Posts tagged: downtown Boise
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — There is finally some evidence that the infamous hole in downtown Boise will be filled with a new building. Crews on Monday began removing street signs and making other preparations for the demolition of concrete, rebar and other materials littering the vacancy at the corner of 8th and Main streets. A small crane will also be installed this week to help remove materials from the site — jokingly referred to in Boise as “The Hole.” The property has been vacant since fire destroyed the Eastman building in 1987. Several developers have proposed projects for the site since, but all efforts have failed. Current plans call for a 16-story, 268,000-square-foot building anchored by Zions Bank. Demolition and foundation preparation will take up to six weeks before vertical construction gets under way.
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.
Art with a message went up in downtown Boise today, as a new anti-hunger mural was unveiled on the south wall of the infamous big hole in the center of downtown. The mural proclaims “HUNGER AFFECTS EVERYONE,” and features striking 3-D images of an empty fridge and an empty cupboard, with a shopping list on one cupboard door listing such basics as bread, milk, eggs and soup. As contributions are made to feed the hungry, the empty cupboard and refrigerator will fill with food; the mural is scheduled to be up until January. It’s a collaboration between the city of Boise’s Art and History Department, Boise Young Professionals, Wirestone, which donated the design work, and the Idaho Foodbank. Also contributing to the project were Hewett-Packard, Home Depot, Thriftway Home Center, Food Services America, and Signs 2 U.
As the work was unveiled this morning, a knot of volunteers and passers-by gathered across Main Street to watch; the 3-D images, which don’t look like much up close, stand out in the view from across the street and for motorists driving by. The mural also features information about food drives and other anti-hunger events.
“During uncertain times, more and more Idahoans are seeking emergency food assistance, many for the first time,” the Idaho Foodbank said in an announcement about the project. More than 40 percent of those seeking its assistance have a family member who’s working; more than 70 percent of households seeking help did so because their income has temporarily dropped below $10,000 per year.
The wall that serves as a barrier around the hole in the center of downtown Boise has played host to an array of murals over the years; behind it, an unfinished foundation and jutting rebar testify to a giant office tower that never was built, one of a series of failed redevelopment proposals on the site that once was the home of the historic Eastman Building. That structure, vacant and on the verge of a historic renovation, burned to the ground in a spectacular midwinter nighttime fire two decades ago; it’s the last remaining piece of Boise’s original downtown redevelopment zone that’s never been successfully filled back in.