Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) - The Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency will move forward with a proposal from GemStone Climbing & Fitness to construct of a 17,000-square foot climbing facility at 135 Fifth Ave. South in Downtown Twin Falls.

The TFURA began advertising requests for proposals on Feb. 12, 2015 for a recreation facility that could be built at the site. The property, which is owned by the agency, has been vacant for more than 10 years. Late last year, the agency’s board of directors identified the need to push for private development on the dirt lot, which would benefit the community and downtown area.

In response, GemStone proposed to build a $1.5 million dollar climbing and fitness facility that would open in 2016. Don Campbell, co-founder of GemStone, said the facility would begin with 12 employees and add up to 12 more employees as the business grows.

“We have done our research, and we know that there is a need for this type of climbing facility,” Campbell said during the TFURA public meeting on Monday, adding that he has received committed support from local businesses and non-profit groups such as the Boy Scouts of America.

GemStone requested that the TFURA sell the property to the company for $1, which is legal under Idaho law if the company invests more than the properties appraised value. GemStone also requested additional incentives such as connecting the fitness center to City water and sewer. The 10,000 square foot property, which is on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Shoshone Street is valued at about $40,000.

The agency purchased the property more than 10 years ago. Part of the property was converted into a parking lot, while the remainder is not developed. It had been used as a staging area for the construction of the new Glanbia headquarters and the Dennis Bowyer Park on 4th Avenue South.

“This development is why the State of Idaho preserves urban renewal agencies, which is to revitalize under-developed properties,” said Melinda Anderson, Executive Director of the Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency. “This also helps us fulfill our second role, which is to create jobs for our community."

The Agency has previously purchased properties that have potential for redevelopment. Examples of this include the former Kruzer’s property located at 121 Fourth Ave. South, which is now home to the new Glanbia Headquarters and Cheese Innovation Center. As well as the Rogerson Property located at 147 Main Ave. East.