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Sunday, February 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Otter announces plan to purchase HP campus for state office space, Hill calls it ‘great deal for Idaho’

Gov. Butch Otter says the state is seeking approval to negotiate the purchase of the HP Boise campus, the West Boise high-tech campus that formerly housed thousands of Hewlett-Packard Corp. workers, as “a new home for the Idaho State Tax Commission and several other state agencies.”

“The unexpected and expeditious need to locate space for the Tax Commission has led us toward considering a permanent solution,” said Bob Geddes, director of the state Department of Administration, in a statement. “Relocating large agencies such as the Tax Commission is very expensive and the disruption in service is inconvenient for our taxpayers. While researching options it made sense at the same time to anticipate the imminent needs of other state agencies leasing space in the area.”

The state now leases more than 800,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Ada County at an annual cost of $12.2 million, Geddes said.

The HP property is almost 200 acres and includes eight buildings with approximately 1,346,000 square feet of office space and 200,000 square feet of warehouse space, according to Otter’s news release. The purchase price is estimated at $110 million and an additional $16 million is included in the bond estimate for building renovations, for a total investment of $126 million.

The governor’s office said the state issued a request for proposals in October for state office space, and received 46 responses.

“This opportunity for an agreement with a valued business leader will benefit both parties and addresses a pressing need for the state of Idaho,” Otter said. “We’ve been looking hard for the right place at the right price for our agencies, and the HP campus really fits the bill. A great employer is reinforcing its commitment to Idaho and the state is saving money, so it’s a win-win.”

As part of the proposed purchase and sale agreement, HP would lease back over half the office space in the complex for an initial seven-year term. The state also would assume third-party leases with other entities already located on the campus. Initially, the state would use 152,000 square feet of office space at the West Boise location, increasing to 366,000 square feet in 2020 as those other third-party leases expire.

The move would require legislation; both House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill spoke out in favor of it. “This provides the state of Idaho with a long-term solution to our Boise-area facility needs at a reasonable price,” Bedke said. “It’s a sound and responsible investment that will help us maintain our commitment to living within the people’s means.”

Hill said, “With business booming, lease rates in the Boise area are rising, and new construction would cost taxpayers twice as much as this plan. The numbers don’t lie: This is a great deal for Idaho.”

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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