Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Is it too Late to Improve on the Nursing Home in the Boise Project?

Now we come to the more difficult part of the Boise Redevelopment project. Tomorrow, Thursday the 13th, the Downtown Advisory Board will consider the funding mechanism supposedly necessary for the proposed nursing home on the north block of the Boise Cascade property.

Proposed Marquis Care Facility on Boise Site
In the City's report on the purchase agreement for the park parcel, provisions for the nursing home appear to be enumerated among the deal's contingencies.

Project Bond approval as a contingency for the deal
In the contract itself, paragraph 6.3 on the project bond says,
If Seller is unable to obtain approval of the project bond on terms deemed adequate by Seller, then Seller may, on written notice to Purchaser [the City] terminate this Agreement and it shall be null and void for all purposes.
I'm not sure that's exactly a threat, but it certainly is an exit opportunity for the developer. And it looks like it will be very difficult to maneuver to a "no" on the nursing home while keeping the framework with the other elements intact.

So on Thursday the Downtown Advisory Board will almost certainly approve the project bond more as a formality than as an actual item of debate and consideration. It looks like a done deal. The meeting packet significantly has no additional information on the project bond - so it's not possible to comment on its terms, on what the implications of adding the new "objective to encourage the development of buildings that provide medical/professional employment opportunities and services to downtown," or adding "Retail-Sales and Services, SWMU zone to the plan" or anything else.

The DAB agenda on the nursing home
There's a circularity here: If you know what the deal is, it all makes sense. If you don't already know, you won't learn.

(The Planning Commission back on  March 19th, 2013, decided that "Post-acute rehabilitation falls within the scope of Retail Sales and Servie - Personal Service Oriented use, and is permitted within the South Waterfront Mixed-Use (SWMU) zone..." so this must be related!)

One thing that is interesting, but I have no idea why it's arranged this way, and don't know really if this is an important instance of the gerrymander or not, but not all of the north parcel is actually in the Riverfront-Downtown Urban Renewal Area!

The conference center is gerrymandered into the URA (in brown)
and only the northern triangle of the Boise project is included.
The bulk of it, including the other half of the north block, is in yellow.
An old alignment of Trade Street splits the Boise project into a triangle that's in the Riverfront-Downtown URA, and the rest of it is in the South Waterfront URA. Presumably there's not as much (if any) tax increment money available in the South Waterfront section, so that's got to be a factor in the siting and contingency on the nursing home. It looks like the south wall of the proposed building abuts the boundary of the URA.

Nursing home on the north block
wedged in on Riverfront-Downtown land for the project bond it seems
If sweetener in the form of tax abatements and other subsidies seemed appropriate for the residential part of this development, the nursing home is the part of the deal that just seems unattractive and more prone to deadness than vibrancy. (Others have addressed this at length!)

Even the SJ says: Too many backroom deals!
Though they are unlikely to, the terms of this component of the deal should get more public air time. If nothing else, the schedule for the path along Pringle Creek should be moved up so it's not the last thing to be completed!

If you'd like to comment on the appropriateness of a nursing home at the Boise project, you can email city staff here.

The Downtown Advisory Board is the citizen advisory board for the Riverfront Downtown URA.The Board's recommendation is a prelude to the anticipated vote by the Urban Renewal Agency at the Council/URA meeting on March 24th.

The Board meets Thursday, March 13th, from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm in the Kalapuya Conference Room, 295 Church Street, Ste 200.

(For all notes about the Boise project, see here.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The DAB meeting was cancelled and rescheduled for next week.