Chipotle, Panda Express, Starbucks to Join Trader Joe's in Downtown Boise 

Erstad Architects and Hawkins Companies (the developer) will need to stand before the Boise Design Review Committee on Wednesday, Aug. 14 to get approval for a sign variance for the new restaurants.

The final pieces of the puzzle of what will accompany Trader Joe's at the the corner of Boise's Capitol Boulevard and Front Street have fallen into place.

Boise Weekly first told you in December 2012 that Trader Joe's, the iconic home of Two Buck Chuck, would soon occupy the 1.4-acre parking lot, framed by Capitol Boulevard, Front, Sixth and Broad streets, along with three other retailers. More than three months later, it was finally confirmed by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.

Now, we can tell you that the other three merchants in the retail square—which is quickly being constructed—will be Chipotle, Panda Express and Starbucks.

But the new eateries require very specific signage, per their corporate rules, and the current Capitol Boulevard sign standards don't accommodate those huge signs.

That's why Erstad Architects and Hawkins Companies (the developer) will need to stand before the Boise Design Review Committee on Wednesday, Aug. 14 to get approval for a sign variance for the new restaurants.

When BW first printed our story (BW, News, "Can You Keep a Secret?" Dec. 5, 2012), more than a few naysayers--and yes, that included other media outlets--pushed back, saying their sources were telling them otherwise. Things got more interesting when the following week (BW, News, "Can You Still Keep a Secret?" Dec. 12, 2012), we reported that Trader Joe's had secured, through the Idaho Secretary of State's Office, incorporation to do business in Idaho.

Architectural renderings followed, triggering a Boise Planning and Zoning hearing, where commissioners approved designs for a new retail development at Capitol Boulevard and Front Street. But everyone was still tight-lipped.

That is, until March 21, when Mayor Dave Bieter, anxious to share some good news with a gathering of the Boise Young Professionals, said Trader Joe's was indeed coming to Boise.

"That's a done deal," Bieter told an appreciative audience.

Bieter's spokesman, Adam Park, told BW that city officials had reached out to Trader Joe's numerous times over the years.

"But we were usually told that Boise was probably too far away from their supply corridor," said Park. "But when they opened a store in Bend, Ore., we were encouraged. We knew this was something people were anxious to see, and now, it's a reality."

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