Laird Norton Company buying prime downtown Boise properties

Posted at 1:20 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 07:17:28-04

BOISE — Some prime downtown Boise real estate will soon have a new owner.

The Laird Norton Company (LNP) of Seattle is buying both the U.S. Bank building, the tallest building in the state, and the Clearwater Building right next door to it.

If the name Laird Norton sounds familiar, that’s because the company has a long history in Idaho dating back to 1903, when it helped found the Potlatch Lumber Company. In 1913, Laird Norton merged two other groups into the Boise Payette Lumber Company -- which eventually became the Boise Cascade Corporation.

More than a century later, the seventh-generation family-owned company has grown into a diversified business with investments in real estate, consumer, and financial companies.

“Beyond the quality of the U.S. Bank and Clearwater buildings, we’re making these acquisitions because of the excellence of downtown Boise,” said Matt Anderson, Principal and Senior Project Director with Heartland. “There’s high employment, household growth, and affordability, but also a lot of civic pride and next-generation energy that we believe are going to continue to help Boise grow.”

The U.S. Bank Plaza sits on more than two-and-a-half acres at 101 South Capitol Boulevard in downtown Boise with 261,937 square feet of space and thirty-plus companies in the building. The Clearwater Building at 777 West Main Street has 173,115 square feet of space, and sits on top of the city’s main transportation hub, Main Street Station.

Boise State University’s Computer Science Department will retain their condo interest in the Clearwater Building. Valley Regional Transit and the Greater Boise Auditorium District will continue to own and operate their respective condo units.

“We are looking forward to the ongoing public/private partnerships with the Greater Boise Auditorium District, Boise State University and Valley Regional Transit, and see this as our first step in becoming a part of this growing community.” said Anderson. “Also, the major investments by Capital City Development Corp., the Gardner Company, VRT, GBAD and BSU over the last few years are what will continue to draw capital to downtown Boise.”

LNP is known for its values and dedication to the communities where its employees live and work. It has Class-A office and multi-family property investments in Seattle, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City, and now, Boise.

“Further, LNP will look for other ways to invest in the City of Trees, including the possibility of student housing and business investment opportunities,” Reinhardsen added.

“This is exciting for us because we’re not just investing in buildings, we’re joining the Boise community,” said Reinhardsen. “We are committed to having a positive, present and engaged impact on this community, and being good long-term partners with everyone we are fortunate to work with.”

Two brothers and a cousin created Laird Norton Company (LNC) in the Midwest in 1855. It first expanded into the Boise area in 1913, when it helped merge two groups into the Boise Payette Lumber Company. In 1957, after the purchase of Cascade Lumber, Boise Payette became Boise Cascade Corporation.

LNC bankrolled a third of one of the biggest real estate deals in American history in 1899: the purchase of 900,000 acres of timberlands in the Northwest. The purchase established the land base for the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company. In 1903, LNC worked with Weyerhaeuser again to create the new Potlatch Lumber Company. Laird Norton family members played key leadership roles for Potlatch all the way until 1993.

The amount of the sale was not disclosed, but sources say it’s in the neighborhood of 60 million dollars. Laird Norton purchased the two buildings from the Gardner company, who will still be the property manager.

The deal is expected to be finalized next week.

(photo courtesy: Bilbao and Co.)