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Boise Considers Unique Land Swap: Parcel West of Downtown in Exchange for Spaulding Ranch

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- Three parcels of land, west of Boise's downtown, total approximately 6.5 acres. -  - CITY OF BOISE
  • City of Boise
  • Three parcels of land, west of Boise's downtown, total approximately 6.5 acres.


A single item on Tuesday evening's agenda for the Boise City Council could have some rather significant results. City lawmakers will be asked to approve a unique real estate exchange agreement that would swap approximately 6.5 acres of city-owned, underutilized land bordered by Whitewater Park Boulevard, Fairview Avenue, Main and 27th streets for nearly 20 acres of land known as the Spaulding Ranch, near the north end of Cole Road, once an historic farmstead and now owned by developers LocalConstruct.

City officials tell Boise Weekly Tuesday's request will ask the council to approve an agreement that would trigger a full assessment and environmental survey of the city land off Whitewater Boulevard. State of Idaho law requires that any land swap involving an Idaho municipality to have an approximate assessment of land values. The 20 acres at Spaulding Ranch have already been assessed to have a value of approximately $287,000.

If the swap is completed, LocalConstruct has indicated it wants to bring affordable housing to the land parcel off Whitewater Boulevard, just west of Downtown Boise. And if the city is successful in obtaining the Spaulding Ranch property, officials say they're interested in keeping the homestead as an open space while developing public walkways and an "urban farm" experience.

The agreement holds a 30-day window for assessments to be completed, but either party can back out of the deal within that time frame. 

According to Preservation Idaho's website the Spaulding Ranch, built in 1896 by Almon and Mary Spaulding, had been "threatened with subdivision and development for tract housing." And indeed, different developers had unsuccessfully proposed different housing tracts, including several plans from Northside Management. Neighbors and preservationists pushed back hard against the ideas. The land's new developers, LocalConstruct, however have expressed greater interest in bringing new housing closer to Boise's downtown core.

The Spaulding Ranch, near N. Cole Road, includes 20 acres of irrigated pasture. - PRESERVATION IDAHO
  • Preservation Idaho
  • The Spaulding Ranch, near N. Cole Road, includes 20 acres of irrigated pasture.