BOISE -- One of the most visited and historical sections of Boise's downtown is gearing up for a major facelift.

Two new buildings are planned for the Grove, along with a transit center beneath it.

It's all part of the Boise Center project.

Geoff Wardle with Gardner Company says several agencies have been working on the plans for years, and says the transit center will offer the best location for bus transfer.

The benefit is that we are able to put transit where it has historically been, you're able to make a permanent commitment to transit as part of another development, said Wardle.

Wardle says while there will be adjustments, but drivers, walkers, and bikers will have time to adapt.

It will be learning process, but we will have two to two-and-a-half years to do that as we go through construction and make some of the other changes, but it's not going to be an immediate night and day change, said Wardle.

As for the bus ramps, Wardle says some, like those working on the Basque block, want buses to enter and exit on Main Street, instead of Capitol Boulevard.

But Wardle says that would require more utility relocation, a change in ramp slopes, and cost more money.

Anything is possible from engineering standpoint with enough time and money, Valley Regional Transit is limited as to what they can do, and the facility we've built works, said Wardle.

He says the transit center will cost about $10 million and work is scheduled to begin this summer.

After the underground transit center goes in, work will begin on two buildings in the Grove, the Boise Center and the Clearwater.

Both will have office space, retail shops and restaurants.

As the project gets closer to construction, there are some nearby worried about how drivers, walkers, bikers, and especially tourists, will be affected.

Those who work on the Basque block say they support the project, but do have some concerns.

Patty Miller with the Basque Museum, less than a block away, says adding bus ramps, new traffic flows, and a bike lane, will only cause congestion.

Buses will come from Main Street and the left-hand lane will be contra traffic, buses will be coming this way as traffic goes the other way, said Miller.

Miller says the two biggest concerns are buses driving the opposite way on Capitol Boulevard, then turning in to one of many ramps.

The other issue, the new center building on top of the current pedestrian walkway, creating a tunnel for tourists, shoppers, and diners to access to Grove Street and the Basque block.

There will be impacts that will be made that can't be taken back, so you do it once and you better do it right, said Miller.

The project still has more steps before the plans are finalized.

There are several ways to comment on the project. The next Ada County Highway District meeting will be held on April 23 and will be open to the public.

For more information on the project, click HERE.

There is also a survey, where you can add your comments until Monday, April 14. For more information on how to comment, click HERE.

Read or Share this story: