firm, are going to be getting a new look soon. The 29-year old firm announced Thursday that it is rebranding, shortening its name to TOK and changing its logo.

The firm has enjoyed rapid expansion over the last several years and is positioning itself for further growth with the new look, a company press release said. The aim of the rebranding is to eliminate complexity and dated iconography and offer TOK a fresh identity for its signage, advertising, websites and social media channels.

“It seemed like a logical time to take this step. We wanted to have a branding platform that was able to reflect our growing size and scale,” said TOK Managing Partner Michael Ballantyne. “Thornton Oliver Keller’s name and logo has long enjoyed tremendous brand recognition and value, but increasingly has served as a source of confusion, as we are now most commonly referred to as TOK.”

While still in the beginning stages of the rollout, thus far TOK has shared key pieces of information about the repositioning effort through a dedicated website, an internal email campaign, and its social media channels and hashtag (#ItsTOK).

From tenant and landlord representation to acquisitions, property management, and advisory services, TOK brokerage and property management teams operate out of Boise, Idaho Falls and Twin Falls and serve clients in several western states, including Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Nevada and Utah.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

First 2020 building permit, site plans filed in Idaho Falls

Back in the day, newspapers made a big deal over the first baby born in the new year, with local merchants contributing useful and playful things to help the parents welcome their new offspring into the world.

We have no gifts, but in the same spirit BizMojo Idaho is happy to present the first Idaho Falls building permit application of 2020. Named Permit #COM20-0001, it is for remodeling of the Teton Home Health Wellness Center at 2470 Jafer Court, off 25th East, just north of MorningStar Senior Living of Idaho Falls. The application was made Jan. 2 at 12:47 p.m.

Based on square footage, the job value is estimated at $500,000. Total fees amount to $5,339.12. The owner is listed as Hansen and Harper LLC of Ammon, and the remodel is being done by Tallman Construction and Design, also of Ammon.

Teton Home Health has been around since February 1993, when it was certified as a Medicare and Medicaid services provider. Its Medicare certified services include nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology and home health aides.

The first site plan of 2020 was filed Jan. 3 by OE Connect Engineering of Idaho Falls for Freeman Apartments. The owner is listed as Teton Vista Homes of Eagle, Idaho. The complex is planned for the property south of Bowl-ero Lanes and Planet Doom and east of the U.S. Post Office on Fourth Street. The plan shows six buildings, each roughly 4,725 square feet in size and containing eight units.

So there you have it. It's a new decade. Best wishes for a prosperous and exciting 2020.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Megaplex project announced for Snake River Landing

The Megaplex at Jordan Commons, in Sandy, Utah
Ball Ventures and the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies announced today a joint venture to develop a new Megaplex Theatre in Idaho Falls. The new theater, the first Megaplex in Idaho, will be located in Snake River Landing, a 450-acre mixed-use development on the south side of Idaho Falls between the Snake River and Interstate 15. The companies anticipate breaking ground on the project in the spring of 2020.

More details on the project will be announced as the groundbreaking date gets nearer, a Ball Ventures press release said.

Megaplex currently operates 18 locations in Utah and Nevada. The company dates back to 1999, when Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller opened a 17-screen Megaplex in Sandy, Utah, on the former site of Jordan High School. The company expanded beyond the Wasatch Front in 2012, opening locations in St. George, Logan, Cedar City and Mesquite, Nev. They opened the second IMAX screen in Utah in 2005, and now operate several.

“Our partnership with Ball Ventures delivers a natural extension to our current theater offerings in Utah and Nevada,” said Gail Miller, owner and chairman of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. “Our mission is to enrich lives, and we see this as an opportunity to continue our legacy of providing quality, family-friendly entertainment to a rapidly growing area in Idaho. We look forward to building upon our commitment to support and enhance the communities where we do business.”

“Ball Ventures, a highly respected, first-class development firm, is the type of partner we seek when expanding into new markets,” said Steve Starks, chief executive officer for Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. “Snake River Landing is ideally located to serve communities from Blackfoot to West Yellowstone. Our Megaplex business model provides numerous amenities including state-of-the-art technology, luxury loungers, meeting and event space, a variety of concessions, and industry leading guest services. We look forward to providing quality entertainment options for the area’s families, nearby college students, and visitors.”

“We are so pleased to work with our friends at Larry H. Miller to bring Megaplex Theatres in Idaho Falls,” says Cortney Liddiard, CEO of Ball Ventures. “Across its many companies, Larry H. Miller Group has an incredible reputation for enriching the communities in which they operate. We are honored to work with Gail Miller and the LHM team to bring a first-class entertainment experience to residents of eastern Idaho.”

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Bank of Idaho announces staff changes

Tyler Kraupp
Bank of Idaho has made staffing changes to address future growth.

Tyler Kraupp has been named director of marketing for the bank, replacing Jarod Phillips, who is assuming the role of senior branch banking officer. “We look forward to leveraging Tyler's insights, expertise, and knowledge in this new role," said bank president and CEO Jeff Newgard. "He'll be a great asset to our team as we continue to find new ways to improve the bank’s brand and our impact on the communities we serve."

Newgard said Phillips' promotion should position the bank for continued growth. "We're equally excited to see Jarod return to his roots in community banking. He'll work with customer-facing staff to make the banking experience more consultative and personal. We place a high priority on building personal connections with our clients," Newgard said. "It's how we set ourselves apart from other financial institutions.”

Kraupp is a fifth-generation Idaho Falls resident with strong marketing and leadership experience. His previous posts include: entrepreneur of an acquired multi-award-winning creative agency, COO of a leading Idaho digital firm, and secretary of the Business Climate and Economics Development CUSP Panel in Idaho Falls. He serves as vice president of Breaking Boundaries, an Idaho Falls-based non-profit dedicated to helping individuals with HIV/AIDS and to promoting diversity.
Jarod Phillips

Phillips has worked for Bank of Idaho for more than 20 years and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his new role. He will likewise continue to serve with organizations he is passionate about in the community and throughout the state. He will work closely with Kraupp to ensure a smooth transition as the bank continues its years-long support of countless community programs and organizations.

Bank of Idaho, established in 1985, has seen strong recent growth in the markets it serves. The company has broadened its footprint to include the Treasure Valley, where two full-service branches and one loan production office have been established in the last year. The bank recently completed a capital campaign to support its anticipated growth and began listing its stock for public trade on the OTC-QX market under the symbol BOID.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Idaho Falls airport adds new United flight to Denver, larger jets

The Embraer ERJ-175 regional jet, which United plans to begin flying into Idaho Falls twice a day.
Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) has announced today that United Airlines will begin providing a fifth daily flight to Denver for the first time in IDA’s history. In addition to the new daily service, United has also announced that they are increasing the size of the aircraft for two of those daily flights.

The new Embraer ERJ-175 aircraft United will be adding will provide a huge increase in the amount of capacity available, adding 102 new seats, or 50 percent more capacity to the Denver destination. The new, larger aircraft also will add a first class seating section that has not previously been available with the smaller, 45 seat CRJ200 aircraft.

The new, expanded schedule provides ideal connectivity to more than 110 cities around the world in a single stop,” said IDA Executive Director Rick Cloutier.  “The new flights are specifically timed to make connections to new destinations such as London and Frankfurt … places where United has never provided one-stop service from Idaho Falls before.”

United has already announced and started selling the 5th daily flight to Denver, which will start June 4th. The new flights will also make it easier and faster to reach destinations on the east coast with only one stop in Denver.

The city is also set to begin construction soon on a terminal expansion. This expansion will add a three new gates and added area in the security screening and gate areas. The airport recently opened its brand new and upgraded baggage claim and improved airport security service with the TSA Pre Check line for approved passengers.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Oklo Inc. receives DOE Site Use Permit to build at Idaho National Laboratory

A sketch of what Oklo's 1.5 megawatt Aurora plant might one day look like
Oklo Inc., a company based in Sunnyvale, Calif., announced Monday it has received a Site Use Permit from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to build its Aurora plant at Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

According to a press release on, the site use permit is an important step toward commercializing advanced fission technologies, and this the first issued for a non-light water nuclear power reactor. The permit outlines the responsibilities for each party regarding use of the site. The site use permit is in effect for the lifetime of the plant, and puts a requirement on a maximum licensing timeline for Oklo with the regulator before the start of operation.

The site use permit makes a site available to Oklo to build its Aurora plant, which utilizes a compact fast reactor to generate about 1.5 MW of electric power. This site is anticipated to be the location of the first-of-a-kind deployment of the Aurora plant.

Oklo co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Caroline Cochran said receiving the site use permit is an exciting step on the path to deploying advanced fission technology. “Oklo entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with DOE in 2017, and the site use permit is an important resultant milestone,” Cochran said. “DOE is clearly demonstrating its commitment to enabling commercial deployment of novel clean energy technologies, and advanced fission in particular. We are excited to be among the first to exercise this new process.”

Two years ago, the DOE Idaho Operations Office developed a new INL site permit application process, and Oklo was the first to complete the new process. Completion of the site permit process exemplifies the ability of DOE to support advanced reactor development and deployment. This also supports objectives laid out by Congress in legislation passed in 2018, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA), as well as language in proposed legislation.

INL plays a key role in the development of advanced fission technologies. As the nation’s lead nuclear energy laboratory, INL will be a key collaborator with Oklo as Oklo licenses, constructs and operates the new plant. INL is also laying the groundwork for working with additional advanced reactor technologies to come. DOE recently established the legislatively authorized National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) led by INL, which provides resources for testing, demonstration and performance assessment to accelerate deployment of new advanced nuclear technology concepts.

Oklo has been engaged in pre-application activities with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) since 2016 for the Aurora design, and is preparing to submit its first license application to NRC. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an upcoming step before the Aurora plant is built will include preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.