Boise Mayor Lauren McLean called off a land swap with the family who owned the Harris Ranch after neighbors at a promised but unbuilt park in southwest Boise objected to the family’s proposal. ‘build houses there.
The town was considering exchanging the town-owned land known as the Murgoitio Parcel to the Harris family in exchange for 250 acres of Foothills land above the planned Harris Ranch community in southeast Boise. The Harris family proposed to build high density housing at the Murgoitio site, south of Victory Road and between Cole Road and Maple Grove Road.
The city has been discussing the deal since February 2020, park superintendent Jennifer Tomlinson told the Idaho Statesman.
But the city has been promising to build a park there since the 1990s. In recent weeks, neighbors have organized themselves to stop the trade.
Now McLean says the property’s value has increased so much that the proposed trade would not be worth it.
“There has been a lot of talk in our community about the possibility of a land swap involving the 157-acre Murgoitio parcel owned by the City of Boise,” McLean said Monday in a press release. “As I shared during the Boise City Council working session last week, the city has done its due diligence to review the details of the proposed business due to the potential for affordable and much-needed housing construction on the site.
“The value of the Murgoitio plot is currently under review and we expect to have an updated broker’s opinion in the coming days,” McLean said. “In light of the surge in land values in the region, it is predicted that this broker’s opinion will be significantly higher than the previous broker’s opinion obtained in 2020 who estimated the property’s value at approximately $ 7.8 million. “
The Boise School District sold 15 acres of land near Murgoitio earlier this month for $ 12.04 million, meaning the land sold for $ 800,000 an acre. At that price for 157 acres, the Murgoitio property would be worth $ 125.6 million. Harris’ Foothills land was valued at $ 15 million, Boise Dev reported.
McLean said she believed the Harris swap no longer made “financial sense” and was “no longer under consideration.”
The land swap prompted city council to consider annexing the entire southwestern Boise area, over 10 square miles, home to 34,000 people. In the past, neighbors have opposed annexation, unwilling to add municipal taxes to their property tax bills.
Over the past month, residents of the southwest responded to the potential loss of the park with a number of opposition efforts, including hiring a lawyer and picketing at City Hall. Alexandria Danilovich, co-founder of a non-profit organization formed to fight for Murgoitio Park, said she was happy McLean “did the right thing,” though she still wants to make sure the park is taking place.
“I am both happy and surprised,” said Danilovich. “I’ll finally get a good night’s sleep.”