Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Surprise! Green Light for Henry's ... New Life for Whole Foods

Posted By on Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 2:05 PM

There was a little more love at Boise City Hall on Nov. 1, as the city's Planning & Zoning Commission gave the green light to developers of a new specialty market and, in a big surprise, asked developers of a proposed Whole Foods market to return to a future meeting, keeping their hopes alive.

On Oct. 4, P&Z Commissioners voted 5-2 to deny Schlosser Development's request to rezone the parcel of land on Broadway bordered by Front and Myrtle streets, in order to build a new Whole Foods market. The vote came in the wake of a stinging recommendation from the Capital City Development Corp. to deny the request.

Proposed Whole Foods Market

What a difference a month makes. Monday night, commissioners voted on a formality to accept a staff report affirming the earlier decision. But then the meeting took a sharp turn. Commissioner Jennifer Stevens asked a what she thought was a rhetorical question to staff member Cody Riddle.

"At what point does this venture into a possibility of a new application?" asked Stevens.

"It's a gray area," responded Riddle.

"Have we even been presented with a new application?" asked Commission Chairman Doug Russell.

"We've been asked to consider some new exceptions which could lead to a possible reapplication," said Riddle.

All of the commissioners sat up in their chairs. Commissioner Lauren McLean jumped in.

"Mister Chairman," said McLean. "I'd like to make a motion to ask developers to return to this Commission for reconsideration for their project. Not to reconsider the rezone application. But to consider possible variances for their original plan."

The commission voted unanimously to approve the motion.

"We're very pleased," Brad Schlosser, Pres. of Schlosser Development told Citydesk immediately after the vote. "We've actually had several positive meetings with staff over the last few weeks."

Schlosser said he's already planning to make a new presentation at the Monday, Dec. 6 meeting of P&Z.

As if the Whole Foods story wasn't big enough, four hours later the commission voted to green light the construction a new Henry's Farmers Market on downtown Boise's westside. The market would inhabit the block bordered by 15th, 16th, Bannock and Idaho streets.

Once again, the CCDC opposed the project, asking for developers to reposition the market's entrance and design. This time, the recommendation didn't sway the commission.

After testimony from a number of westside neighbors, all positive, commissioners debated some of the exceptions that developer Rudy Kadlub of Persimmon II had requested, including more parking spaces.

In the end, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the construction permit with a handful of conditions, including a bike lane along Bannock to ensure an east-west bike arterial.

"We're very, very pleased," Kadlub told Citydesk after the late night vote. "Our design team worked very well with the city's staff to come up with appropriate solutions and apparently the commission was satisfied."

For the first time, Kadlub unveiled the plans for the proposed market, which would include a plaza setting just outside the market. Inside, Henry's design is unlike traditional markets.

Proposed Henrys Farmers Market
  • Persimmon II
  • Proposed Henry's Farmers Market

"It's much more open," said Kadlub. "The centerpiece of our store is a large area of fresh produce. It's definitely not a big box."

Kadblub said he would be back in front of Boise's design review committee next week.

"If all of our plans get finalized, we could break ground before the end of the year, and we can deliver a building to Henrys next summer," said Kadlub.

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