Around Idaho: Economic Activity in May 2019

Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern
Eastern Idaho

 

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Kootenai County

  • TDS Metrocom, a high-speed internet service provider, announced it will be expanding to Kootenai County over the next three years, bringing gigabit-speed internet to commercial and residential customers. The company plans to grow its Kootenai operation in stages, with initial hiring of about 30 employees before ramping up to a full scale of roughly 200 workers by the end of 2022. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Kitchen Solvers – a Wisconsin-based retailer of cabinets, flooring and tiles – has leased a new location in the Riverbend complex in Post Falls and plans to open a new franchise location to serve Kootenai County. Source: Spokane-Kootenai Journal of Business
  • Cereset, a wellness company, has opened a new franchise in Coeur d’Alene. The company uses non-invasive therapies to help patients mitigate stress and improve their sleep habits. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Two new automobile dealerships opened in Coeur d’Alene. Both Amstutz Family Auto and High Caliber Auto Sales opened used car dealerships and full-service repair shops. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The city of Post Falls announced plans to turn a former thrift store location into a recreation center, which will support community activities and classes including dancing, gymnastics and adult fitness activities. The city expects the outdoor facilities – including soccer fields and children’s spaces – to open in the fall, with the indoor facilities following in the winter. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings

  • Mountain America Credit Union in Post Falls
  • Paragon Brewing in Coeur d’Alene
  • Relax and Recover Wellness Center in Coeur d’Alene
  • Newhomes in Coeur d’Alene

Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

NORTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties

Region

  •  Idaho school districts with Forest Service land will receive nearly $6 million under temporary reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools funding designed to offset lost school revenues caused by reduced timber sales on federal lands. The Mountain View School District — covering 8,300 square miles including Grangeville, White Bird, Kooskia and Elk City — will receive more than $1 million. That will help with a $2 million budget shortfall caused by declining student numbers and a reduction in state funding. The Cottonwood and Orofino districts will receive more than $300,000 each. The payments are about half of what they received six years ago. Source: Idaho Education News
  • Several days of dry, warm weather in early May allowed the region’s farmers to get much of their spring planting done. Statewide, the percent of spring wheat planted went from 61 percent at the end of April to 87 percent in the week ending May 12, according to the National Agricultural Statistical Service. The five-year average for that week is 89 percent. The dryer weather also allowed farmers to spray, fertilize and cultivate fields that had been oversaturated. Spokane-based Northwest Farm Credit Services recently said low prices and problems caused by this spring’s exceptionally cool, rainy weather would mean slight profits for farmers in the Inland Northwest this year. Soft white wheat prices at Portland have been hovering around $5.71 to $5.90 a bushel, about the same as last May. Farmers planted fewer garbanzos this year. Their price dropped from 40 cents per 100 pounds last year to 21 cents this year partly because of tariffs in India, its biggest market. Lentils prices are staying at the same so-so level as last year. Source: Lewiston Tribune; Spokesman-Review

Clearwater County

  •  The city of Orofino secured a $300,000 Idaho Community Development and Rural Community block grant in May for expanding its business park. That expansion will allow one of its tenants, SJX Jet Boats, to double the size of its facility and remodel its existing space at the Orofino Business Park on U.S. Highway 12. That will allow the jet boat company to increase production and employment. The company expects to increase its current employment of 13 up to 25. Orofino will provide $100,000 toward the project, and SJX will invest $380,000 in specialty equipment. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Orofino Builders Supply recently opened a large warehouse store in the former Kings variety store building on Highway 12. It features a drive-in lumberyard. The former store on Michigan Avenue now is a design center. The expansion is the latest in a series of changes that turned a small hardware store into chain hardware and lumber operations in Orofino, Grangeville and Kamiah. The original hardware store opened in 1928, and four generations of Crocketts have owned and managed it and now includes stores that cater to homebuilding contractors and do-it-yourselfers. Today the four sites employ 43 people. Source: Clearwater Tribune; Lewiston Tribune
  • The North Highway District contracted with Debco Construction of Orofino to repair three road slides on Central Ridge Road. Wok began in late April and likely will continue through the first week of August. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • Tourism is increasingly important in Idaho County. A new RV park opened in May near Cottonwood Butte Road in Cottonwood. Seubert RV & Guesthouse contains a guesthouse with a kitchen and nine camping sites for recreational vehicles. Guests also can rent a large garage for indoor meals or games. Source: Cottonwood Chronicle
  • St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics in Cottonwood continues to expand its services. It is adding behavioral health consultants and a full-time dietitian. This fall, four new medical providers will join the staff. The hospital and its clinic employ nearly 200 people. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Gouge Eye Leather Co opened in Riggins in May. It features handcrafted belts, purses and other leather items. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  •  The Idaho State Board of Education in May unanimously approved a University of Idaho request to raise the approved construction cost of the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena by $5 million. The school currently has $17 million for the project expected to break ground in June with an expected completion date in September 2021. The rest of the $51 million project will be paid through bonds, student facility fees and fundraising. The engineered wood structure next to the Kibbie Dome will provide more than 4,000 seats for basketball games, a practice gym, a conference space, offices and locker rooms. The project architects — Opsis Architecture of Portland, Oregon, and Hastings Chivetta of Creve Coeur, Missouri, — plan to use as much Idaho-sourced wood as possible. The wooden roof will curve to resemble the Palouse Hill, which also will reduce its carbon footprint. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The University of Idaho plans to begin a two-year fundraising and construction project for an $8 million meat science and innovation center next to the Kibbie Dome on the Moscow campus. The new building will house Vandal Brand Meats and will replace the existing meat science building with a state-of-the-art teaching, research and retail sales center. The number of students pursuing a degree in the meat science program has doubled in the past 10 years to 50 students this year. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The Washington Legislature in May approved an infrastructure budget that included $1.63 million for extension of water and sewer lines at the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport. The $5 million project involves installing water and sewer lines to serve the site of the proposed new terminal and extending to the east side of the airport. The airport is in the process of completing a multi-million expansion of its runway. Poe Asphalt began paving the new runway in late April. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • The Washington Legislature in early May approved $923,000 for the second phase of renovations at the Asotin County (Washington) Library. The project that will probably begin this fall will create a larger area for teens with a lab for computer coding, robotics, video production and publishing. It will include an upgrade to the children’s area and create an Early Literacy Center focused on kindergarten readiness. Staff work areas will be restructured to accommodate the increase in employees and volunteers since the library opened in 1992. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Washington Legislature also approved $1.75 million for a student activity center at the Clarkston campus of Walla Walla Community College. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Asotin-Anatone School Board voted to cut programs and personnel in the next school year. The cuts eliminate the preschool program and will eliminate several positions – a fourth-grade teacher, special education teacher, music program accompanist, middle school principal and part-time employee in the food services department. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Opening

  • Idaho Memories Gift & Souvenir Shop — selling products crafted in Idaho — opened at Newberry Square in downtown Lewiston.

Kathryn.Tacke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 799-5000 ext. 3984

SOUTHWESTERN IDAHO – Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley & Washington Counties

Ada County

  • The KeyBank foundation is donating $70,000 toward You Lead Idaho!, a four-month, curriculum-based program, which provides mentorship, entrepreneurial thinking, real-world technology application and scholarships. Trailhead, co-working space in downtown Boise, is managing the program. The goal is to increase the rate of high school graduates from rural Idaho who go on to college and other secondary education experiences. The State Board of Education identifies 102 of Idaho’s 116 public school districts as “rural.” These schools do not have easy access to technology or other education materials. The program will begin in September with eight schools. Trailhead is working with Idaho Distance Learning Academy to name the participating schools. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Main2Meridian, a multi-use development, broke ground in May. The project consists of two four-story buildings with commercial space on the first floor and residential units on the top three floors. Combined, the two buildings would have 103 residential apartments — totaling about 105,000 square feet — and almost 16,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space. The proposed development includes a $565,000 payment to the city for the former city hall, the site of the new development. Construction is expected to be completed in November 2020. Source: Idaho Press
  • Leap Charities celebrated the open house for the Windy Court development, affordable housing for families. The development consists of four homes so far that include four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes made from the steel containers made in Boise. Each home rents for $843 per month, which includes electricity, water, sewer and trash. Applicants must have a household income of 30 percent or less of the area medium income ($14,800 for one person, $16,900 for a couple, $20,780 for three people, $25,100 for a family of four and $29,420 for a family of five). Preference is given to families with a member who is elderly or has a disability. Four more homes will be built on an adjacent property later. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • In 2018, one in every five new multifamily units in the Treasure Valley was built in Boise, according to the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS). Meridian issued permits for 1,303 multifamily units in 2018, twice as many as Boise. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise-based real estate company Amherst Madison has merged with Front Street Brokers. The combined brokerage will have 100 real estate agents. Source: PR Newswire
  • The Big Idaho Potato, which traveled the United States the last six years, has been replaced by a new one and the old 6-ton potato has a new life as an Airbnb rental. The 336-square-foot Big Idaho Potato Hotel is located in Orchard, an unincorporated town in Ada County 25 miles southeast of Boise. It opened for guests in May at $242 per night. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Luke’s Health Systems was named among the top 15 health systems in the country by IBM Watson Health. It is the sixth year that St. Luke’s has been listed and the only ranked health system in Idaho. The 2019 study evaluated 337 health systems and 2,961 health system member hospitals. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • UnBound, the technology-focused branch of the Meridian Library District, will be moving to the AEI Systems Group building in downtown Meridian once renovations are completed. A temporary “unBound Light” has been operating at the Cherry Lane branch since February. Voters passed a $14 million, 10-year facility levy in May, part of which will fund the renovations. Source: Meridian Press
  • The Meridian City Council in May approved Central Valley Plaza, a 77-acre development with medical, retail and office space. The development will be anchored by a medical campus with a 95,000-square-foot medical office building providing space for Saltzer Medical Group. The building will house a surgery and imaging center, freestanding emergency department and a 50-bed hospital. The medical office building will have a staff or 450 to 500 people. The new development will bring city water and sewer access to Meridian Research Park. Source: Meridian Press
  • The Red Lion Downtowner, which opened in 1960 and last remodeled in 2006, will renovate each of its 182 room as it transitions to the Delta by Marriott Downtowner. Delta, a growing hotel chain founded in Canada, was sold to Marriott four years ago. It has several dozens of hotels across Canada and 28 in the United States, but only four in the West. Ignite Hotels purchased the Richland Red Lion in Washington and the Red Lion Downtowner for $16.75 million last year. The Boise renovation will cost $10 million, between $50,000 and $55,000 per room. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Shawn Swanby, CEO of Ednetics, has purchased the historic Carnegie Library Building in Boise. The technology firm, based in Post Falls, will be main tenant in the building, using a portion of the space to anchor its operations for the western United States. The building’s original architecture firm, Hummel Architects (then called Tourtelotte & Co.), will lead the renovation. The sandstone foundation was quarried from Table Rock. A grant from Andrew Carnegie financed the building, which was Boise’s first public library. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Ednetics provides technology solutions for schools, libraries and government agencies. It was founded in 1997 and has offices in Boise, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Source: Idaho Press
  • Pioneer Crossing’s five-story office building opened in April in downtown Boise. It is the final building in Ball Ventures Ahlquist’s $65 million development. The development includes the 150-room Hilton Garden Inn, Panera Bread and a parking garage. First Interstate Bank, the U.S. Attorney’s office, IGI Resources and Pivot will be located in the new office building. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Old Town Lofts had a groundbreaking in May. The development is located in downtown Meridian and will have apartments, restaurants, shops and office space in two four-story buildings along with 108 parking spots. The first floor is for commercial tenants with residential units on the top three floors. Combined, the two buildings would have 103 residential apartment and almost 16,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space. Occupants will have access to a fitness studio, community room, bike storage, onsite parking and property management. Two apartments will be set aside for Our Path Home, a local public-private partnership to combat homelessness. The development will cost around $20 million and should be completed in 2020. Source: Idaho Press/Meridian Press
  • Albertsons was ranked 52nd in Fortune Magazine’s top 500 businesses in the United States based on revenues. The list includes both public and private companies if the revenue data is available publically. Albertsons owns chains like Safeway and Tom Thumb and had $59 billion in revenue, up 0.4 percent, and lists more than 2750,000 employees. Micron ranked 105th, its highest-ever position, rising 45 spots from the previous year. Fortune said Micron had revenues of $30.39 billion, an increase of 49.5 percent from the previous year, and has more than 36,000 employees worldwide. Another magazine, Forbes, reported Albertsons is the third-largest private company in the country. J.R. Simplot Co. was ranked 65th largest private business with more than $6 billion in revenue and 10,000 employees. Hewlett-Packard, with 1,000 to 1,200 employees in Idaho, ranked 52nd. Source: BoiseDev

Canyon County

  • Western Idaho Community Crisis Center opened April 23 in Caldwell. Lifeways Inc., a behavioral health provider, will operate the short-term mental health care facility. The center accepts patients from Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington counties. Residents will have access to 24/7 mental health services and substance abuse counseling. Patients will only be able to stay 24 hours before being referred to other relevant services or returning home. This is the sixth of seven regional centers for behavioral care in Idaho. The facility can provide services for up to 10 men and 10 women. Source: Idaho Press
  • Obendorf Farms is expanding its operations with plans to build an onion processing and storage facility in Parma. The expansion will be built on 16 acres and include a 45,000-square-foot commercial onion processing facility and 40,500 square feet of storage buildings. The farms’ onions will be stored then moved to the processing facility to be cleaned, inspected, culled, weighed, sized, graded, sorted, packaged, staged and shipped. The new facility will employ about 15 people, eventually adding 15 more when onsite administrative offices are completed. Brothers Brock and Phillip Obendorf farm 3,000 acres of hops and more than 1,000 acres of other crops, including onions, for their family operations in Wilder and Parma. Source: Idaho Press
  • American Food Equipment Company (AMFEC), a manufacturer based in Caldwell’s Blue Sky Ranch, plans to expand by 60,000 square feet. AMFEC manufactures items like grinders, blenders and tumblers for major clients in the meat, vegetable, seafood and pet food industries. The current facility occupies 75,000 square feet of the 10 acres that the company owns. The addition would be built on the remaining acreage, is expected to cost $4.5 million and bring 50 new jobs to the area. AMFEC relocated from Hayward, California, in early 2017. Since relocating to Caldwell, the company has created 108 jobs. Source: Idaho Press
  • Ball Ventures Ahlquist (BVA) has acquired Saltzer Medical Group as of April 2019 with a name change to Saltzer Health. BVA plans to open new Saltzer clinics across Treasure Valley and increase services to patients. Founded by Dr. Joseph Saltzer in 1941, the organization has grown to include physician clinics and quick-care locations in Nampa, Caldwell, Boise and Meridian. Along with a new name, Saltzer is getting a new board of physicians that will have ultimate control over operational decisions. Currently Saltzer employs about 50 doctors and providers. Saltzer anticipates hiring about 200 new employees including 50 doctors and providers. Source: Idaho Press & Idaho Business Review
  • Karcher Mall, the area’s first shopping mall, was sold to California-based Rhino Investments in May. The mail opened in 1965 and remained the largest mall until Boise Towne Square was built in 1988. Vacancy at the mall has been up and down over the past few years. Rhino plans to invest more than $30 million to redevelop the site as a multi-purpose development including an extended-stay hotel, multifamily housing and possibly an entertainment center and fitness center. Sources: Idaho Press & BoiseDev
  • Winco Fireworks LLC is working with Caldwell’s Urban Renewal Agency to build a 60,000-square-foot distribution warehouse near Sky Ranch Business Park on about eight acres of urban renewal-owned property. The warehouse would serve as a regional distribution space for Winco Fireworks – an exclusive Black Cat wholesale firework distributor. The company currently has eight warehouses across the country. The warehouse would only be used as a distribution facility and would not sell fireworks. Note: Winco Fireworks is not affiliated with WinCo Foods. Source: Idaho Press

 Gem County

  • Gem County home sales were 24 in March 2019, up 33 percent from March 2018. This left 39 new and existing/resale homes available for sale at the end of March down 4.9 percent from one year ago. Based on the rolling median data between March 2018 and March 2019, the median sales price for a home in Gem County was $204,250, an increase of 6.2 percent. The rolling 12-month median sales price gives a better idea of the overall trends due to the smaller number of transactions that occur in the county. Source: Idaho Press
  • The Gem County Zoning Commission approved plans to convert the Boise Cascade Mill property into a mixed-use facility. The 60-plus acres would be renamed Mitchel Industrial Park after a former long-time employee at the mill, according to John Wood, principal developer. The property would have a full-service RV park, a community and special events center and a Motorplex racetrack. It will take several months to complete the transformation. Source: Messenger Index
  • Students from the Payette River Regional Technical Academy (PR2TA) were among the top award winners at the SkillsUSA state conference. The conference was a showcase of career and technical education students where more than 600 competed in more than 100 hands-on contests in trade, technical and leadership fields. PR2TA students received three gold and one silver medallion. SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry dedicated to ensure America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Source: Messenger Index

 Payette County

  • Steve’s Hometown Chevrolet Buick GMC, a long-term dealership in Payette, recently broke ground on eight acres in Fruitland for a 31,000-square-foot General Motors new car dealership and service facility. When it opens in late 2019, the dealership expects to add about 10 employees to its current 35. The Payette facility is likely to be converted to a reconditioning center for used vehicles that have been accepted in trade. Source: The Argus-Observer
  • Truckstop.com is adding 22 new jobs at its Boise location ranging from cloud engineers to developers to integration specialists. The hiring and expansion follows a private equity investment in Truckstop.com by Iconiq Central Capital. The investment in Truckstop.com will enable the company to focus on updating existing products and bringing new products to market. Source: Idaho Statesman

Valley County

  • Luke’s McCall began construction on its hospital facility replacement project in early May. By the end of June, workers will reroute Hewitt Street, install a new water line, put in a new sidewalk and upgrade utilities. The plan for construction of the new 50,000-square-foot two-story structure is to complete the structure enough for interior work to take place throughout the winter. The first floor will house an expanded, modernized emergency department, laboratory, medical imaging and infusion departments. The second floor will house 15 private patient rooms, two labor rooms, three operating room suites, one procedure room, pre- and post-surgery recovery bays, inpatient pharmacy and inpatient therapy services. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Shore Lodge recently opened The Quads, a $3 million employee housing near the main lodge in McCall. It currently houses 32 lodge employees, who share eight apartments for $400 a month each. The building shares a parking lot with the former Payette National Forest headquarters that was converted to Shore Lodge dormitories and offices in 2015. The company employs about 375 people during the summer and now has about 150 beds designated for employee housing. Providing affordable and desirable housing for employees helps with recruiting. The company is considering another employee housing project to provide 10 to 20 more beds. Source: McCall Star-News

Washington County

  • Icon Credit Union will open a branch in Weiser in July inside the Ridley’s Family Market, which is currently under construction. It will be the city’s first credit union since 2015 and Icon’s ninth location. Source: Idaho Business Review, Messenger Index and Weiser Signal American

Openings

  • Fly Food Truck, specializing in chicken wings, opened in Nampa in April on Karcher Road. The owners also offer catering services.
  • Cordry’s Sushi Shack has partnered with Jacob Black’s Lost Grove Brewing. The beer bar and sushi bar is located on South Eckert in Boise.
  • Honduras Kitchen Idaho has opened on Kings Road in Nampa. The food truck offers Honduran cuisine.
  • Spin e-scooters joined Bird and Lime scooters in Boise. The 50 scooters can be rented through a phone app. The city allows only three companies to do business at one time.
  • Boise’s Main Street Deli is expanding its space and menu. It plans to open a fast-casual Italian restaurant, il Sugo, with seating for 30.
  • Wildflower Floral is moving from Bannock Street to State Street in the former Clothesline Cleaners location.
  • Tupelo Honey, a Southeast-based restaurant chain, has signed a lease to open at Main and Marketplace in downtown Boise at the former Piper Pub & Grill.
  • Texas de Brazil, a Dallas-based churrascaria chain, opened in May at The Village at Meridian.
  • Zen Bento is opening its fourth restaurant, the new one on Bogus Basin Road in Boise. Along with its normal menu, it will launch a secondary menu with options for customers who have specific dietary needs.
  • Reed Cycles of Eagle will open a storefront on Bogus Base Road in Boise this summer. It will feature a full-service garage for tune-ups and repairs, as well as a variety of bicycles and gear for sale.
  • Dapper Doughnut shop opened in May in Garden City. The Las Vegas-based chain specializes in hot mini-doughnuts made fresh to order.
  • Columbia Sportswear recently opened at The Village at Meridian.
  • Medusa Smoke Shop will soon open on Maine Avenue in Caldwell.
  • Idaho Youth Ranch recently opened a new Equestrian Center at Hands of Promise Ranch Campus on El Paso Road near Middleton.
  • V-Cut Lounge, a classic cigar lounge, will open in late summer or early fall in Nampa on 14th Avenue South.
  • Jeremy’s Downtown Arcade at 12th Avenue South in Nampa opened June 1.
  • Indian Creek Steakhouse in Caldwell has added the Indian Creek Candy Shop.
  • Fashion boutique Arrow Creek is under new ownership and at a new location in Weiser, moving inside Second Chance consignment on Highway 95. Weiser.
  • Crumbl Cookies in Meridian.
  • Antlers Boutique & Beauty, downtown Nampa.

 Closures

  • Knights of Columbus closed in Meridian. The Nampa location is still open.
  • Video Memories closed June 12, the 26th anniversary of its opening. It was the last video rental store in Boise.

Janell.Hyer@labor.idaho.gov, senior economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 332-3570 ext. 2330

SOUTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties

Blaine County

  • The Ketchum Rural Fire Protection District moved its contract from the city of Ketchum to the city of Sun Valley. This follows a breakdown in negotiations among the three entities. The contract between the city of Ketchum and the Ketchum Rural Fire Protection District dates back to 1957. With this move, the city of Ketchum loses $325,000 that funds four full-time firefighters — 36 percent of the 11 firefighters on payroll. The reduced staffing could put the city of Ketchum out of compliance with the Blaine County Ambulance District that pays the city $1.1 million annually for its services. It also could reduce its rating, another requirement of the ambulance district’s contract. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Mountain Humane’s thrift store, Barkin’ Basement, is reopening in the former Hailey Hotel building with upstairs apartments for Mountain Humane staffers. The street and sidewalk design includes bike racks, trees, planters, benches and bulb-out corners for wheeled access. The sidewalks allow storm water filtration to hydrate trees using the directed runoff. The site name on the Historic Register is the Rialto Hotel built in 1934. Investors purchased the hotel in 2018 and started renovations with the idea that there may be a contiguous Hailey town square in its future. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Renovations have started at the Balmoral Apartment Complex in Hailey, providing housing for those earning 60 percent of the county’s area median income of $58,835 or less. The renovation will affect all 192 units, but the work will occur from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to minimize disturbing the tenants. Dominium Inc., owner/manager, is investing $8 million in refurbishing the interior and exterior of the 18 buildings plus expanding the clubhouse. The majority of residents will not move out while units are under remodel – the policy is to leave each unit under construction habitable and clean every evening after 5 p.m. The apartments, originally built in 2002, house 200 students according to Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz. The remodel also includes construction of two new bus shelters, 40 additional parking spots, new site lighting and new sidewalks. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Idaho Mountain Express newspaper received 49 awards for excellence in journalism. The Idaho Press Club annually awards journalistic endeavors with the Express receiving first place in the General Excellence category, a Pinnacle Award for the highest number of winning entries among non-daily newspapers and best of state in 2018 among many categories. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Sun Valley Resort reported 426,500 skier days during the 2018-2019 season at its two hills — Bald and Dollar mountains. This is about 12 percent more than the previous year and the highest since 1996-1997 with 436,000 skier days when the economy was strong for most all socioeconomic tiers. The season was a long one —Thanksgiving to Easter — with 136 inches of snow falling in February. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Cassia County

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration awarded $25,000 to schools in the Declo/Albion area. A parent wrote the grants to support enriched science, technology, engineering and math curriculum in both the elementary and junior high schools. A coordinator and experiential programs with family involvement are a focus. Source: Times-News
  • The Cassia County Joint School District is considering whether to keep the Almo Elementary School open. The school of 10 students and several staff operates at a $21,000 deficit. An option if it closes is to transfer the students to Raft River Elementary in Albion. However, the area experiences extreme weather patterns and even when road conditions are good, it is at least a 30-minute drive in one direction. Source: Times-News

Jerome County

  • Jerome School District will be hiring three teachers and a principal for its new standalone alternative school. The school district estimates there will be about 50 students attending the school. The school is currently unnamed. Source: KMVT News
  • Jerome School District is moving forward with purchasing of 20 acres of land at $360,000 for a potential elementary school. The school enrollment averages 100 new students annually so trustees are planning for the future growth. The current enrollment is approximately 4,100 students. Source: Times-News
  • The North Rim Park has formally moved its shooting range to separate it from others using the open space. Plans are to create a designated shooting range away from the highway to avoid safety issues. Source: Times-News
  • The city of Jerome is building splash pads, an amphitheater and shelters for North Park in the middle of town. The building permit indicates the investment is around $600,000. Source: Times-News
  • The Jerome School District and the College of Southern Idaho were among recipients of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children’s Preschool the Idaho Way grant. Jerome will use its $6,000 award to fund a preschool model for the district. The award puts the district in running for another grant to implement the preschool concept. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded $500,000 toward that grant. Other organizations committed to the goal of creating a model are United Way of South Central Idaho, Lee Pesky Learning Center in Boise and CSI’s Head Start in Jerome. Idaho is one of four states in the country that does not fund public preschool options. Source: Times-News and Press Tribune

Twin Falls County

  • The Twin Falls School District announced plans to purchase a parcel of ground for a possible elementary school on the south end of Twin Falls. The school district will be purchasing 13 ½ acres using funds from a land sale and reimbursement of improvements to another school. Source: KMVT News
  • Nate Bondelid, president of Tek-Hut, Inc. was awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2019 Idaho Small Business Person of the Year Award. The company originated in Kimberly in 2001, expanding with its first warehouse in Twin Falls in 2004. It has grown to be the largest internet provider for schools in the state. Tek-Hut provides IT solutions to 72 school districts in Idaho and more than 200 districts nationally. Source: Times-News
  • Twin Falls County Commissioners granted a property tax exemption to Lamb Weston based on its $41 million worth of modernizations to its plant. Factors contributing to the exemption include saving 57 jobs, an average wage for its 589 hourly positions of $47,630, average annual salary for its 61 salaried positions of $79,300 and its long-time loyalty to the community, operating for more than 50 years. Source: Times-News

Openings

  • Precision Aviation completed its new hangar at the Jerome County Airport. The company recently relocated from Twin Falls to Jerome. It broke ground on a new maintenance hangar, which is still under construction. The company hosted a Jerome 20/20 economic development luncheon. Source: Times-News
  • A Carl’s Jr. fast-food restaurant will open this September in Jerome replacing a former Sonic Drive-In. Source: Times-News
  • Jack in the Box will construct a fast-food restaurant for an estimated $227,000 in Jerome. The owner is Feast Foods LLC. Source: Times-News

Closures

  • KJ’s Pharmacy in Twin Falls closed its doors citing financial issues.
  • Shopko closed its store in Twin Falls along with Chubbuck, Nampa, two in Boise and one in Bonners Ferry.
  • Popeye’s Chicken in Twin Falls.

Jan.Roeser@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

SOUTHEASTERN IDAHO – Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida & Power counties

Region

  • A total of 2,553 graduates received 2,714 degrees and certificates at Idaho State University this spring, and 159 students received multiple certificates and/or degrees. The breakdown of graduates includes 38 Doctor of Philosophy degrees, 11 Doctor of Education degrees, four Doctor of Arts degrees, six Doctor of Audiology degrees, 14 Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees, 25 Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees, 78 Doctor of Pharmacy degrees, 11 Educational Specialist degrees, 508 master’s degrees, 53 academic certificates, 1,259 bachelor’s degrees, 472 associate degrees and 235 certificates from the College of Technology. Source: Idaho State University
  • Idaho State University announced a $4 million renovation project for Davis Field, the school’s soccer and outdoor track and field venue. ISU officials hope that the multimillion-dollar renovation project for Davis Field will give the historic facility new life and make it a key part of the university’s future success. The field is noted for its status as the first place in the U.S. where a college football game was broadcast live. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bannock County

  • Last month marked the official groundbreaking of Idaho’s first and only Gold Star Monument, which honors the families of servicemen and women who died while serving in the military. The monument’s future location will be on the Northgate development. Source: KPVI
  • Voters living in the Portneuf Library District rejected an $11.645 million construction bond for a new library. The district proposed to build a 32,000-square-foot library with community rooms and many other amenities designed to make the building a multipurpose public gathering place. It would have been located near a new city hall and replace the 11,920-square foot current library, located at 5210 Stuart Ave. Officials anticipate the district will eventually return with a similar bond proposal. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho Central Credit Union has bought 1.58 acres of property in the planned Northgate development, though specific plans for the property are yet to be announced. ICCU currently has four branches within 25 miles of Pocatello as well as a number of back office facilities, such as a data center that will hold more than 380 desks at its headquarters in Chubbuck. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Eagle-based Alturas Capital recently acquired a 78,000-square-foot office complex in Chubbuck that is fully occupied by an Allstate Insurance Company contact center. Since 2009, the firm has made investments valued at over $250 million throughout several markets in the western U.S. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • In a move billed as necessary for the planned commercial and residential development of the Northgate area to become a reality, the Pocatello City Council voted to establish a tax increment financing (TIF) district for that section of northeast Pocatello. The Northgate TIF district will include 1,800 acres of land and will freeze property tax values on that land for the general tax rolls at pre-development levels. Any additional property taxes resulting from residential and commercial development inside the district — called an increment — will be diverted from the general tax rolls to an urban renewal Northgate TIF district fund and will be used to cover Northgate’s significant infrastructure costs. The TIF district funds will reimburse the developers for their public infrastructure investments over the course of 20 years. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bear Lake County

  • Voters within Bear Lake County School District 33 passed a $650,000 supplemental levy for each of the next two years. The funds will support “all lawful expenses of maintaining and operating the schools.” The district has a long history of supporting the supplemental levy, according to officials with the Bear Lake County Clerk’s Office. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The city of Georgetown passed a $410,000 revenue bond toward making improvements to its water treatment and distribution system. The city will also contribute $200,000 toward the project. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bingham County

  • Hospital administrators in Blackfoot are excited to begin construction on the new $35 million Syringa Chalet Nursing Facility at State Hospital South in Blackfoot. Construction should be finished by July 2020. The 57,000-square-foot building will occupy the courtyard next to the old nursing facility and expand into the parking lot. Source: KIDK​
  • Work on the Snake River School District’s $1.4 million sewer project started in April and is progressing. The sewer line will carry effluent from the junior and senior high schools to the city of Blackfoot’s wastewater treatment plant along State Highway 39. Money for the pipeline is coming from a 10-year $750,000 plant facilities levy passed by the district’s patrons in 2018. Payments on the sewer line will take $150,000 per year from the levy until the debt is paid off. Source: Bingham County Chronicle

Franklin County

  • The proposed expansion and remodel of the Franklin County Courthouse nearly doubles the size of the facility. It also upgrades to code the 80-year-old building’s utilities and ability to function for modern day use. County commissioners plan to educate voters and be transparent in their efforts before the election in November, offering county residents the opportunity to vote on the $2.9 million bond. Source: Preston Citizen

Openings

  • Rails West Federal Credit Union branch in Pocatello.
  • The Powerhouse, a cycling studio in Pocatello.
  • Teton House, a restaurant in Blackfoot.
  • Yellowstone Helicopters in Blackfoot.
  • Creative Kreations in Blackfoot.

Closures

  • Shopko in Pine Ridge Mall.
  • Bernett Research in Pocatello.

Esther.Eke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

EASTERN IDAHO – Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison & Teton counties

Bonneville County

  • Costco is coming to Idaho Falls. The store, which will include a retail warehouse and gas station, will be located on a nearly 18-acre parcel at the northwest corner of East Lincoln Road and Hitt Road. The city annexed the land last year. Construction will begin in September and the store is expected to open in August 2020. Source: Post Register
  • Property at 1240 Lindsay Blvd. in Idaho Falls is being developed into a 20,265-square-foot Smart Foodservice Warehouse Store. Until recently the chain was known as Cash&Carry Smart Foodservice. The site plan was approved in December. Permits for foundation, plumbing, mechanical and electrical have been submitted. The job value is estimated at $2.4 million. Source: East Idaho News
  • Tru by Hilton will open next month in Idaho Falls. Located at 680 Lindsay Blvd., the hotel is owned by B&T Hotels IV LLC, which also own the Hilton Garden Inn next door and the Home2 Suites by Hilton at Snake River Landing. The first day of business will be June 4. Source: East Idaho News
  • The addition of a 20,000 square foot expansion of the Museum of Idaho is on track for completion in July. The expansion will house traveling exhibits and includes space for educational programming, a new store, lobby and a basement for storage. The expansion will also move the location of the museum’s main entrance and include an outside patio and sitting area. When completed, the new expansion will make the Museum of Idaho the largest science and history museum in the state. Source East Idaho News

Custer County

  • A $500,000 grant and a $649,000 set-aside by fire district commissioners will fund a new Challis fire station. The 100-foot by 100-foot-steel building has a $1,174,000 price tag. Construction is expected to begin in 2020. Source: Challis Messenger

Jefferson County

  • The Jefferson Joint School District No. 251 Board of Trustees and Midway students broke ground on the school’s additional classrooms. The elementary school will have six additional classrooms and a new gymnasium by the start of the 2020 school year. Upgrades include a new fire alarm system, new windows and lighting upgrades. Harwood Elementary will also get a new fire alarm system, new windows, lighting upgrades, a safety front entry/office space and a multi-purpose room/gym for school and community use, along with eight additional classrooms. The combined cost between the two schools was estimated to be $15 million.​ Source: Jefferson Star

Openings

  • Boba Luv, a new boba teashop, in Rexburg.
  • Soda Vine in St Anthony.
  • HomeSmart Premier Realty in Idaho Falls.

Closures

  • Targhee Regional Public Transit Authority in Idaho Falls.
  • Mickelsen’s Home Center in Rexburg.

Esther.Eke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

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