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Eye On Boise

State Lands: ‘We will not be running a brewpub’

The recent brouhaha over operation of a mini-storage business on Idaho state endowment land is expanding today, with a report on the Boise Guardian here headlined, “Land Board to build brewpub?” about the state Lands Department advertising for a restaurant construction manager for a downtown Boise brewpub. But Kathy Opp, acting director at the Lands Department, said, “We are not going to run a brewpub.” Instead, what's going on is that a potential tenant for one of a dozen endowment-owned properties in downtown Boise, which include parking lots and commercial properties mostly leased for retail or office use, is interested in opening a restaurant.

“Our current relationships for constructing tenant improvements are all office retail,” Opp said. “So restaurants are potentially very different for that. So to construct a responsible different type of establishment for a tenant, we felt it was needed.”  The negotiations are still under way, so the department isn't releasing the name of the potential tenant or site, though the construction manager RFP listing identifies it as a one-story 1915 building at 9th and Bannock. “It's currently got some retail space in it and some vacant,” she said. “But we would not be running a brewpub. This is simply to secure tenant improvements, which every investor has to do.”

As part of the negotiations, the state, as the landlord, and the tenant would negotiate who pays for what as part of the tenant improvements. “All those are negotiated,” Opp said. “That's what investors do all the time.”

The state endowment, a land trust that benefits public schools and other state institutions like the University of Idaho, owns property in downtown Boise as a result of a land exchange conducted between 1998 and 2000, when it acquired it as part of swap involving cottage sites and forest land. Two state agencies, the Public Utilities Commission and the Endowment Fund Investment Board, rent space in endowment-owned buildings; the remaining tenants are “mostly private firms,” Opp said.

She said, “We're not doing anything that any other investor wouldn't do to try to get a tenant in their space, and we will balance any tenant improvement with the long-term return for any potential lease. Contracting for these services does provide jobs for the construction company – we're not a construction company, so it does provide private-sector jobs.” Click below for a list of all commercial property owned by the endowment in Ada County.

Idaho State Endowment, ADA County office, retail and commercial lots

Central Washington Place: 472 & 420 W. Washington
Garro Bldg: 816 W. Bannock Street
Capital Park Plaza: 300 N. 6th Street
Sherm Perry Bldg.: 9th & Bannock
Home Federal Bldg.:     800 W. State
CPP parking lot: 512 W. Bannock
6th and Washington: 590 W. Washington
211 No. 5th Street  Lot: 211 No. 5th Street
4th & Bannock Parking Lot: 4th & Bannock
Hoff Lot: 8th & Bannock
Garro Lot: 810 W. Bannock
Jefferson Lot: Jefferson & 8th Street
East Watertower: East Watertower
Affordable Self Storage: 450 S. Maplegrove
Bannock St. Parking Lot: 8th & Bannock

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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