TWIN FALLS — The Urban Renewal Agency is running out of patience with a development company that proposed a $5 million building at the former site of the Idaho Youth Ranch.
Summit Creek Capital, of Ketchum, had sought to construct a multi-use building at the corner of Main Avenue South and Hansen Street South. The URA-owned property would have been sold to the developer for $100 and the agency agreed to demolish the Youth Ranch building and pay about $850,000 toward an adjacent parking structure.
But while the URA board voted to begin negotiating with Summit Creek Capital last April, no final agreement has come to fruition. After 10 months of waiting, the agency could be ready to move on.
“Now we’re just sort of concerned about the general financing and timing of it,” Twin Falls URA Executive Director Nathan Murray told the Times-News.
The URA has asked Summit Creek Capital to provide a project timeline and more financial details, but the company has failed to do so, he said. Furthermore, the proposed parking structure would cost the agency upwards of $2 million, Murray said — much more than the URA had bargained for.
“It’s not something the URA was entirely against, but we’re not super excited about it,” Murray said. “That was more than we were willing to spend for a $6 million investment on site.”
Summit Creek Capital had told the URA it could do the build for cheaper, but a lower bid has yet to be seen, Murray said.
At its monthly meeting Monday, the URA board will consider a repeal to the proposal to develop the property. If Summit Creek Capital cannot show by then that it has adequate financing and a reasonable time frame for project completion, Murray would like the board to consider other options.
“We kind of want some assurance he’s going to move forward sooner rather than later,” Murray said.
Summit Creek Capital Managing Director Tyler Davis-Jeffers told the Times-News on Friday that the federal government shutdown delayed his ability to secure financing. The company had applied for a New Market Tax Credit through Montana-based MoFi. The tax credit is available for projects that revitalize certain communities.
But the winter shutdown pushed his approval time frame from late January to likely April, Davis-Jeffers said. The company is developing a contingency plan, which may include changing the building’s design to include some for-sale residential units inside.
“We’re just trying to mitigate the risk from factors we can’t control,” Davis-Jeffers said.
Summit Creek Capital’s building was initially proposed to house a retailer, two dozen apartments and a business office for 50 employees.
As for the parking structure, Davis-Jeffers will provide the URA with an updated cost estimate on Monday.
“We’re still kind of compiling our materials for the presentation,” he said.
The URA has other proposals to consider if it decides to end negotiations with Summit Creek Capital. Last year, the board favored Summit Creek Capital’s proposed investment over a $2 million project that would have remodeled the building into apartments and retail. That developer is still interested, as are others that have since reached out, Murray said.
The URA bought the building at 160 Main Ave. S. in early 2018 for a purchase price of $470,000. The Idaho Youth Ranch had been trying to sell the property for some time. The URA then sought proposals from developers that would bring more economic investment and housing to downtown — at a prime spot across the street from the newly remodeled City Hall and the Downtown Commons.
According to historical data from city’s Historic Preservation Commission, the building was constructed in 1905 as Allen Mercantile Co. and later renamed the Idaho Department Store. Its top floor served as the county courthouse from 1907 to 1910.
Engineers and real estate agents who toured the building last year have commented that the structure was decaying and likely couldn’t withstand the modifications required for an attractive project.
The URA has a lengthy agenda for Monday’s meeting, which begins at noon in Council Chambers at City Hall, 203 Main Ave. E. The possible repeal of Summit Creek Capital’s proposal is one of the last items on the list. Also at the meeting, the URA will:
- Receive the executive director’s report.
- Consider approving the FY 2018 audited financial statements.
- Hear and consider a request for public comment on the 2018 Annual Report, and consider a request to approve Resolution 2019-02 authorizing the filing of the 2018 Annual Report for the Urban Renewal Agency of the City of Twin Falls.
- Consider a request to approve the Economic Feasibility Study and Eligibility Reports with regards to a potential revenue allocation area on Washington Street South.
- Consider a request to approve a memorandum of understanding between the URA and the city to execute design contracts for development near Washington Street South and Park Avenue.