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Hawks to Pursue Downtown Boise Site for Ballpark

Proposed Boise Hawks ballpark

With an application set to be submitted to the city, the Boise Hawks (Short Season A; Northwest League) are stepping up their pursuit of a downtown site for a new ballpark. 

In their effort to build a replacement for Memorial Stadium, the Hawks have been linked to a downtown site on the southeast corner of Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive. Last year, Greenstone Properties–owned by Hawks co-owner Chris Schoen–reached terms with St. Luke’s Health System on the 11-acre property, making it the focal point of new ballpark discussions. However, late last year, an alternative surfaced. That plan called for College of Western Idaho (CWI) to move into a former Kmart located at Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive, while opening up a site on the city’s west end for a new ballpark.

That raised some questions about what the Hawks would pursue, but discussions of the downtown site appear to be moving forward. Greenstone will submit an application to rezone five parcels for the ballpark and surrounding development, and a neighborhood meeting will take place at the site next week. More from The Idaho Statesman:

Greenstone “will be submitting an application to the city of Boise…for the development of a mixed-use commercial, retail and residential development, which will include the multi-purpose Boise Sports Park,” the letter to neighbors reads.

The meeting is scheduled from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17 in the parking lot of the property of the former Kmart store now owned by St. Luke’s Health System at 688 S. Americana Blvd. Boise law requires neighborhood meetings for most major land-use projects before applications are filed.

The project and the proposal to pay for it stirred controversy. Opponents accused local governments, particularly Mayor David Bieter’s office, of working behind closed doors to seal the deal without public input and characterized the project as a boondoggle that would make out-of-towners rich and Boise a worse place to live.

Proponents denied any inappropriate negotiations, and the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office found no evidence of such conduct.

Even if this application is approved by the Boise City Council, additional steps will be needed, as other elements of the proposal would still have to discussed. Under the financial framework for the estimated $40-million ballpark, Greenstone would provide $1 million in cash and donate four acres of land, with the city chipping in $3 million, the Greater Boise Auditorium District contributing $5 million, and the rest covered by a 20-year bond borrowed by Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC), the city’s urban renewal agency. Greenstone would be expected to add at least $60 million in development surrounding the ballpark, with property taxes from the development and annual ballpark rent payments covering the CCDC’s debt.

Along with the Hawks games, the venue would be used for a variety of other events, perhaps including a including professional soccer club in the USL. MLS’s Portland Timbers has been reported in the past as a possible parent club.

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