Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 was an active year for development

Construction work at Sand Creek Commons, where Cabela's is being built and Hobby Lobby is slated to go.
Here we are at the end of 2014, with the temperature below zero and little to report in the way of new development. Let’s take a look at the top business stories of the year.

Cabela’s, Hobby Lobby
For years, everyone has known the southeast corner of Sunnyside and Hitt was prime for commercial development. This year was when things got rolling in earnest, first with the announcement that Cabela’s would be building a store, then in September with confirmation that Hobby Lobby was coming. The third anchor tenant is Rigby-based Broulim’s. Other tenants include D.L. Evans Bank and Mountain America Credit Union.

Also worth noting, the cities of Idaho Falls and Ammon came up with an mutually acceptable agreement in September to share the cost of widening Hitt Road south of the Sunnyside intersection, estimated at $2 million. Because Hitt Road lies within Idaho Falls city limits, this has not always been an easy point of negotiation over the past 20 years.

Growth at Snake River Landing
This year has seen a massive amount of development at Snake River Landing, south of Pancheri Drive. In early summer, Scientech moved into its approximately $9 million, 110,000-square-foot facility. Brandon River Apartments opened a complex of 48 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and residential development by Kartchner Homes proceeded as well. On the retail side, Bill’s Bike and Run and McKenzie River Pizza opened, and foundation work began on a Home2 by Hilton hotel just south of Stockman’s Restaurant.

New Car Dealerships
Teton Toyota gained Teton Volkswagen for a neighbor in June, and in the Smith Group opened its Honda and Chevrolet dealerships across Sunnyside Road to the southwest, on 17 acres. Each dealership is just shy of 30,000 square feet. Owner Stafford Smith said he plans to have a grand opening in spring 2015, but is happy to show the place to guests now.

Opting to stay in Idaho Falls, Broadway Ford began work on a new dealership that will include an 8,196 square-foot showroom and a parts and service department of 21,429 square feet. Owner Mont Crnkovich and his management team had been talking for several years about a new showroom and service department, with a more efficient layout out and up-to-date amenities. The building permit valuation from city of Idaho Falls is $4.8 million.

Melaleuca Moves Headquarters
Melaleuca, Inc., one of the county’s major employers, moved its headquarters from South Yellowstone to its new $50 million complex near Interstate 15 Exit 113. A grand opening is likely to be held sometime in early 2015.

Camping World
If you’re driving over the new Pancheri overpass, you’ll notice a lot of dirt being moved to the southwest. That would be Kentucky-based Camping World, which is developing 12 acres. The company and its Boise developer, Zoke LLC, signaled in May they wanted to develop the land.

Because it was designated for high-density residential development in the city of Idaho Falls’ comprehensive plan, the City Council had to take action before annexation could take place and work could get started. Once that happened, Camping World both the OK Trailer RV dealership in Shelley. An opening is tentatively planned for May.

Guns and Gear
The $3.5 million Guns and Gear, opened in November, and while it has given firearms enthusiasts something unlike anything they have ever seen here its broader effect may be on the surrounding land.  Dixie and Shane Murphy and their partner, Ryan Later, spent $2.8 million on the two-story, 15,000-square-foot building, which overlooks the Snake River Landing development, and $700,000 on equipment.

This provided the impetus for the city of Idaho Falls to establish the 55-acre Eagle Ridge Urban Renewal District. What this will allow is tax increment financing through the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency. Put simply, while taxes are collected on the land the way they always have been, money collected on improvements to the land goes to the Redevelopment Agency to be spent on roads, water, sewer and power lines in the district. Snake River Landing, Taylor Crossing on the River and the hotels on Lindsay Boulevard all lie within urban renewal districts.

D Street Underpass opens
Does anyone notice how much easier it is to get into downtown Idaho Falls since the city opened the D Street Underpass in August? The new structure provides two westbound lanes, one eastbound lane, a wide sidewalk and a traffic signal that allows left-hand turns.

New Restaurants
Restaurants come and go, but one thing that remains constant is the interest in them shown by BizMojo Idaho readers. While there was nothing on the Olive Garden or Chick-fil-A level to provide excitement in 2014, there were some new entries into the market. Gator Jack’s moved into the old Winger’s location on Hitt Road. Togo’s Sandwiches opened in Rexburg and is poised to open its first Idaho Falls store in January. Noodles & Co. is also coming to Hitt Road, and Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburger is poised to open on Woodruff Avenue in early January. Downtown, Alchemy Bistro has moved in to where Il Castello used to be, and the Park Avenue Grill has reanimated the long-dormant location at 950 Park Avenue.