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Plaza Acquisition Could Lead to Boise Backing New Ballpark

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With their decision to acquire a downtown plaza, Boise officials may have moved closer to backing a new West End ballpark for the Boise Hawks (Short Season A; Northwest League). 

In an action taken on Tuesday, the Boise City Council reaffirmed its decision to acquire The Grove Plaza–a public gathering space in downtown–from the Capital City Development Corp (CCDC). Under the terms of the agreement, the city’s proceeds from any future sale of the plaza must go toward a new ballpark project located in an urban renewal district.

That would fit the current vision for a new Hawks’ ballpark. Greenstone Properties–where Hawks co-owner Chris Schoen is a partner–is currently negotiating the purchase of a site on the city’s West End, which would be used to construct a new ballpark as part of a larger development initiative. While there is still work to be done to make that vision a reality, the action by the council provides a potential road map for city backing of a new ballpark project. More from the Idaho Statesman:

The council agreed to a deal with Capital City Development Corp., the city’s urban renewal agency and former owner of the property. A provision in the agreement requires Boise, if it sells The Grove, to use the proceeds to design, build or buy a stadium in an urban renewal district.

That would fit developer Chris Schoen’s proposal to build a stadium between Main Street, Whitewater Park Boulevard, Fairview Avenue and 27th Street. Schoen has been in negotiations with Downtown housing developer LocalConstruct to acquire some of that property.

Much of the West End, including the LocalConstruct lot, is inside Boise’s newest urban renewal district, scheduled to expire in 2033. Property taxes from residential or commercial development, some of which Schoen would build, near the stadium would help pay off a CCDC loan for the stadium’s construction.

The city is not obligated under the terms of its purchase to sell The Grove Plaza. Should it choose to do so, it would have to sell the space to another government entity.

Schoen and Jeff Eiseman co-own the Hawks through Agon Sports & Entertainment, and the pair is behind SRP Park–the North Augusta, SC home of the Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) and winner of our 2018 Ballpark of the Year Award. SRP Park is a ballpark positioned as the anchor of a larger development concept, while the proposed Hawks ballpark has been floated as the centerpiece of new development. In addition, it would be designed to host multiple types of events, including professional soccer.

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