BOISE -- Following some criticism, the new building at 8th and Main will change part of its design. The developer says it will modify the spire by changing the lighting and the material.
Complaints include that its spire looks like those on top of a Mormon temple, which in formal complaints to the city, a few people thought wasn't properly representative of Boise's diversity. Others complained the spire is simply too bright.
Developer: 'This was never intended to cause offense or be religious in anyway, so we're just trying to respond'
The development company, Gardner Company, says it was never the intent to make a religious reference, but after publicity this week, says more people began voicing concerns, especially that there may be an LDS influence.
"Nothing can be farther from the truth from us internally. We were almost shocked initially, but as the week went on, we thought, you know, we need to do something to tone that down. And we started with our design team and asking the question: What can be done to lessen any of the concerns that are there?" Gardner Company COO Tommy Ahlquist said.
Ahlquist says the spire's shiny finish and white light stood out more than they thought it would when they designed it.
"We really think part of the problem was the aluminum finish that was on that. It's used on the rest of the building, but it's just really is reflective and really bright, and I think it made it even more emphasis on the spire than we even thought when we designed the building," Ahlquist said.
'This kind of falls into that category of, 'Hey can we make this better after we see what it looks like?''
Architects are now working to adapt the spire, and the plan is to put glass on the bottom part of the spire, which will match the rest of the glass already on the building. The very top will be lit with colored LED lights, instead of white lights. Designers are discussing changing the light colors based on season.
Ahlquist says this isn't the first small change made after construction began. He says small changes to the parking garage and lower retail levels have also been necessary. He says designers are excited about the new ideas and feedback that prompted change.
"The [community] opinions are very strong, and we want to listen to that. We don't want at the end of a long storied history here, the spire to be a distraction from what the bigger intended good here is. The building's going to be a great change. Let's not make the top a distraction and something that doesn't harmonize with the rest of the building," Ahlquist said.
Change will add cost, but developer says it needs to happen
Since the crane is gone, they'll be making the changes with scaffolding only. Because it is a smaller change, Ahlquist says they don't need a full design review, and they'll just work with city staff.
Ahlquist expects to have a rendering available soon. He says they will be working fast to finish up because the building is still set to open January 15.
"We're always concerned with cost, but at this point, with the magnitude of the project, and the change we're talking about, we need to get it right," Ahlquist said.