BOISE -- The face of downtown Boise is changing quickly. There's finally a building at 8th and Main, the convention center is expanding, and there's talk about a new transportation hub.
The developer at the center of all that, is Gardner Company.
Three years ago, if a genie appeared and granted me three wishes, among the top of them would've been, fill the hole in the ground and expand the convention center, said Boise Mayor David Bieter. Well, I didn't really need a genie. What I needed was Gardner Company and Tommy Ahlquist.
Tommy Ahlquist is Gardner's Chief Operating Officer.
I just think that people weren't ready for something to come so quickly on the heels of 8th and Main, Alquist said.
But now, Boise's city and business leaders are ready and excited.
In the ten years I've been here, there have never been more opportunities and great things cooking all at once, than there are now, said Bieter.
While Gardner has a number of projects around the state, they also have more in the works for downtown Boise. They want to create a transportation hub, possibly under the U.S. Bank Building, which they recently purchased.
People are like, 'Why does it have to be underground?,' said Alquist. But, when you start seeing the bigger vision, where you have this underground downtown hub, that's going to connect us across the river to Boise State and to the airport. Then, you put a convention center on top of it, and all this extra retail and office, and really transform again this downtown area to be the hub of all the activity that will build around it. Then, it makes all the sense in the world.
The mayor shares that vision, and says these projects will add business, add convenience for everyone in Boise, and improve the look of the downtown area.
I can't say enough about the vision that they've had at the right time in the city of Boise, said Bieter They're changing the face of what was already a good downtown.
We're taking a blighted hole and doing something great with it. We're taking a parking lot and doing something great with it, said Alquist. It's really smart growth and I think that the economic drivers that will come out of what we're doing will jsut lead to more development.
The Grand Opening of the new 8th and Main Building is scheduled for Saturday, February 16.
It will feature a free concert by the Goo Goo Dolls.