Caldwell, Idaho – Canyon County

January 31, 2024
Caldwell, Idaho - Canyon County

Caldwell, Idaho

Idaho’s Gathering Place

 

A beacon of inspiration for municipalities striving to unite modernization and tradition in the 21st century.

Caldwell, Idaho, sits in the heart of Treasure Valley, amongst the scenic territories of the western United States. It has transformed from modest origins into a flourishing urban center with a thriving population of 70,423.

Steve Jenkins, Economic Development Director, has been leading the city’s fiscal journey since 2019. Jenkins, Mayor Wagoner, and Denae Warren from Destination Caldwell (DC) are leading efforts to revive downtown and enhance the city’s infrastructure. “In 2020, we came up with a strategy to create an environment where financial investment could be made,” informs Jenkins. “That was a primary focus.”

Caldwell oozes determination in its pursuit of progress while protecting its rich legacy.

Historical Background

Indigenous tribes from the West Coast and other regions gathered at the Boise River for trading fairs called rendezvous. Explorers, traders, and settlers introduced freighting businesses, ferries, and stagecoach stations. They constructed small ranches and farms in the river valleys.

Caldwell’s establishment in 1883 and its development intertwine with Oregon Short Line Railroad construction. It connected Wyoming to Oregon through Idaho and became part of the Union Pacific Railroad network, leading to the opening of the Caldwell depot in 1906. This transformative period turned the town into a crucial transportation hub.

Destination Caldwell’s Role

Founded to create impactful projects using the region’s agricultural heritage, Destination Caldwell’s vision is to be Idaho’s premier gathering place. Executive Director Danae Warren explains, “Destination Caldwell was a grassroots effort to revitalize downtown, featuring a plaza with year-round events.”

This led to Indian Creek Plaza in the heart of downtown known as “Caldwell’s Living Room”. Opened in 2018, the plaza fosters economic vitality and community cohesion.

Central to the downtown transformation is the Business Improvement District (BID), a vital mechanism that breathes life into the plaza. Warren clarifies, “Small businesses are instrumental to the revitalization of downtown Caldwell.” The BID vote involved 362 properties. With an impressive 70% approval rate, BID funds were kick-started, setting the wheels in motion. The BID landscape is constantly changing and covers around 370 properties at present.

The Indian Creek Plaza is a social hub that hosts over 200 annual events and draws a million visitors into downtown. Features include an ice skating and ribbon rink with rentals, free helmet use, skate trainers, rink guards, season passes, lessons, parties, and a skate shop. A stage presents live performances from local and touring artists, and splash pads are available during the summer.

 

Caldwell, Idaho - Canyon County

 

Festivals and Wineries to explore

Caldwell demonstrates its commitment to community spirit with a special emphasis put on a parade of festivals and local attractions in honor of its valued residents. Chief among these seasonal highlights is the Winter Wonderland Festival.

As Mayor Jarom Wagoner points out, Indian Creek transforms into a magical spectacle with over a million lights. The city points to another key tradition, the Indian Creek Festival, an event that originated as a modest gathering and has now blossomed into a two-day extravaganza that encompasses downtown Caldwell.

This celebration encapsulates the essence of Caldwell, featuring a car cruise, car show, chalk art contest, and a bustling local marketplace, fostering unity and camaraderie among attendees.

Adding to the mix is the Caldwell Arts Festival, held annually in May which aptly serves as a platform to display the wealth of local talent, spanning visual arts, music, and dance. Drawing over 10,000 attendees, the festival has solidified its position as a cultural centerpiece, contributing to the rich tapestry of Caldwell’s artistic expression.

To mark Autumn, the city puts on the Caldwell Wine Festival, a celebration that captivates both enthusiasts and tourists alike. Boasting guided tours, tastings, and live entertainment, it attracts 15,000 tourists. The festival provides a platform for wine appreciation and serves as a catalyst for local businesses, restaurants, and hotels that experience an upswing during this lively celebration.

Wineries also dot the landscape and Caldwell expertly weaves a tapestry of diverse experiences to enjoy, attracting over 75,000 visitors a year and offering a delightful escape. Jenkins recognizes the significance of these events: “Our events and the burgeoning wine industry are not just sources of entertainment but pillars of economic strength.”

Caldwell is at the forefront of a remarkable trajectory, recognizing that rapid growth presents challenges that need thoughtful solutions. Jenkin says. “Back in 2010, we had 46,237 residents and in 2022 we jumped up to about 68,000 and that’s about a 45% increase.” Planners project 50% job growth over the next decade.

PEG Companies, a full-service real estate investment firm based in Provo, Utah, closed on a 40-acre parcel of land to develop 419 build-for-rent residences in Caldwell. “We are pleased to support this exciting project,” says Jenkins.

PEG will roll out the $150 million project in multiple phases over the next three years. It will have one-, two-, and three-bedroom patio homes and duet townhomes.

Economic Development

The core’s revitalization is a cornerstone of Caldwell’s economic development, blending modernity with historical charm. Jenkins explains, “Our downtown revitalization is not just a facelift; it is a planned series of projects that celebrate our history while creating a dynamic urban center.”

“Between two major projects in downtown Caldwell, the daylighting of Indian Creek and the creation of the Indian Creek Plaza, we earmarked $15 million for downtown revitalization,” says Jenkins. The transformation has attracted major businesses. “A boutique hotel’s going to be the best hotel in Canyon County,” says Mayor Jarom Wagoner, who grew up in Caldwell.

Industrial parks have seen an influx of $20 million in investments and the city has put $30 million in road upgrades.

Sky Ranch Business Park

Sky Ranch Business Park spans 400 acres in East Caldwell and is a hub for industrial growth. The cumulative investment in Sky Ranch is $500 million.

Sky Ranch houses notable entities such as Nemo Arms and Federated Ordnance, cohabitating in a 265,000-square-foot arms and ammunition manufacturing facility. They have allocated millions of dollars in improvements and equipment in the building and created 237 job opportunities. Other businesses include Fresco Mexican Foods. With 250 employees, it operates in 200,000 square feet and produces 5 million tortillas daily.

Another player is Capital Distributing, which occupies a 293,000 square foot space. It employs 340 people, doubling its workforce since coming to Caldwell. Lincoln Property Company has invested $56 million in constructing a new, two-building industrial project totaling 395,000 square feet.

The business park’s success stories show its ability to attract large investments, create employment opportunities, and foster economic growth within the region.

 

Caldwell, Idaho - Canyon County

 

North Ranch Business Park

Local developer Ball Ventures Ahlquist is building a 114-acre mixed-use development named North Ranch Business Park. It will include light industrial and flexible office, retail, and medical offices. The development expects 3,000 daily visitors, creating an abundance of employment opportunities.

Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU) is building a new branch and D&B Supply finished building its 100,000-square-foot flagship retail store. They also built a 100,000-square-foot warehouse to support their regional locations and are planning to break ground on their corporate offices nearby.

The culinary landscape will expand by introducing various restaurants and festivals, and a new Kum & Go gas station is expected. These developments underline the multi-faceted nature of the ongoing investments.

Plans and Economic Forecast

Caldwell’s economic forecast shows upward momentum. Jenkins envisions a bright future, stating, “Our plans are strategic, our vision is clear. Our upcoming projects include additional public investments in our newly established North Caldwell Urban Renewal District, comprising 895 acres, and will focus on industrial growth and infrastructure development.”

Caldwell, Idaho, is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of tradition and progress. Mayor Wagoner’s leadership, supported by keen insights from Jenkins and Warren, helps steer the city towards responsible growth. “What I see Caldwell doing is continuing to grow, continuing to do the great things that we have been doing these last three to five years.”

AT A GLANCE

Caldwell, Idaho—Canyon County

WHAT: An energetic wine region with the ingenuity and determination to grow.

WHERE: Treasure Valley, Idaho

WEBSITE: cityofcaldwell.org

PREFERRED VENDORS

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Silverhawk Realty – https://www.bhhssilverhawkrealty.com/

Founded in 2001, Silverhawk Realty is a leading real estate brokerage in southwest Idaho serving the Treasure Valley and Eastern Oregon. Alongside sister companies Sun Valley Properties & Silverhawk Realty East Idaho, we ensure a seamless real estate experience across southern Idaho. Aligned with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, we are a full-service brokerage promoting integrity and trust.

DIG DIGITAL?

January 2024 cover of Business View Civil and Municipal

January 2024

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