New look planned for Boise's 8th and Main spire

The developer is proposing a glass surface on the first two levels of the aluminum structure.

sberg@idahostatesman.comNovember 8, 2013 

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Changes are coming to the top of a new Downtown Boise building whose spire became the focus of some unexpected attention in recent weeks.

Blue lights, instead of white ones, will soon illuminate the top of the spire.

The first two levels of the spire will have the same style of glass fins that adorn the southeast corner of the building.

Lights on those fins will replace the lights on the spire, which will not be otherwise illuminated, said Tommy Ahlquist, chief operating officer for the Gardner Co., which owns the $80 million building.

"We like the change," Ahlquist said. "We think it's an improvement."

Gardner submitted the company's new plans for the spire Wednesday morning, said Sarah Schafer, the city of Boise's Design Review and Historic Preservation manager. Schafer said the plans don't require approval by Boise's Design Review Committee because they are cosmetic, not structural, changes.

The changes require city planning staff approval, which she expects by the end of next week.

"I think it'll be a smooth process," Schafer said. "(Gardner has) been very good to work with."

Last month, workers finished building the 57-foot, three-level spire on top of the building, located on the northwest corner of 8th and Main streets in Downtown Boise.

Soon after, people around Boise began talking about whether it looked like a Mormon temple or other religious structure. Within days of news reports on the conversation, Gardner announced it would change the spire's appearance.

Ahlquist said the company hasn't pinned down the cost for the changes, except that it's going to be "a lot." He said scaffolding for the work will cost $24,000 by itself.

Gardner hopes to finish the spire by the time the building opens early next year, Ahlquist said.

The biggest obstacle is delivery of the glass for the surface of the spire's first two levels. That glass comes from a factory in Wisconsin, Ahlquist said, and could take eight to 12 weeks to get to Boise.

Sven Berg: 377-6275

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