Micron, Meta, and Boise Growth

A subject that gets a lot of attention in the Boise metro area is population growth and what it brings. Cue the list of common complaints like more traffic congestion, aggressive/rude drivers, having to get dinner reservations on a weekday, and no parking at the local ski hill. Maybe the biggest complaint with rapid population growth is buyer demand pushing up housing costs which has priced out some existing residents, making it hard to afford living here. I am an avowed capitalist, but growth doesn’t benefit everyone.

In 2010, the median home price was $169,000…. it’s now $482,000! That year there was an article in “Outside “magazine that featured a bicyclist riding in the North End – a neighborhood of Boise. This article may have been the first of many articles praising the benefits of Boise. Since that time Boise has appeared on list after list of best places to live, to recreate, to raise a family, to part your hair down the middle, etc. Pick a subject on why you might want to live here, and Boise was high on the list.

All this has caused the Boise MSA to steadily grow. In 2010 the population was 606,000; in 2019 it was 712,000; in 2022 it was 811,000; and it is expected to be 1,000,000 by 2040. These increases have made Idaho and the Boise area one of the fastest growing states and cities in the US.

So besides all of the nice things about our town, what ‘commercial real estate’ events are fueling some of the current local growth? Below are two:

1. Micron Technology, which started and is headquartered here, is in memory and storage technology and provides selective solutions for data storage and data centers. They are one of the world’s largest semi-conductor companies and the only U.S. based company manufacturing “memory.” They are in the midst of a huge building project with six (6) construction cranes visible from the Interstate. The FAB (a computer chip manufacturing facility) under construction will be the first such new FAB in America in the last 20 years. Micron announced they will spend 15 billion dollars expanding the Boise operation/location by the end of the decade. The new FAB “clean room” will be 600,000 SF and the largest in America. The Micron expansion is projected to create 17,000 new Idaho jobs and 2,000 new direct Micron jobs.

2. Meta is building a new 960,000 SF data center in Kuna, a close suburb of Boise. The expected investment is 800 million dollars. There will be 100 new jobs to operate the data center upon completion and 1,200 construction jobs at the peak of construction. The facility will be powered by a new solar farm provided by Idaho Power.

Both of these projects are drawing in new vendor companies to provide goods and services to Micron and Meta. And that growth in industrial tenant demand has attracted new-to-the-area industrial property developers. In the greater Boise area, there are approximately 55,000,000 square feet of existing industrial buildings. In late 2023 and into 2024, 6,000,000 more square feet is/has come online. This wildly exceeds the amount of new industrial space which the area has historically constructed or absorbed. Time will tell if demand continues to surge or we will have an over built and over supplied market.

With a few exceptions, office leasing or tenant demand doesn’t appear to be as positively affected by the Micron or Meta projects. But our office market does continue to grow and largely because of out-of-area companies expanding or moving here. We are currently very short of new Class A space downtown or in the suburbs, and this could be an issue in the coming years. Or as odd as this may sound, we could be entering into a tight (for our tenant clients) or under supplied office supply market.

Like it or not, Boise is growing – some say ‘maturing’ – so hold on!