Boise & Garden City

Gardner breaks ground on Boise hotel-office-retail project

Gardner Co., Ball Ventures break ground on Pioneer Crossing

Polished politicians, business bigwigs, and lots of luminaries showed up Thursday, Sept. 22 for a ceremony marking the beginning of construction of the $65-million project that will include a hotel, office building, parking garage and restaurant.
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Polished politicians, business bigwigs, and lots of luminaries showed up Thursday, Sept. 22 for a ceremony marking the beginning of construction of the $65-million project that will include a hotel, office building, parking garage and restaurant.

The project is called Pioneer Crossing, and it is the latest big Downtown Boise project from Gardner Co.

Some plans for the project have been previously reported, but a Gardner executive provided more details Thursday, when the company broke ground at the five-acre site bordered by 11th, 13th, Myrtle and Front streets.

Pioneer Crossing, estimated to cost $65 million, will include a 150-room Hilton Garden Inn, a place for a future restaurant, a 132,000-square-foot office building and a 644-space parking garage. Chief Operating Officer Tommy Ahlquist said the parking garage, located on the northeast corner, and the restaurant just south of it will be the first buildings done.

They should be complete in early fall of 2017, Ahlquist said.

Ahlquist said the hotel on the northwest corner should be complete in the spring of 2018, and the office building on the southwest corner will be done that summer.

Capital City Development Corp., Boise’s urban renewal agency, will pay $5.4 million to make 250 of the spaces in the parking garage available to the public, executive director John Brunelle said.

The site is immediately west of the site where the Simplot family has built Jack’s Urban Meeting Place and where the Simplot Co. is building its new headquarters.

In the past five years, no developer has done more than Gardner to reshape Downtown Boise. The company completed Eighth & Main, Idaho’s tallest building, in early 2014. It is is now putting the finishing touches on City Center Plaza, a retail-office-convention-transit complex on the Grove Plaza.

Gardner bought the Pioneer Crossing site, previously known as Parcel B, from the Greater Boise Auditorium District early this year for $7.9 million. The company had been negotiating with the district since at least spring 2015, and its ideas for the site evolved. Its ideas have included hotels, an office building, condominiums, retail space, a parking garage and, briefly, a sports stadium.

Gardner struggled to reach an agreement with CCDC on which parties should pay how much for the parking garage. CCDC owns and operates parking garages throughout Downtown and wants more covered parking space in the project area.

In January, at Gardner’s request, the auditorium district removed a condition of sale that required Gardner to build a hotel on the lot. That ended Gardner’s plans to build two hotels with more than 300 rooms.

That was a disappointment to some who had hoped for a major convention-style hotel to complement Boise Centre, the convention venue on the Grove Plaza. The auditorium district owns Boise Centre, which is expanding as part of the City Center Plaza work.

Ball Ventures, an Idaho Falls-based commercial real estate firm, is partnering with Gardner on Pioneer Crossing.

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