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SoBoDo?

Rivers makes a pitch to rebuild Library

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The force of nature known as Mark Rivers has a new neighborhood in mind, to expand on his BoDo development: Call it "SoBoDo." Rivers now wants to build Boise a new library on the same site as the existing main branch, and develop several blocks around the area.

But now Rivers has competition for development of a key part of that area. The Capital City Development Corporation has asked for, and received, proposals from three developers, including Rivers, to redevelop a site the agency owns on 9th Street.

Rivers, Hosac Company and C2 Squared all hope to remake the old warehouse on the CCDC-owned site. While Hosac and C2 aren't whistling Dixie--both have what the CCDC terms "serious" applications for mixed-use buildings on the site--it's Rivers that has the bigger plans. He's been planning the development for six months, he said, going about acquiring options and stakes in various properties in the Library area.

"He did what he was supposed to do: Describe the pie in the sky," said City Councilor David Eberle who also serves on the board of CCDC.

River's key slice: the library. He wants to rebuild a $42 million modern library with all manner of energy-efficient technologies, then sell it to CCDC, who would lease it to the city for about $2 million per year, he said.

But no one seems to agree on just how the city would benefit from, and pay for, the snazzy new library.

"Those are huge questions," Eberle said. He suspects that new property tax valuations received off Rivers' project would go to CCDC, not the city. The machinations have alerted David Frazier, who earlier this year successfully sued Boise for trying to finance a parking garage without a public vote. Frazier, who said he's not ready to sue on this one yet, said any plan that results in Boise City owning the new library should get voted on by the people.

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