Gardner Co. to break ground on Downtown Boise transit hub July 1

sberg@idahostatesman.comMay 27, 2014 

— After the Gardner Co.'s 8th & Main building received broad praise, the Salt Lake City-based developer has faced some resistance to City Center Plaza, a $70 million retail-office-convention-public transportation development on U.S. Bank Plaza, which it bought last year.

Owners of businesses on Boise's Basque Block, located just east of U.S. Bank Plaza, worry Gardner's newest project would cause traffic problems on Capitol Boulevard and obscure the view from the Basque Block to the Grove. Some have grumbled about the impact of City Center Plaza's construction on the popular Alive After Five concert series that takes place on the Grove.

Gardner has pressed forward through the obstacles and now plans to break ground July 1 on the transit center portion of the new development. The event is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

"Should be a big deal," Gardner COO Tommy Ahlquist said Tuesday. "We are excited."

Ahlquist said real work on the transit center will begin the first couple of weeks of July.

City Center Plaza has been a much more complex project than 8th & Main, which Gardner owns and is primarily an office building with some retail and parking space. In addition to its own investment, Gardner is partnering with Clearwater Analytics, a private software firm, to build the Clearwater Building just west of the U.S. Bank tower. Greater Boise Auditorium District is planning to pay for construction of a ballroom and other convention space in a building south of the tower. Money from a federal earmark and Boise's urban renewal agency would pay for the underground transit hub, which Valley Regional Transit, the Treasure Valley's public transportation authority, would own.

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