Friday, June 13, 2008

Thomas Development Committed to New Projects in Idaho Falls

Tom and Barbara Mannschreck's Thomas Development Company has several projects underway in Idaho Falls, including the revitalization of the Earl Building in downtown Idaho Falls, and two apartment projects on 12th and Hoopes, an 80 unit family housing complex called Summerhill and a 48 unit senior housing project called Rosslare.

Tom and Barbara founded Thomas Development Company in 1990. It is a real estate development and construction company with a primary focus of ground-up construction of new apartment buildings. They have built and owned about 2500 units in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. Thomas Development did all of its own construction up to 1998. Tom and Barbara also started and owned a property management company. In September of 2006 they sold 1700 units in a single transaction. They have also built and acquired existing commercial properties with the goal of long-term investment, taking advantage of value added potential.

"We feel that Idaho Falls has a very strong and broad based economy, with strong employers providing the balance we like to see in a community", said Tom.

Thomas Development's purchase of the Earl Building is a very positive step towards further revitalization of downtown Idaho Falls, according to Steven Frei of NAI Commerce One.

"This purchase was a demonstration of Tom and Barbara's long term commitment to Idaho Falls and the redevelopment of downtown Idaho Falls," said Frei, who was the listing agent. Frei has been retained as Thomas Development's leasing and marketing agent for the Earl Building.

The Mannschrecks will be working closely with the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation as they plan and execute improvements to the building.

"We think that the exterior architectural presentation [of the building] is very attractive," Tom said. We very much like the location. The building that houses our corporate offices is in downtown Boise and we are downtown people. We see the vibrancy and the possibility to further the improvement of downtown Idaho Falls."

Tom added, "We have a historical photo of the building taken back in the 20's. The corner office was a women's dress shop, the building had awnings at that time and they just looked very attractive. The structure of the building is in pretty darn good shape. It's got good bones, we wouldn't have purchased it if we didn't think it had good bones."

Barbara Mannschreck will be planning the interior renovations.

"Barbara has a masterful touch at making colors work together and bringing in floor coverings and wall coverings", Tom said. "Barbara's desire is to capture the old character of the building while making it attractive to newer business people."

Interior renovation plans include changing the common area floor covering surfaces, the walls, the ceilings, and all the light fixtures.

The Mannschrecks have witnessed the revitalization that has taken place in downtown Boise and are excited to be a part of what's happening in Idaho Falls.

"Revitalization is not for the faint of heart", according to Tom. "Boise has had its share of successes and its share of failures. The success stories are people who have seen the vision and the beauty of the older building and gone in and tried to be sensitive to the architecture and spruce them up and make code compliance upgrades. The older buildings attract a different clientele than a brand new steel and glass building. Clay Carley who owns Old Boise has done a very nice job on the rehabilitation, and the big flashy success story is BoDo that has undergone major renovation of existing buildings.

"One of the reasons for those successes is the business community is very galvanized behind the refurbishment. The city government has been very supportive, and the Downtown Business Association has done a very nice job of bringing merchants and business people together to become a marketing force. It's been a combination of the city government recognition that revitalizing downtown is essential. Clearly, the stores are open and there is a lot of activity occurring outside normal business hours. That requires the city government and commitment from the private development companies. The work that we've seen in the downtown Idaho Falls area so far has been very well executed."

In addition to the downtown Earl Building project, Thomas Development will soon be breaking ground on two new construction projects.

"The focus on our new construction side has historically been multi-family”, said Tom. “With Steve Frei's assistance, we acquired about 7 acres at the northeast corner of north and Hoopes with the intention of developing it for three different uses-- multi-family, senior housing, and assisted living. The property had to be rezoned, and Renee Magee and other city and county officials were very responsive and professional.”

With the successful rezoning, ground will be broken for Summer Hill in July, and for Ross Lare in August. Idaho Falls company Pacific West Construction, owned by Lynden Kunde, will be the general contractor for both projects.

They are installing all of the underground utilities, water, sewer etc, building the road and sidewalk sections to improve the street in cooperation with Hope Lutheran and Richard Hentzen, an adjacent landowner. Hope Lutheran views improving the road as a safety advantage for their school and they are excited to have the vacant field turned into housing, according to Mannschreck.

Steve Frei said, "These projects are a good example of infill, coming back in and developing and finishing an existing area rather than sprawling out into the county."

Tom added, "Infill, from an urban planning standpoint, is very desirable because the services are already there, and you are cutting down on the commute for people. We have a long-term commitment to Idaho Falls. Commuties have a certain character and a culture, and we certainly feel that Idaho Falls is doing well managing its economic growth and vitality, and managing it in a responsible fashion."

Steve Frei can be reached at 208.525.8088 for questions regarding available space in the Earl Building.

1 comment:

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