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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Building permit filed for Holiday Inn and Suites at Jackson Hole Junction development

It looks like a Holiday Inn and Suites is coming to the Jackson Hole Junction development, just west of Teton Toyota near 1-15 Exit 116. A building permit application was filed Oct. 17 by Process Architecture of Missoula, Mont., on behalf of InnTrusted LLC, an Idaho Falls company with several hotels in the area.

Located at 3005 South Fork Boulevard, the permit is for a 91,330-square-foot building with a valuation of $13,128,688.

Locally, InnTrusted operates the Holiday Inn Express on Channing Way, Candlewood Suites, LaQuinta Inn & Suites and two Hampton Inns. The company also operates hotels in Nampa, Pocatello, Jerome and Meridian, as well as Missoula and Butte, Mont., and St. George, Utah.

Jackson Hole Junction is a 44-acre development with plans for two hotels, retail businesses and restaurants. Ground was broken on the site in April.

Bank of Idaho doubles earnings, donation from summer golf tournament

Bank of Idaho President and CEO Jeff Newgard
It seemed an insurmountable task earlier this year when Bank of Idaho President and CEO Jeff Newgard challenged his team to double their 2017 ‘Swing for the Green’ Tournament earnings and donation to the College of Eastern Idaho’s Education Endowment Fund. But on Thursday at 4 p.m., in the bank’s Capital Avenue lobby in downtown Idaho Falls, Newgard and his governing board will be presenting a check for $25,240, slightly more than double last year’s amount.

Local dignitaries, including Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper and Ammon Mayor Sean Coletti, CEI officials, foundation directors and trustees, are expected to be on hand to witness the delivery of the first check for the new endowment. An informal reception will follow.

“Our thanks go out to the many wonderful and generous sponsors who stepped up and donated their time and money,” said Jarod Phillips, the bank’s vice president of market development, who organized the tournament, now in its second year. Special credit goes to Wipfli and The Hartwell  Corp., who anchored the tournament again, he said.

The tournament was held in late June at the Idaho Falls Country Club, with 25 teams participating. It was co-hosted by LPGA Professionals, who have committed to return next year.

“We understand the ripple effect on our local small business economy of having a trained and ready workforce graduating, that are also more likely to continue living in the community,” Newgard said. “We hope to get the word out about the endowment fund’s scholarship opportunity to local students
because we aren’t stopping here. Bank of Idaho is proud to support CEI and the pursuit of educational excellence in our community.”

For details on how to contribute to the Endowment Fund for Higher Education, contact Phillips at (208) 524-5500 or via email at j.phillips@bankofidaho.net.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Idaho Falls schedules residential fiber program public meeting for Tuesday

The pilot area for fiber to be strung overhead, between 17th Street and Rose Hill Cemetery
The pilot area for fiber in city conduits, south of Sunnyside Road 
The Idaho Falls Residential Fiber Pilot Program is set to begin with a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Taylorview Junior High School.

Residents whose neighborhoods have been selected to participate in the pilot program have been identified and have received a letter from Idaho Falls Power and the Idaho Falls Fiber Network advising them of the date and time of the meeting.

While the meeting is specifically to answer questions for the pilot program residents, it is an open meeting and the public is invited to attend. The meeting will provide residents with more detailed information on the project, construction process, schedules and details on how and when to sign up for services. Utopia, the Utah-based telecommunications company that is partnering with Idaho Falls Power on the design of the fiber network, will also be at the meeting to help answer questions.

The Idaho Falls residential fiber pilot program was approved by a resolution of the Idaho Falls City Council in September.

“Essentially, Idaho Falls Power already manages a large infrastructure that provides fiber to numerous local businesses, government and schools,” said Bear Prairie, General Manager of Idaho Falls Power and Idaho Falls Fiber. “What [the] resolution does…is formally direct us to prove the feasibility of expanding our network throughout the city.”
The pilot area for fiber to be buried directly, encompassing Stonebrook and some of Victorian Village
Prairie said that the pilot will allow Idaho Falls Power critical connectivity with residential electric customers to provide better power monitoring and customer service. It will also deliver previously unavailable fiber access for internet connectivity if customers want to use the additional bandwidth.

Idaho Falls Power expects residents who opt into the fiber network to experience data speeds up to one gigabit through the service.

Idaho Falls Power already maintains hundreds of miles of power and fiber lines that are run above ground on poles or buried underground throughout neighborhoods. Because Idaho Falls Power already has the fiber backbone and can run new lines through existing power infrastructure, the utility can build the residential fiber network at a fraction of the cost other companies might face.

Construction for the project is scheduled in early November and is expected to continue through the spring of 2019.  The first service to customers could happen as early as December, but is dependent on planning schedules and the weather, so final plans and dates are subject to change.

Residents with questions about the pilot program can contact Idaho Falls Power at 208-612-8430 or by e-mail at ifpinfo@ifpower.org.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Developer sought for downtown Park Avenue property

The Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency is seeking a developer

to renovate the vacant property at 336 Park Avenue.
The Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency is looking for a developer to revitalize 336 Park Avenue, vacant since 2015. Responses are due Nov. 8.

Located between the Lily's Too and the Villa Coffeehouse, the property was most recently the Pfaff Sewing Center. “Proposed developments are encouraged to take advantage of this site and its location on one of downtown’s most active streets and incorporate eating and drinking establishments, office support uses, or other uses supportive to residential housing on upper floors,” the request for proposals says (find the document with this link.)

The agency will negotiate with the selected developer leading to the preparation of a disposition and development agreement. Community Development Block Grant funds may be available for the restoration of the fa├žade. "The project should be an aesthetically pleasing and efficient
project that will complement and enhance downtown.“The agency hopes the proposed development will significantly increase residential uses downtown in order to increase economic activity in the urban core of Idaho Falls. The design and uses should activate this key location,” the RFP says.

The building dates back to 1896. Based on Sanborn Map records, it housed a printing service and a drug store from then until 1905. From 1905 until 1921 the property operated as a saloon and billiards parlor on the main floor with lodging on the upper floor.

There is a gap in the city’s records from 1921 until 1946, but from the historical research I have done for my “Looking Back” column in the Post Register I can report that the Battery Cigar Store was at 330 Park Avenue in 1926. It was the scene of a sidewalk shooting in October that year in which Ed Irwin, a clerk at the cigar store, was shot by Herman Albers, the operator of a billiard hall on A Street. Albers was acquitted in December 1926 at the end of a 3 1/2-day trial.

From 1946 until 1954, according to Polk City Directories, tenants included Kellar Cigar Store, the Alaska Bar, and the Spud Bar and Billiards. Starting in 1956, the property moved to primarily retail and service uses. From 1956 to 1968, city directories list Young Town Clothing and Green’s Apparel and Women’s Clothing as the tenants. In 1970, the building became home to Pfaff Sewing Center, which it remained until 2015. Since then it has been vacant, with a condemnation notice in the window.

The Redevelopment Agency outlines the following criteria for anyone seeking to apply:

  • Commercial or community uses on the ground floor including, but not limited to retail, restaurant, service, and office uses.
  • Development of the upper floor into commercial, professional, or residential uses.
  • Addressing concerns raised in the structural engineer’s report and making the building safe and secure according to current building codes.
  • The commitment to follow the Idaho Falls Downtown Design Guidelines for
  • rehabilitation of structures.
  • The restoration of the exterior of the building.
  • Contribution to development of downtown and local employment and economy.
  • Probability of the proposed development’s success – based upon the stability and capability of the developer, demonstrated success based on past development projects undertaken by the developer, market analysis, business plan, financial strength, and timeline.
  • Ability to secure permits for construction within thirty (30) days of the closing date (to be determined).

Developer’s expectations of the Agency for the project’s success.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Land donation for event center at Snake River Landing finalized

Artist's rendering of what an Idaho Falls Events Center might look like
Idaho Falls Auditorium District (IFAD) on Thursday accepted a 22-acre land donation for the site of the Idaho Falls Event Center, a parcel within Snake River Landing. The donation was made by Ball Ventures/Snake River Landing to fulfill a commitment made in 2009 to donate land.

Construction will commence later this month on Event Center Drive, a 5-lane street designed to provide main access to the Event Center facility. Construction of the new street will be managed by Snake River Landing.

“Ball Ventures and Snake River Landing have worked side-by-side with the Idaho Falls Auditorium District in the planning and preparation of the site and required infrastructure,” says Eric Isom, Snake River Landing's chief development officer. “The completion of the land donation and the construction of Event Center Drive are the culmination of a lot of hard work by the many people involved, and show the Idaho Falls Auditorium District’s ongoing commitment to make continued progress toward completion of this wonderful project.”

“Ball Ventures is pleased to make this donation in support of the event center project,” said Cortney Liddiard, CEO of Ball Ventures. “We believe the event center will be an asset to the community and will promote additional economic development and increase the quality of life in the region.”

In 2009, during the early stages of the event center planning, the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce tasked an advisory committee with selecting the site for the future event center. Snake River Landing was selected from a number of proposals due to the high visibility of the location, convenient access to I-15, and for the ability to integrate the event center into the overall design of the mixed-use development.

“This donation is the catalyst for the road development and ultimately the event center,” said IFAD board chairwoman Terri Gazdik. “The Ball Ventures group has been instrumental in so many phases of this project.

“My wife Connie and I have always felt it is important for us to give back to the community that has given so much to our family," Ball Ventures founder Allen Ball said. "This goal has been much of the driving force behind the Snake River Landing development, and this land donation helps to accomplish this goal.”