As Downtown Boise hotels boom, Nampa and Meridian get their own, and Caldwell hopes

Even with a new hotel next door, the Nampa Civic Center doesn’t have the space to attract or house a 1,500-attendee conference like the one the Boise Centre hosted for a national epidemiologists group last week.

But Boise’s blossoming convention capacity and its slew of new Downtown hotels bode well for the hospitality and conference sectors in Nampa and other Treasure Valley cities, hotel developer Chase Santillanes said.

That’s why he and his family’s Spokane-based ownership group built the 82-room Peppertree Inn Best Western Plus in Nampa, which opened in May next to the downtown Civic Center. The $5 million hotel, with rooms averaging about $159 per night, was booked during the epidemiologists’ conference thanks to overflow.

“We looked at the Boise market, but too many hotels were fighting for the same property,” Santillanes said. “We’ve been doing this for a long time, and in our experience, that growth usually leaks out to secondary markets.”

The new hotel positions the Civic Center to land conferences with about 100 attendees that cannot afford the Boise Centre, said Beth Ineck, Nampa’s economic development director. Nampa can support more hotels now, she said, thanks to Boise’s spillover, the new St. Luke’s hospital expected to open in Nampa this fall, and visitors to the SunnySlope wine region.

“It’s part of the natural growth process,” Ineck said. “The new hospital was part of the decision to go ahead on the new Holiday Inn.”

That Holiday Inn, with 85 rooms, opened last week off Interstate 84 near the Karcher Road exit in west Nampa.

Four miles east, the Hampton Inn & Suites next to the Idaho Center on North Idaho Center Boulevard plans to expand, Ineck said. And a developer is considering another, yet-to-be-announced hotel, Ineck said.

Meridian, which previously struck out in efforts to attract a hotel and conference center as part of its downtown revitalization effort, also has a new hotel. My Place Hotel opened in May, offering 85 rooms near the intersection of Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue, near the bustling Village at Meridian.

Bruce Chatterton, Meridian’s community development director, said the city will benefit from Boise bringing large groups to the area even if Meridian cannot get the conference center it wants.

“I certainly wouldn’t rule out that Meridian might be in that game in the future,” he said. “We just don’t see traction now.”

Caldwell lost out when an Oregon group backed out of plans last year to build two hotels at Muller Lane and Aviation Way near I-84. But city leaders are now optimistic that a developer will build a hotel to anchor Indian Creek Plaza, the centerpiece of Caldwell’s downtown revitalization effort.

The plaza, which is under construction, will feature a park, concert stage, skating area and water features. The city hopes to host 150 events a year there.

Planners are “in negotiations” with a developer to build a boutique hotel on the block where the turn-of-the-century Saratoga Hotel burned in 1990, said Steve Fultz, the city’s director of economic development.

Studies show that Caldwell could support more hotels, and “wheels are being kicked” for additional development, Fultz said. He thinks Caldwell, like Nampa, could become a destination for smaller conferences and for events centered around Canyon County’s wine region.

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Boise is hosting its biggest-ever convention this week. Are we ready for the big time?

“It’s something we’re desirous of having. But I don’t’ know if we’re positioned right now to compete with Boise,” Fultz said.

Zach Kyle: 208-377-6464, @ZachKyleNews

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