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Eye On Boise

Plan would fill hole in heart of downtown Boise

It's big news for Boise that Zions Bank plans its new headquarters for the corner of 8th and Main streets downtown - site of the infamous Boise hole, where the historic Eastman Building stood until it burned to the ground in 1987, just as it was poised for renovation in the heart of Boise's downtown redevelopment district. Now, a 15-story office tower is being proposed for the site, including two floors of retail and restaurants with a 2nd-story plaza and balcony along 8th Street; three floors of parking on floors 3 through 5, connecting to the Eastman parking garage next door; an on-site health club and more. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announced the plan today; you can see the developers' plans here (h/t to KTVB). The site has been the subject of various lavish proposals since the destructive fire on that icy night 24 years ago, but none have come to fruition.

If this one does, it'd fill in the final hole in the original redevelopment plan for downtown Boise, which at first envisioned leveling an eight-block swath of the downtown core - including its original Chinatown - for a never-built indoor mall. That demolition got halfway done, resulting in decades of bare gravel parking lots and city-politics gridlock before the plans shifted to a mix of office and retail that allowed for saving remaining historic buildings. All but the one remaining corner filled in, with everything from the Grove plaza to the distinctive triangular office tower at 9th and Main to the downtown convention center and Grove Hotel.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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