It looks like Boise won't be seeing a Whole Foods market anytime soon (BW, News,"Whole Foods on Hold," Oct. 13, 2010), but another smaller-scale grocer appears ready to try its luck with Boise's Planning and Zoning Commission. Guessing just who it might be has become a bit of a parlor game. Trader Joe's? Nope. Bristol Farms? Sunflower? No and no.
It's Henry's Farmers Market. Who? Don't worry if you haven't heard of them. This would be the first location outside of Southern California or Arizona.
The Persimmon II development company is asking for a conditional use permit to build a 25,000-square-foot specialty grocery store and a nearby 1,800-square-foot building for specialty retail and residential units. The proposed location is a block bordered by 15th, 16th, Idaho and Bannock streets.
Henry's began in the 1940s by selling local peaches on a San Diego street corner. The family-owned business grew into a chain of specialty grocery stores with particular emphasis on local produce. Each store also includes meat, seafood, wine and beer, as well as floral, bakery, deli and holistic health departments. The company also touts a health and wellness center on its website.
But if we've learned anything in 2010, the best laid plans don't get anywhere until you make nice with Boise's P & Z .The commission will review the application at a public hearing on Monday, Nov. 1, at Boise City Hall.
Meanwhile, City Hall is still reeling from the administrative carnage at the Oct. 11 meeting of Boise's Design Review Committee. The panel voted 4-3 to deny construction of JUMP, a privately funded arts center, green space, meeting facility and memorial to J.R. Simplot and Idaho's agricultural history. Two weeks earlier, the committee deadlocked on a 3-3 vote, with one member absent, so the issue was tabled. On Oct. 11, previously absent member Robert Anderson decided to vote for the project, so it was safe to assume that JUMP would move forward. But committee Chairman Rodney Evans changed his vote to no, and JUMP went down to defeat. JUMP spokesman David Cuoio told Citydesk that neither he nor the family had any clue why Evans changed his vote. And as of press time, Evans had not returned BW's messages.
"The family and the JUMP team have put their hearts and souls into this design," said Cuoio. "We already implemented one major redesign, and it's unlikely that we would be interested in making any significant changes to the current design."
On Oct. 11, Anderson practically begged his fellow committee members to find a way to work toward a solution by offering to hold a series of additional work sessions. But the committee voted 4-3 against his proposal.
Committee member Elizabeth Wolf was visceral in her criticism of the JUMP project.
"It's a parking garage on stilts with theme-park elements," said Wolf.
Wolf motioned to deny the project, and three of her colleagues agreed, enough to trip up JUMP.