BOISE -- There is a large construction zone at 8th and Main, and this week - section by section - a big blue crane was erected to help build Boise’s newest high rise tower.
“Everyone's always said we will believe you once the crane is up,” said Tommy Ahlquist, Chief Operating Officer for Gardner Company, the developer on the project.
Before the dirt starting moving on the project this past spring, some people feared nothing would happen with the “Boise hole” as they referred to it. The block sat in the downtown corridor, empty, for more than a decade.
As the crane took shape Monday, people noticed.
“It's not every day you see construction like this going on,” said Kyler Eamon.
Not one, but two very large cranes caught Eamon’s eyes. Monday afternoon, he marveled at the bravery and expertise of the crane workers.
“They are how many stories up just doing it all?” he asked.
“We think it's great, it's great for the city,” said Michael Haugh, who looked on with his family.
Ahlquist said Monday; the project was right on schedule. He said having the crane finally here to help move and construct the building will show people this project is not just a dream, but a reality.
“I think it is significant that the crane is here,” said Ahlquist. “I think until then, people were still a little skeptical that it wasn't going to happen, but I think that now that the crane is here its going up I think that people will start realizing it's going to happen.”
The scene at 8th and Main looks like a real life erector set.
A large temporary, yellow crane came in from Inland Crane Services to help construct the more permanent blue crane.
The blue crane will stay planted at the construction site for a year, while crews build the 18 story 8th and Main tower. The tower will serve as the future home of Zions Bank, hold two floors of retail shopping, space for parking as well as office space.
However, carefully placing the crane is not an easy task either. Crews had to completely close down 8th Street and to place the temporary yellow crane there.
Ahlquist said he was thankful for the understanding of the nearby businesses during this phase of construction.
“We are trying to be good neighbors as we construct this very large building around the middle of downtown,” he said.
Some business neighbors, like Jamba Juice don't seem to mind.
“It’s good to see that hole filling up finally,” admitted Jamba Juice worker Brandon Bjorn.
He said the construction is helping business - not hurting it.
“It's definitely made our sales go up with all the traffic going by,” he said.
And that is the idea; Ahlquist and the rest of the 8th and Main partners are also hoping the project will help other downtown businesses flourish. He said as project builds up, more people will start to take notice, turning the once “Boise hole” into a mountain of economic prosperity.
“I think it's a great sign that the treasure valley is coming back out of the recession and good things are ahead for all of us,” said Ahlquist. “So I think people are excited.”
The blue crane, which originally came from Spain, should be completely constructed by Tuesday.
Crews brought it in in 40 foot sections.
They had to build it at a site in West Boise before hauling the sections downtown.