From the Editor

David Staats: Boise’s new favorite developer

dstaats@idahostatesman.comFebruary 19, 2014 

Staats, David

David Staats

SHAWN RAECKE — Shawn Raecke/ Idaho Statesman Buy Photo

The Gardner Co. and Zions Bank built goodwill with the public party they threw Feb. 15 to open the Eighth & Main building.

I stopped by long enough to hear Ra Ra Riot, an indie band led by Wes Miles, whose pure high pitch threatened to crack Eighth & Main’s glass. I stepped inside the building’s main entrance to see the ground and second floors, the only ones open to the public. The floors were functional, greeting visitors with escalators, elevators and halls leading to glass-walled businesses. The office spaces on higher floors are said to be impressive. People who attended pre-opening parties say the views from the 17th floor are impressive, too.

Salt Lake City-based Gardner Co. and its local leader, Meridian physician Tommy Ahlquist, have drawn hosannas from Mayor Dave Bieter and other civic and business leaders. With good reason: In building Eighth & Main, Gardner Co. and Ahlquist saw opportunity in a problem. They not only eliminated Downtown’s hole — the boarded-over aftermath of a 1987 fire and subsequent development failure — but reignited commercial construction Downtown.

They’re on the way to solving two other persistent problems with their plans for an underground bus terminal next to the U.S. Bank building (which Gardner Co. now owns) and expanded convention space above it, to be connected to the Boise Centre.

That would be a triple play. More than enough reason for Boise to celebrate.

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