BOISE -- After 15 years, the Boise 'Hole' at 8th and Main will finally be filled in, and then some.
"It isn't just that it's filled, or that it's been so long, so let's just do something," said Mayor Dave Bieter. "It's been this long, so let's do something right and let's do something well."
'Doing something well' means building the 18-story Idaho headquarters for Zions Bank. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on Thursday. The building will also be home to other regional and local businesses, like the law firm Holland and Hart and the Idaho Fitness Factory.
"It's a very exciting project," said Neil Nelson, the president and owner of ESI Construction, another Idaho company.
ESI has the task of building the massive structure in just 18 months.
"I love to see the fact that it's taking a good piece of real estate, and filling it with local tenants that are going to benefit downtown Boise," said Nelson.
Besides seeing a local company building space for local tenants, the project will also continue a recent boost to the local construction industry, along with projects like JUMP and Whole Foods.
"We've had a nice string of large projects in the Valley to keep us going," said Nelson.
Just the shell and core of the building project is worth about $45 million to ESI. But Neil said there will also be around $10-15 million in tenant improvements for the construction of the offices and rooms on each floor.
"It's a really big impact for the subcontracting community in the Valley," said Nelson. "These larger projects really help out the local community. I would estimate that it will generate between 300 to 400 local jobs."
But can this thing really be ready for a ribbon-cutting by January of 2014? Neil says, "yes."
"You'll see a crane go up, and it will be pretty quiet, through the fall," Nelson said. "We'll be down here in the hole, hidden behind the fence, getting the foundation systems in and the basement. We'll start steel in the late fall, early spring, and that's when it will get exciting. We'll turn a floor a week, and crank through it."
KTVB also asked Neil about the portions of foundation that were poured for the failed Boise Tower project, and then left to sit for 15 years. He said ESI has evaluated that, and will be able to use some of what was there. The rest of it, they've already started to scrap.