Simplot family’s JUMP project rises in Downtown Boise

JUMP’s giant crane and rapidly changing construction site draw stares from both sides of the Connector.

krodine@idahostatesman.comOctober 15, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE PROJECT

    Project name: Jack’s Urban Meeting Place

    Number of construction employees: Ranges from 90 to 120

    Construction start date: Spring 2012

    Construction finish date: Spring or summer 2015

    Owner: J.R. Simplot Foundation

    General contractor: Hoffman Construction

    Architect: Adamson Associates

Progress on Jack’s Urban Meeting Place has taken a jump forward in the past few months.

A concrete pump, extended like a bony orange finger over the site, competes for skyline dominance with the gigantic white crane that was built on-site last January.

The attention-grabbing four-story concrete cylinder that rose early in the construction process is gradually being encircled by metal-framed ramps that, filled with concrete, will funnel cars into the site’s parking structures, which also are underway.

Eventually, the cylinder will be topped by two floors of public space including several studios, a meeting room and a project-crowning Pioneer Room offering 10,000 square feet and killer views.

The $70 million project is a massive endeavor, and a distinctive one. And that befits a project named for Idaho agribusiness icon J.R. Simplot, who died in 2008.

“The project is dedicated to the spirit of J.R., not the man himself,” Simplot spokesman David Cuoio said. “JUMP is meant to reflect his sense of adventure, taking a chance on a dream, and being willing to do something you've never done before. We hope that those who experience JUMP will feel that sense of adventure and be willing to dream and stretch beyond what they may have done in the past.”

Set for completion in 2015, JUMP’s six-story, 65,000-square-foot main building will include five interactive learning studios, each with a name that indicates the activity area residents can explore there: Kitchen, Movement, Maker’s, Multi-Media and Inspiration. The site also will sport a public park, an outdoor amphitheater and multistory slides. Antique tractors will dot the site, evoking Simplot’s farming roots.

Plans for the creative center and community gathering place will remain somewhat fluid, open to influence from the people who use it, Cuoio said.

“It’s one of a kind,” says John Beck, project superintendent for Hoffman Construction. “In the construction business, we do a lot of stuff that’s repetitive, and there’s nothing repetitive here.”

The site has pride of place at the western edge of Downtown Boise, filling a 7.4 acre site between Myrtle and Front streets, the two sides of the Interstate 184 Connector. The eastern and western boundaries are 9th and 11th streets.

A 30,000-square-foot parking garage along Myrtle Street will have room for about 100 vehicles. A 185,000-square-foot underground parking structure will offer 500 spaces, many of which will later be used for Simplot employees.

Once JUMP nears completion, a new Simplot headquarters building will be erected as a separate project on the 11th Street side of the two-block site.

•••

Kristin Rodine: 377-6447

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