A couple of great new downtown projects, Eighth & Main and Whole Foods, have been getting lots of attention recently. But an equally exciting project, JUMP, is also moving forward.
Jack's Urban Meeting Place is a four-block development rising up in a prominent location at the foot of the Connector, on Myrtle and Front streets between Ninth and 11th. A project of the Simplot Family Foundation, JUMP will be the foundation's headquarters as well as providing art studios, meeting rooms, exhibit space for the late J.R. Simplot's collection of antique tractors, and an outdoor amphitheater.
Once completed in 2014, JUMP is going to provide a spectacular gateway to the downtown area and a great focal point for all kinds of activity.
Any project as large and complex as this one poses special challenges, and city staff and I have worked hard to keep JUMP on track. Just this week, JUMP received a thumbs-up from the city's Design Review Committee for its building materials and landscaping plans. Days earlier, the J.R. Simplot Co. announced that it will relocate its corporate headquarters to JUMP, bringing 900-plus employees to a new 10-story tower on the same site.
All of this is great news on a number of fronts. The long-vacant blocks where JUMP will rise are a part of downtown badly in need of some love. The construction jobs that come with the project will be a life-saver for the many workers and their families who have suffered most during the long recession.
And high-intensity downtown development is a net win for taxpayers, who won't be asked to subsidize new services for high-cost, sprawl-style growth.
Boise is fortunate to have a vibrant, mixed-use city center, one that has proven its resilience during the recent economic downturn. Projects like Jack's Urban Meeting Place prove that downtown is, more than ever, the place to be.
Dave Bieter is mayor of Boise. The above is Bieter's weekly e-memo to constituents.