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BOISE -- Before the excitement of the World Cup watch party, there was plenty of other excitement down on the Grove Tuesday.

State, city and business leaders broke ground on the City Center Plaza.

Creating a transportation center in downtown Boise is just one facet of the project, which will also include space for education, retail, offices and more.

The Gardner Company bought the US Bank building and its parking lot last year, and immediately started thinking about how to develop the lot.

What would really be what downtown needs and how can we make an impact? said Tommy Ahlquist, COO, Gardner Company.

Their answer was the City Center Plaza, which broke ground Tuesday morning.

The plaza will include an expansion of the Boise Centre convention center, the new Clearwater Building that will include the Boise State University computer science department, a new transportation center, and retail and restaurant spaces. All those different elements required a lot of collaboration.

Folks this is a day of gratitude. Gratitude to more people than I can mention here; VRT, the Greater Boise Auditorium District, Boise State University, the folks at Clearwater Analytics, said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.

Gov. Butch Otter thanked Gardner Company for spearheading that collaboration, which will help Valley Regional Transit finally get a multimodal transit center built. After years of trying to find the right spot and project, one will be built under the City Center Plaza.

They have been the leaders. They have been the folks who constantly step forward and solve problems for us, said Otter.

Ahlquist, who is never one to think small, says this plaza will help transform the heart of the city.

After opening a massive new building at Eight and Main earlier this year, the question is - what's next for Gardner's vision for downtown?

We're going to get this one started and then we've for some other ideas, said Ahlquist. But we love Boise. We love downtown. We love the Treasure Valley. So, we're just getting started.

,p>The City Center Plaza is expected to be complete and open to the public in mid-2016.

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