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New hope for filling the big hole in the heart of downtown Boise

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Meridian developer says he has signed a contract to buy a prime chunk of real estate in downtown Boise that has been vacant for years. Officials from The Gardner Co. say they have agreed to buy the parcel on the corner of 8th and Main streets from Capps Holdings LLC, which acquired the land in a foreclosure auction two years ago. Gardner Co. Chief Operating Officer Tommy Ahlquist said Wednesday the deal hinges on resolving a handful of issues. He says the company is doing a study to determine what kind of project best fits the property. The site has been vacant since 1987 and is nothing more than a hollow pit. Financial and legal problems scuttled previous plans to build a 25-story tower at the site.

Incidentally, the site became vacant back in '87 when the historic Eastman Building, a grand, multistory sandstone structure that had been vacant for years but for which restoration plans had just been announced, caught fire in the middle of an icy night, thanks to a squatter's campfire, and burned to the ground. I covered the fire as a young reporter for the Statesman, after having just spent a couple of days amassing info on the building's history for a planned story on its looming renovation as part of the city's downtown redevelopment; that evaporated with the flames. Boise's been awaiting the next step ever since.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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