Once bucolic dairy land, Meridian has become Idaho’s third-largest city and is a thriving business hub. The most recent trend in its transformation is a corridor approach to development.
“The concept formed in the last couple years through the mayor’s vision and existing anchor businesses,” explains Josh Grant, a member of the city’s Economic Excellence Team. Developer buy-in and collaboration also were critical in moving the concept forward. The 1,800-acre health, science, and technology corridor—which includes a new 60,000-square-foot acute-care hospital (see the slideshow) and Idaho State University’s Meridian campus—is the first. “The city has a vision that includes several other corridors currently being researched to identify viable industry clusters,” Grant says.
Another key to re-envisioning Meridian is reviving the city’s core. “As development has occurred, it has taken place outside of downtown,” says Craig Slocum, principal architect with CSHQA in Boise and chairman of the Meridian Development Corp. (MDC). “One of the challenges that Meridian faces is maintaining—or re-creating—its downtown.”
To that end, a new City Hall (see the slideshow) was built to consolidate many of the city’s services, draw people back to the area, and spark redevelopment. Already, new projects are springing up in its wake. Says Slocum: “The MDC and the city are committed to creating a vibrant, walkable downtown.”
More than 73,000 people reside in Meridian, up 13.1% from 2007; February 2009 unemployment was 7%.
Average asking rate, 1Q 2009: $17/s.f., full-service gross, on 9% vacancy.
February 2009 median home sale price in Ada County: $180,900.
- Location at center of Treasure Valley
- Exceptional parks and recreational amenities
- Cheaper than nearby Boise
- Infrastructure, particularly roads
- Sprawling exurbs
- Higher demand for services
“The [city’s] explosive growth, the demographics of our population, and our location in the center of the Treasure Valley are the key items that make Meridian interesting, provide us our strength, and also create our challenges,” comments CSHQA principal Craig Slocum.