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Broulim’s makes another play for the city of Victor

Driggs

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Broulim’s has submitted the highest bid for the old Victor Elementary School located in the heart of downtown Victor. The east Idaho grocer has been denied zone changes twice from the city to build on the south end of Teton Valley. | Jeannette Boner, EastIdahoNews.com

VICTOR — Broulim’s has made its third pitch for a grocery store in Victor by bidding almost double the appraised value on the old Victor Elementary School on Center Street.

The east Idaho grocery store chain has been denied twice in the last four years by the city of Victor for proposals to build its second grocery store in Teton Valley.

Teton School District 401 has two public properties it is selling to offset debt from building two new elementary schools and renovating the middle and high schools last year. The old district building in Driggs is for sale in addition to the old Victor Elementary School.

The District 401 school board decided at the end of 2019 to place both properties out for a sealed bid, with the old Victor Elementary and land appraising for $340K located in the heart of the City of Victor. Contracting with a local realtor, Teton Valley Realty, three buyers bid on the school.

The first two bids came in at $340,000 and $350,000 with the third from Broulim’s corporate coming in at $600,000. All bids promised cash for the 2.5-acre lot and approximately 22,000 square-foot school built in the 1940s.

Last Monday, the Teton School Board voted to move forward with working with Broulim’s toward the purchase of the property. One of the conditions of the purchase for Broulim’s is a zone change that could accommodate the commercial grocery store, though no formal building plans have been publicly submitted.

Currently, the old Victor elementary school is zoned “civic” which could only hold libraries, schools and religious amenities.

School board members spent little time discussing the bids last Monday, opting to move ahead with the highest bidder. That evening, non-profit planning watchdogs, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development who played a key role in challenging the 2016 and 2019 rezone application from Broulim’s, posted on their Facebook page, “Apparently Broulim’s has put forth the top bid for the Victor Elementary property — almost double listing price at $600K! However, it’s contingent on rezone approval from the City of Victor. Here. We. Go.”

The two other lower bids from developers proposed workforce housing developments, a bowling ally, recreational amenities and outdoor community spaces. The school district did not need to take the highest bidder last Monday evening, and has the option of placing the Victor property on the open real estate market. However, the board moved to look at doubling its asking price at $600,000 and left the zoning and development work up to city electeds.

In 2005, Broulim’s opened the current grocery in Driggs after selling their old Hillman’s store on Main Street to the City of Driggs. The current store and shopping center includes Ace Hardware and a number of other smaller businesses.

In 2016, Broulim’s corporate was denied a zone change for a proposed Victor store on a property just north of town just off of Main Street and Aspen in Victor. In 2019, they were again denied a zone change for a site a little further north of Victor in a commercial/industrial area of the city. Broulim’s purchase of both of those properties were contingent on a zone change, so the sales never occurred.

In 2019, planning and zoning commissioners for the City of Victor said that having such a big commercial box store just outside of downtown proper could have adverse effects on Main Street businesses.

An agenda item to consider a zone change for Broulim’s current proposal in downtown Victor has not yet been placed on a city meeting agenda.

Editor’s note: East Idaho News originally reported that the zone change could accommodate a strip mall as the original application included the language “grocery and possible mixed use.” A Broulim’s spokesman clarified that their plan is only for a grocery store at this point.

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