MERIDIAN - Voted the number one place in the country to live this year by 24/7 Wall St., the city of Meridian is looking to boost its economy by boasting another huge development. But this one would bring more than just houses to a rapidly growing area of the Treasure Valley.
"It is smack dab in the middle of our metro area," city of Meridian Community Development Director Bruce Chatterton said.
City officials say a plot of agricultural land off Ten Mile, between I-84 and Franklin Rd. is ground zero for Meridian in a lot of ways. If all goes according to their Specific Area Plan, it will become a hot spot for families to live and work in the same place.
"I think it's natural that the community would be looking to the Ten Mile area as being sort of that next frontier," Chatterton told KTVB.
The state invested $34 million on the Ten Mile Interchange back in 2007, and they wanted to make sure they got the rest of the master plan just right.
"It was designed to have a lot of development around it and that certainly has not occurred recently," consultant for the project, Phil Kushlan, said. "So they want to see a lot of office park development, but very kind of high-end, with some mixed-use commercial activity and a substantial portion of the property being dedicated to residential."
According to the City of Meridian's Ten Mile Interchange Specific Area Plan, the development would function differently than a typical commercial area or residential subdivision. Many residential uses will occupy the second and third levels of buildings above retail, office and light industrial uses on the ground floor. In some commercial areas, residential uses may occupy the lowest levels of buildings.
"It will have much more of a community feel," Chatterton said.
Officials tell KTVB they have just completed the first step. Now with the go-ahead from the City Council, they are putting together an Urban Renewal Plan that will push this mixed-use development forward to the next step.
"It's kind of a mixture of different people who have different interests but recognize that they are in middle of Treasure Valley and it's probably not going to be an agricultural use for long," Kushlan explained.
The city is working with multiple property owners and developers like Brighton Corporation out on the 300-plus acres to see what infrastructure they'll need. Officials say all property owners will need to give their consent in order for the development to move ahead.
"Meridian has some of the highest quality residential and retail in the Valley - in Idaho. What we need more of are employment centers," Chatterton said.
Which means more opportunities for family-wage jobs that would balance all the rooftops springing up in the city.
KTVB reached out to many of the developers working to lease this space, but has only heard back from Retail West, which says they haven't landed any tenants yet. We will continue to follow this development as it breaks ground, which Kushlan says could be later this year.
For a look at the full area plan in depth, click here.