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Pie For Rivers


Capital City Development Corp., Boise's urban renewal agency, has agreed to buy a $200,000 piece of property for developer Mark Rivers to use for the building he plans to construct on CCDC land at Ninth and River streets.

The intersection isn't a right angle, and both streets curve a little. As a result, the block that includes CCDC's land isn't a rectangle—it's more like a rectangle and a small wedge. Picture a frozen TV dinner box with a piece of pie stuck to one edge, and you've got a rough idea of the shape.

River8, a 218-condominium project planned in Rivers' Library Blocks, would be composed of two structures: a sort of U-shaped building and an oval building angled out over the pie-shaped land.

But neither CCDC nor Rivers owns the pie-shaped land.

That belongs to Ada County Highway District. It's not part of the road, and it's completely enclosed by sidewalk. ACHD isn't using it and doesn't need it, but the agency wants $200,000 for the right to build over it.

"That's a lot of money to spend on a piece of property no one else can build on," CCDC Commissioner Patrick Shalz said.

"The right of way is essential to the design concept of the Library Blocks," CCDC Development Director Mike Hall said.

If CCDC buys the land, Rivers would pay for the property, along with the rest of CCDC's property, as soon as he and CCDC finalize a development contract, Hall said.

CCDC Commissioner John May asked why Rivers doesn't just pick up the cost now. Executive Director Phil Kushlan said that if Rivers' project falls through, then CCDC would own the land and be able to sell all the property—the TV dinner box and the pie shape—to a new developer.

The agency also extended Rivers' deadline to work out a contract with CCDC for how to develop the property. This is the second extension Rivers has received for the project, and this time he has to pay a $10,000 extension fee.

Rivers asked for the extension because the credit crunch would make it difficult for him to get construction lending and for would-be buyers to get mortgages. The extension gives him until December 2009 to work out a contract.