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Real Estate: The River Next Door

Mace River Ranch offers residents a rare opportunity to build along the Boise River in Eagle

By Daniel Stone
Photos Courtesy of Mace River Ranch

When the Mace family’s ancestors homesteaded on Eagle Island in the 1880s, they had no idea the land they settled would be Eagle’s last significant undeveloped riverfront parcel of its kind 126 years later. Given the property’s location along the river within easy walking distance of the shops and restaurants of downtown Eagle, it’s no wonder demand for home sites here is high.

Named Mace River Ranch, the 192-acre property is set on the west side of Eagle Road, tucked between the north river channel and the Two Rivers subdivision to the south.

Aerial of the planned development Mace River

Aerial of the planned development Mace River

Gardner Company, developer of the new $76-million, 18-story Eighth & Main office and retail tower in downtown Boise, recently acquired the land from the Mace family, who still reside in Eagle. Gardner has already begun creating infrastructure for the community’s 218 home sites.

Tommy Ahlquist, Gardner’s Chief Operating Officer, says walkability to downtown Eagle and waterfront views are the community’s main selling points, but residents will also love the landscaping, waterfalls, large clubhouse and pool.

“We’re structuring the phases of development around the water,” says Ahlquist. “Many of the lots have waterfront views of the Boise River or rest on ponds along the river. For Mace River Ranch residents, it will be kind of like having your own beach.”

For residents looking to buy or build a home in a beautiful riverfront or waterfront setting, convenient to Eagle, this may be their last opportunity, he says.

According to Ahlquist, Gardner is leaving 40 acres undeveloped for a nature preserve that will include ponds, a stream for a trout-spawning habitat, trails and a one-mile extension of the Greenbelt. Designed by Boise River expert and environmental engineer Karl Gebhardt, the preserve is being restored to its pre-1887 condition.

In 1887, Mace River Ranch was homesteaded by Polete Mace, one of the original founders of Eagle. Back then, Polete traveled by horse into Boise to file a patent for land near the river. On September 3, 1887, President Grover Cleveland issued him a patent for 130 acres. At that time, Eagle Island was mostly cottonwood forests and gravel bars.

Eventually, the Mace family cleared the land and farmed it for over 100 years through four generations, using the property’s trees to build log houses. Ahlquist says Mace River Ranch’s large nature preserve serves as a living tribute to the Mace family’s legacy of environmental stewardship.

In January, Eagle City Council approved the community’s preliminary plan, and in February, it granted final plat approval.

Mace River Ranch homes will be available in late summer, and prices will start in the $400,000s, Ahlquist says. A variety of prominent area builders, including Brunobuilt, James Clyde, Zach Evans, Paradigm Construction, Shadow Mountain and Tradewinds, will offer residents custom residences and estate homes.

Based in Salt Lake City, Gardner is a full-service real estate company specializing in upscale residential communities and the development of office, retail and industrial buildings.

Gardner’s other recent developments include Eagle Island Crossing, the Portico office and retail park in Meridian, and the St. Luke’s Nampa Medical Plaza and Library Square projects in Nampa. To date, the company has completed seven upscale residential developments in Utah.

Nestled along the quiet and scenic river corridor, it’s easy to forget how centrally located the community actually is. A stone’s throw from the intersection of Eagle Road and State Street, the community puts residents within easy reach of both downtown Boise and the lower Eagle Road area in Meridian.

Back in the 1880s, Polete Mace knew what he was doing when he snatched up prime riverfront property in Eagle. As the Treasure Valley real estate market continues to heat up, Gardner Company expects today’s area residents will likely follow his example.