BOISE - The Idaho Legislature is considering a proposal that would authorize the state to negotiate the purchase of the Boise Hewlett-Packard campus.
If the state is able to acquire the property, it would house the Idaho State Tax Commission and several other state agencies, the governor's office announced on Thursday.
The House and Senate would both need to sign off on a concurrent resolution in order for the state to move forward with negotiations for the complex, which sits on 200 acres near the intersection of Chinden Boulevard and Five Mile Road.
"Whenever the state goes out and borrows money for a long-term project like that, they have to get permission basically from the Legislature," Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill (R- Rexburg) told KTVB.
If the resolution passes, it would enable the Department of Administration to get bonding authority to provide financing.
The Tax Commission is currently housed in a building on Parkcenter Boulevard near downtown Boise, but that property was purchased by St. Luke's Health System last year.
"It provides us with a long-term solution to a problem that has been staring us in the face for quite a while," Gov. Otter's Press Secretary, Jon Hanian, told KTVB.
The HP property includes eight buildings with more than 1.3 million square feet of office space and 200,000 square feet of warehouse space. The purchase price is estimated at $110 million, and would require an additional $16 million in renovations.
The governor's office says HP has agreed to lease back over half of the office space in the complex for an initial seven-year term. The state would also assume third-party leases with other entities already located on the campus. The state will eventually take over the third-party spaces as those leases expire.
"You bond for this, there's a good possibility that a lot of it will pay for itself with the leases that we're going to get as a result," Hanian added.
Officials say revenue from the lease-back and third-party leases- in addition to rent collected from state agency occupants- should be enough to provide for the purchase and operation of the HP campus facilities without additional burden to the State.
"This opportunity for an agreement with a valued business leader will benefit both parties and addresses a pressing need for the State of Idaho," Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said in the statement. "We've been looking hard for the right place at the right price for our agencies, and the HP campus really fits the bill. A great employer is reinforcing its commitment to Idaho and the State is saving money, so it's a win-win."
The top lawmakers in the House and Senate signaled their approval of the plan to purchase the property.
"This provides the State of Idaho with a long-term solution to our Boise-area facility needs at a reasonable price," said House Speaker Scott Bedke. "It's a sound and responsible investment that will help us maintain our commitment to living within the people's means."
Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill said now is the time to buy.
"With business booming, lease rates in the Boise area are rising. And new construction would cost taxpayers twice as much as this plan," Hill said. "The numbers don't lie: This is a great deal for Idaho."
Idaho currently leases more than 800,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Ada County at a annual cost of $12.2 million.
Department of Administration Director, Robert Geddes, tells KTVB if this resolution passes, it will take some time for the bonds to be authorized and the conditions and terms worked out with HP Inc., therefore he doesn't anticipate any State agencies moving in to the campus until the fall.
This concurrent resolution passed the House Ways & Means Committee 6-1 on Thursday.
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