BOISE -- It looks like after 15 long years that the infamous Boise "hole" is going away. Thursday afternoon, ground was officially broken for a new tower at 8th and Main streets.
There's been a lot of projects and plans for that plot of land come and go in the last 15 years. Everyone says this time is different, but if you still believe that this property or projects are cursed, have no fear. Zions Bank and developer the Gardner Company so want to distance themselves from all that bad mojo, that right before the groundbreaking, a Boise State professor of Native American Studies did a blessing and cleansing of all the bad spirits that might have been held over from the failed Boise Tower project.
Then it was time to put shovels in the ground. The building will serve as the Zions Bank Idaho headquarters. It will be an 18-story building with office space, retail, parking, and a community room, all worth $76 million.
Nearly 15 years ago a developer started to build a massive building on this spot, but they ran out of money and never finished it. So it's been a hole with some rebar sticking out of it for a decade-and-a-half. Other developers have come forward with plans, but those never got off the ground.
But everyone involved this time says this is different than the other false-starts.
"From the very first meeting, it was just different," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. "You could tell that they were approaching it in a way that they had the capacity, and the where-with-all, and the integrity, frankly, to make it happen."
"I can tell you it's going to happen, but no one is going to believe me until we get at least higher than the last guy," said Tommy Ahlquist, COO of the Gardner Company. "So that will happen next summer."
A good positive indicator is that the building has already sold 60 percent of its 400,000 square feet to tenants like Idaho Fitness Factory.
"We're very honored to be here," said Tyler Hess, with the 24-hour fitness facility. "It fit really the concept of our gym, just with the very high quality of it."
Other businesses like First American Title, Ruth's Chris Steak House, and law firm Holland and Hart are also set to join Zions in the building, which is scheduled to be finished in January of 2014.
"(We) look forward to what's going to happen in the next 18 months in downtown Boise with this project," said Ahlquist. "So yeah, it's going to happen."