Raise the roof: The local construction industry is hard at work these days, and the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency (IFRA) is keeping busy as well.
IFRA, a city-backed urban renewal group, invests in infrastructure needed to enhance areas and encourage development in Idaho Falls. The group's recent successes include reconstructing Lindsay Boulevard along the city’s hotel row and creating the Eagle Ridge district near Interstate 15, where several lots are now available for commercial development.
“We are also helping to oversee construction of a large SpringHill Suites hotel complex that opens in May 2017. It is along the Snake River near the city’s beautiful Taylor’s Crossing and Japanese Gardens,” says Lee Radford, IFRA chairman and attorney with Moffatt Thomas in Idaho Falls.
The IFRA is also investing in downtown Idaho Falls, with the goal of attracting more residents to the district. In 2015, the agency purchased the historic five-story Bonneville Hotel, then bought a vacant 1-acre lot at the corner of Broadway and Memorial Drive near the city’s high-traffic Riverwalk walking trail.
“We are looking for the right developer to overhaul the interior of the Bonneville Hotel and turn the building into apartments and retail shops,” Radford says. “We also want to find a developer to construct a mixed-use housing and retail project on the Broadway/Memorial Drive site, which is a prime location as an entryway to downtown.”
Great Views of the Snake River
Also making development news in Idaho Falls is Snake River Landing, a 450-acre mixed-use community made up of office, retail, restaurants and residential projects. Currently, 250,000 square feet of office space has been constructed with nearly 100 percent occupancy. There are another 35,000 square feet of retail space along with restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings, MacKenzie River Pizza and Stockman’s.
“We have 34 single-family home lots in a neighborhood called Legacy Creek with houses priced at $185,000 and up, plus a 48-unit apartment complex called Bandon River has opened solely for seniors 62 and older,” says Eric Isom, chief development officer with Ball Ventures LLC, which is managing the entire project.
Isom adds that another 228 apartments are being built, called The Falls at Snake River Landing. Also within the development is a 91-room Home2 Suites by Hilton and the campus of Stevens-Henager College.
“The community has a mile of river frontage along the Snake River as well as easy access to Interstate 15 and Yellowstone Highway. Snake River Landing is a very walkable community where residents can easily walk from their home to the office and then to a restaurant,” he says. “In addition, there are 33 acres of green space with walking and biking trails. It’s a premier community.”
Big Project in Ammon
Another major development in the Greater Idaho Falls area is in Ammon, where the Sandcreek Commons commercial project continues to pick up momentum. The development is a joint project between Ball Ventures and Salt Lake City-based Woodbury Corporation. Businesses continue to move into the complex at the busy intersection of Hitt Road and Sunnyside Road.
“That initiative kicked off in 2014 and has already attracted major retailers like Cabela’s, Hobby Lobby and Broulim’s Fresh Foods grocery store,” Isom says. “The total square footage when Sandcreek Commons is built out will be 320,000 square feet, and about 1,000 people will be employed there.”
Ammon officials estimate that Sandcreek Commons will ultimately contribute about $80 million to the local tax base, drawing customers from a large area that includes 14 counties within portions of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.