When I first visited the Treasure Valley back in 2003 it was pretty much love a love at first site thing. My story starts out like tens of thousands of other people who have made Idaho their home over the last two decades. My wife and I drove up from Denver to visit some friends who had lived by us in Colorado and had moved to Boise in 2001. They raved about how much they loved living in the area - the seasons, the nice people, the family-friendly values, the way it felt like being in a “Denver time machine” (going back 25 years in the past). I remember driving north on I-84 for the first time and passing through Twin Falls and Mountain Home, neither of which struck me as someplace that felt much like what I experienced back in Colorado. However, when we were 5 miles out from Boise city limits our car passed a rest area and then descended through some hills until we turned and corner and dropped right into the “City of Trees” (aptly named). Our eyes caught the foothills and the silhouette of the State Capital and the downtown hi-rise buildings. Sure enough with the tall building, state capitol dome and the foothills it did seem a lot like Denver.
I remember seeing the Micron facilities, the half-empty Factory Stores (even back then), and the industrial yards of Southeast Boise. The view from the interstate was not too attractive in that day and I remember secretly hoping that the scenery would improve in that I wouldn’t be disappointed in Boise. (Which it did by the way). The friends we were coming to visit lived in a new neighborhood called “The Legends” at the intersection of Ustick and Eagle Road. Their home was only a couple of years old and new construction homes were being built around them and across the street in the subdivision. One thing about Boise I was impressed with was how much home you could get for the money was something I was initially impressed with being in Boise. When the friends told me how much the new homes were priced for on their cul-de-sac it was hard to believe. Trading dollar for dollar from Denver to Boise at that time for me was almost double the square footage for the same mortgage payment. Today, the Boise area is still less expensive than most other metro areas in the U.S. and new construction and resale homes are plentiful.