Can You Keep a Secret?

Welcome to the game show: Name That Store

| December 05, 2012

Nobody's talking -- at least on the record -- but private developers and public planners have been asked to sign confidentiality agreements, triggering Boise's newest guessing game: Which store has its eye on a prime parcel of Boise real estate?

Here's a hint. The leading contender's initials are: T.J. Oh, heck, it's Trader Joe's.

Soon after Boise Weekly first broke the story (BW, News, "Retail Square Proposed," Nov. 28, 2012) that architects have crafted plans to turn a 1.7-acre parking lot, framed by Capitol Boulevard, Front, Sixth and Broad streets, into a square of four retailers, city officials and developers quickly closed ranks and didn't offer any details.

"I'm not trying to be coy, but I do have confidentiality on this," Scott Schoenner, partner at Ranelli Rafanelli and Nahas Real Estate, owners of the land, told BW. "A developer made us an offer, which we accepted, and we're going through the due diligence now."

Developers have a Wednesday, Dec. 12, date with the Boise Design Review Committee in hopes of securing a conditional use permit for the property.

"We totally welcome this," said Cece Gassner, economic development assistant to Mayor Dave Bieter, who pointed to the recent evolution of the Front Street corridor from BODO to the newly opened Whole Foods Store on Broadway Avenue.

"That's an area that is truly ripe for development," Gassner said. "There are so many interesting parcels there and this is one of them. It's a gateway to the downtown, as well as that whole corridor leading down to Broadway. Anytime you see a parcel like that being developed, if lifts up the whole area."

But Gassner wasn't confirming any talk about Trader Joe's either. She did confirm that developers had already visited City Hall with nondisclosure forms in hand.

Developers also visited Anthony Lyons, executive director of the Capital City Development Corporation, but he said it wasn't his practice to sign any nondisclosures.

"So, they wouldn't tell me who the tenant was or wasn't. But I've got a pretty good sense of these things," Lyons told BW.

The developers' proposed blueprint for the largest of the four retail buildings -- approximately 13,060 square feet -- looks extremely familiar to anyone who has ever visited a Trader Joe's, the specialty grocer that has more than 350 stores in nine states, offering gourmet foods and its iconic Three Buck Chuck wine. The Boise designs reveal aisles, check-outs and huge coolers similar to the Trader Joe's footprint.

"Oh Lord: Please bring Trader Joe's to Boise. Whole Foods needs a plain but honest friend," tweeted a Boise woman at the @TraderJoesBoise Twitter account. Not to be undone, the Bring Trader Joe's to Boise Facebook page currently boasts more than 4,600 "likes."

"The developers have a site plan, and that plan is based on the tenants that the developers see going into those buildings," said Lyons. "If the city approves those plans, I would imagine that they would announce their tenants pretty soon after that."

That is, if everyone involved can still keep a secret.

The proposed square of retail operations for the parcel of land at Capitol Boulevard and Front Streets would be anchored by 13,060-square-foot store with a familiar footprint.
The proposed square of retail operations for the parcel of land at Capitol Boulevard and Front Streets would be anchored by 13,060-square-foot store with a familiar footprint.


Comments (20)

Showing 1-20 of 20

I was just fired from the City of Boise for refusing to sign a confidentiality agreement, the company is indeed Trader Joe's.

report 11 likes, 7 dislikes   
Posted by ballsymcgee on 12/05/2012 at 10:26 AM

I am calling bullshit on Ballsy.

report 21 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Justin Boggs on 12/05/2012 at 12:34 PM

Bye bye Co-op. After years of being treated so poorly by the staff of there I'm happy to have places like Whole Foods to shop at where the staff is truly friendly and happy.

report 17 likes, 8 dislikes   
Posted by bms on 12/05/2012 at 2:52 PM

I love Trader Joe's so much! Horrible place for that type of store though. There's already no parking in downtown! Also, just a thought, what about people in the rest of the valley who don't want to have to go all the way into downtown Boise? I don't shop at Whole Foods or the Co-op, not only because they're so over priced it's not funny, but because they's so far into town.

report 9 likes, 29 dislikes   
Posted by Melissa Curtis Transtrum on 12/05/2012 at 4:46 PM

Hey have all the restaurants on your side of town. Stop complaining. We need vitality in our downtown. These stores provide some of that.

report 22 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by JLA on 12/05/2012 at 5:26 PM

The Co-Op isn't going anywhere...they cater to a certain kind of demographic (green and granola) and the yuppies in the valley aren't finding their niche there. Range Rovers just don't belong in the parking lot. Wholepaycheck Foods is more up people's alley where tomatoes are available at $4/lb and snobs can proudly announce that they shop there...which really makes the statement that you like to spend too much money for organic products you can get elsewhere for a MUCH better price.

So looking forward to Trader Joe's.

report 8 likes, 4 dislikes   
Posted by ChrisD on 12/05/2012 at 5:59 PM

I think I just won a bet.

report 2 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by ladufurrena on 12/05/2012 at 8:08 PM

@ChrisD yeah, I remember what a bargain I always got at the Co-Op

report 1 like, 0 dislikes   
Posted by idaholady on 12/05/2012 at 8:19 PM

I think it's Trader Joes. They just opened one is SLC and when I was in Bend in September the manager told me that they were going to open here.

report 4 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by yesiknow on 12/05/2012 at 8:52 PM

I was wondering when this development was proposed why the P&Z board would even consider this development where it is. And I came to the conclusion that only a retailer with the leverage of a Trader Joe's could be the reason. Also, inevitably the leaks are starting to get out... it's a TJ's! Excited. Two buck chuck and some Trader Giotto's Vodka Sauce. WFM and TJs... The Co-op and Fred Meyer are so over!

report 2 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Blahoiven on 12/06/2012 at 2:47 AM

There's going to be adjustments, but I don't think it's the end of anything... The Co-op will survive, and with the right adjustments should be fine. They have a great location in the North End and will not be forgotten.
TJ's will be nice, I wouldn't be surprised if they open another pretty soon out in Meridian...
I'm glad for the competition, it's making them all be better.

report 5 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by Matt Williams on 12/06/2012 at 7:06 AM

Agree that the 'Boise Co-Op will survive. 'Whole Foods' really doesn't have that many 'unique' items that can only be found there. The 'Co-Op' has much the same offerings at a better price, and a lot more relaxed feel for shopping, as 'Whole Foods' is so huge, loud, and distracting that it produces an anxiety response (even in a calm person). In addressing above comments on "paying too much for organics," if your health is worth it to you, you should have no problem paying more for doing the right thing for yourself and your loved ones.

report 6 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by ajax on 12/06/2012 at 8:51 AM

I don't know why people are clamoring for a 'Trader Joe's.' Been to one in Scottsdale, AZ and wasn't all that impressed. It's becoming a lot like the proliferation of coffee shops and pizza places, how much of the 'same thing' do we need here anyway.

report 5 likes, 6 dislikes   
Posted by ajax on 12/06/2012 at 8:53 AM

I still want a Fry's, dammit.

report 5 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by TinCanGoat on 12/06/2012 at 1:45 PM

Glad about Whole Foods and if it's true, thrilled that TJ will be in THAT location rather than somewhere on Eagle Road. Yay for both!

report 7 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by ladylyon on 12/06/2012 at 2:03 PM

No parking and do not eat the organic peanut butter....

report 0 likes, 2 dislikes   
Posted by Patrick McKeegan on 12/06/2012 at 2:54 PM

My Christmas prayers have been answered...

report 3 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by Toni Bussell on 12/06/2012 at 3:17 PM

I'm more excited about Slanted Rock Brewing Co. opening up, soon!
Got to love all the local Craft Breweries that have opened up.

report 4 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by Karl Fengler on 12/07/2012 at 4:13 PM

Im not sure why everyone complains about parking. Ive never had an issue with parking downtown. If there isn't street parking, theres always a garage. I feel like theres a parking garage on every corner in Boise. I think the location is a perfect spot for a commercial business. There are too many "lots" downtown boise that need to be developed. If you're heading to Boise from the connector (Eastbound on I84), the first thing you see when you come to Boise is two dirt parking lots. Things like this are steps in the right direction if you ask me. Boise is a growing city and its time we start acting like a real NW city. Glad to see these businesses coming to Boise and not just Eagle, Meridian and other outlying "suburbias". Bring the commerce to Boise, after all, if it wasn't for Boise, those suburbs wouldn't exist.

report 15 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by Johnny Winn on 12/08/2012 at 2:33 PM

Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are corporate jerks like the Applebee's you love to dine at.

report 0 likes, 4 dislikes   
Posted by ballsymcgee on 12/14/2012 at 12:33 AM
Showing 1-20 of 20

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